I was wondering if one of the guys @wendell, @Logan, etc. Or others. Can do a review of drivers on Linux. (primarily AMD).
I am currently on Manjaro Linux 4.2 (Arch based system). Using a Radeon HD 7979 from XFX (3GB model). I have used the older proprietary driver xf86-video-catalyst with no problems, can game without issue. In a recent update the driver was updated and some problems occurred. In some games during high load it would freeze my system forcing me to reboot the system. So I worked on rolling back my drivers, failed caused more issues and just said fuck it and purged the drivers and re-installed the free driver xf86-video-ati.
With the free drivers very few games work. But I am done (for now) dealing with the non-free drivers that do not seem to work. Most likely because I am fucking my system up with the drivers. I did see that the new drivers have a work-around for some issues (not sure if mine is included) but I do not want to mess with them at the moment.
So I would like to see a comparison of the drivers xf86-video-catalyst, xf86-video-ati, xf86-video-amdgpu (the newest open source drivers for RX series cards, and others they support) and amdgpu-pro the non-free add on from AMD for amdgpu.
My system is kinda old, and when I do a complete upgrade I probably will go with a Polaris card and use xf86-video-amdgpu for the new system, but at the moment I would like to just use the card I got, I may upgrade it to an RX480 if the drivers are "good" enough. I do not like Nvidia cause they are not as open, but I would like to see there cards and drivers reviewed as well.
Also I cannot find a list of supported cards for xf86-video-amdgu I know amdgpu-pro only support Polaris cards at the moment.
AMD are not that interested in Linux. Their graphics driver worked (mostly) with Ubuntu 14, but at this stage with Ubuntu 16 it's pretty bad. I've got a Radeon R9 285 "Strix Edition" 2048MB graphics card", and it doesn't work at all, with the AMD driver. I can't imagine this situation would be allowed to get this far with Windows.
If thing don't improve, looks like a move to NVidia for my next upgrade and a Intel Mobo.
I have always had issues with AMD proprietary drivers, and the free drivers just do not cut it for gaming, mostly. Right now it is basically Minecraft that works and I tested Bioshock Infinite which runs, but have not ran it long. The Borderlands games flat out will not start on free drivers. I have been thinking the same thing that Nvidia would be the better option.
My biggest reason for sticking with AMD is that they do support the Open Source community better and do things that is better for the gaming community like Free-sync vs Nvidia proprietary attempt.
I have thought of switching to Nvidia cause from what I have heard they do have better drivers for Linux and I would get better acceleration in Blender. AMD only has me cause it can be cheaper and, like I said Open Source. The only thing that AMD kinda has is compute capabilities in comparison to Nvidia, but I have yet to need such an advantage. So I too would probably be switching over to Nvidia in my next build.
With your card (based on GCN 3rd gen) you should be doing pretty well with the amdgpu griver. If you are experiencing difficulties it is most likely because you are using the proprietary fglrx driver, which is not being developed any longer. Definitely check again for the open source "amdgpu" driver.
Nvidia does not support the open source development of their "nouveau" driver at all. So if you had an nvidia card you would want to you the proprietary driver. With those you will however have way more troubles then the open source ones.
So on Manjaro the AMDGPUdrivers are not available directly so using this post I was able to get the AMDGPU drivers though they appear as video-ati-hwe so it is working, but an older card, so far (after a few minutes, and quick test with Bioshock Infinite) working good. Still cannot run Borderlands 2.
Sry, I forgot to mention that you should definitely update the kernel. They really started making progress since 4.4. So you should install the latest stable kernel (4.7 atm). Because the amdgpu performance is heavily dependent on the kernel and mesa.