"It has been two years since the ATI Radeon HD 4800
(RV770) series launched so we have gone back since that monumental
hardware launch and have re-tested each Catalyst driver release
since then to see how the performance has changed for the ATI
Radeon HD 4850 graphics card. The Catalyst driver has certainly
matured over the course of two years in speeding up the OpenGL
performance with this hardware along with bringing new features to
their proprietary driver, but it is not exactly smooth sailing.
"The ATI Radeon HD 4850 and ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics cards
based upon the RV770 GPU had launched in June of 2008. Not only was
the hardware great, but it was met by an evolutionary leap in their
Linux support. This was the first major ATI product launch that was
greeted by same-day Linux driver support (and all succeeding
launches since have shared the same level of support) and many
other advancements on their once widely criticized Linux side. In
the months that followed the Radeon HD 4000 series launch they went
ahead and unleashed CrossFire on Linux, provided OverDrive support
for GPU overclocking, and have nearly reached feature parity with
their Windows Catalyst driver. While in terms of features they may
be close to a parity, today we are investigating how the Linux
Catalyst driver performance has changed over the course of the past
24 driver releases."
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