Is iT Possible To Get Good Performance From ATI OS Drivers

I was just wondering if it’s possible to get even decent performance from the Open Source ati drivers. I have a radeon 4850 and on a default install of OpenSuse it said direct rendering is enabled and all but in Gnome and even xfce to some extent windows moves cause tearing etc, especially as more and more windows get opened at any one time.
glx gears performs at 246 frames a second, hardly what you expect from direct rendering.
I installed the proprietary drivers from amd/ati and the performance is not even comparable. So I was wondering on a default install are things just not optimized properly for the open source driver or is there really that much of a difference in the two drivers?

The opensorce drivers are getting better with each release. Performance also depends on which ATI card you are using.
There are some settings you can tinker with, like adding these options to the device section in xorg.conf:

        Option          "AGPMode" "8"
        Option          "ColorTiling" "on"
        Option          "AccelMethod" "XAA"  # mostly better for older cards or when getting tearing effects - EXA is newer and faster
        Option          "XAANoOffScreenPixMaps"
        Option          "RenderAccel" "true"

Testing what settings work well is a case of trial and error.

There are extensive articles you can find here giving some more info on what you can expect :
[Phoronix] ATI Radeon CrossFire On Linux](
[Phoronix] Tear-Free Acceleration For ATI EXA, Xv](

ATI is releasing much code thats being added to the opensource drivers - in many cases performance you get with the opensource drivers is close or equal to what you get using the proprietary drivers. This depends on which version and card you are using.

This is a nice blog to keep an eye out for new releases and developments : agd5f
You might find some good tips in the older blog entires.