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The Interesting Tale Of AMD's FirePro Drivers

Jan 03, 2011, 03:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Larabel)

"Earlier this week we published our annual look at AMD's Catalyst driver releases from the past year. Not only did the Catalyst Linux driver this year picked up a couple new features, its driver performance had improved slightly over the past twelve months. In building up some initial test data for OpenBenchmarking.org we decided not only to do these tests on the latest consumer-grade graphics card this year, but expand it to cover the workstation performance too and to go back nearly two years in time. These results for an AMD FirePro V8700 graphics card with the monthly driver updates going back to Catalyst 9.2 are quite interesting. AMD announced twice this year optimizations to their FirePro driver software, but in reality these "optimizations" were largely unsustainable and not optimizations as much as they were attempting to address driver regressions from the past.

"Using the FirePro V8700 1GB graphics card every Catalyst driver release was tested. From Catalyst 9.2, which arrived a month before the V8700's launch in March of 2009, to Catalyst 10.12 we benchmarked every month's driver update. With our annual year-in-review articles for NVIDIA and ATI/AMD Linux drivers we have only focused up to this point on the consumer GeForce / Radeon hardware so we figured it would be interesting to see how things change when it comes to the workstation hardware (i.e. FirePro/FireGL). To go back with nearly two years worth of driver releases, we used the FirePro V8700 that is derived from the ATI RV770 core. Using the newer Evergreen-based FirePro V8800 or its siblings (the V7800, V5800, V4800, V3800) would have only allowed us to use drivers dating back to earlier this year. There is also the AMD FirePro V9800 too, but that is only a few months old."

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