Second, Wine was built for a decade based on the nvidia driver. Even though steps have been taken to work on other drivers, it shouldn't be surprising that there are still occasionally bugs/issues that pop up on other drivers that the code wasn't originally designed for. I don't believe this is still a major issue, but it can popup from time to time.
What version of Firefox have you tested there?
There are no articles yet on Phoronix, as far as I am aware, which report the performance of Mesa 8 and the OpenGL 3 milestone (for Intel and AMD/ATI GPUs) which was released in January this year. This release of the Linux graphics stack has very significant performance improvements over previous releases.
Then again, there are still other very significant performance improvements for the Radeon open source drivers in the form of 2D tiling support which landed after the release of Mesa 8,
... and still other improvement which are yet to be finished in the form of HiZ
Perhaps by the release of Mesa 8.1 later this year the performance gap between the Radeon open source drivers and fglrx will have all but disappeared.
User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:11.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/11.0
According to the System Monitor, under the KDE SC 4.8 desktop Firefox 11 uses 0% CPU when idle (probably due to rounding error) as I type these very characters in this reply window.
I can momentarily get it up to 3% CPU by using the mouse wheel to rapidly scroll up and down.
KDE with compositing is already very slow for the 'older cards',
and there are people that don't need fancy cubes and wobblies
and flip windows. For those people there are alternatives. KDE
is pushing on a tablet front, and they really don't need legacy
support to drag them down. Only time will show whether leaving
legacy product behind will have any cost. Perhaps it will. But I
wish them luck... XFCE is good enough for me now :)
Power Management dynamic? Afaik dynpm doesn't work with more than one screen. Also, it still often produces flickering when changing power states.
Then, I can definitely say that my HD 6550M uses more power on the "low" profile on the Open Source drivers than fglrx. It's not dramatic, but it's definitely noticeable when the power consumption of a laptop goes from ~ 15 Watt to > 20 Watt.
Also, on this chip the "mid" profile and the "low" profile seem to be pretty much the same. With the exception that on "low" it seems to occassionally crash.
The performance on either the "low" or "mid" profile is really low. And by really low I mean that even kwin opengl and opengl es effects with raster graphics system and opengl 2 shader disabled produce very laggy window movement. But that has gotten much better lately...
The conclusion of the folloing articale is also that Catalyst saves more power then the open driver: