"The open-source ATI R300/400 3D support was extended
from the R200 3D code, which was written using some documents
provided by ATI several years back under NDAs. Much of the R300/400
work was reverse-engineered along the way, but earlier this year
AMD had for the first time publicly released the R300 3D register
guide. What is clear from these results though that there haven't
been any significant performance gains made in the past year and a
half at least when it comes to the Radeon X800XL (R430) we tested
with our select tests. If any gains were made, they were trounced
out by other performance regressions.
"To isolate any regressions caused by other system package
updates, we could have built each Mesa release from source on one
Ubuntu release, but with this article we were tasked to look at
what the end-user would experience across the recent Ubuntu
releases. From Ubuntu 7.04 to Ubuntu 7.10 (with the change from
Mesa 6.5 to 7.0) there was the biggest performance improvement, but
with Ubuntu 8.04 there was a performance drop and another drop
occurred with Ubuntu 8.10 except for the x11perf test."
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