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  • Mac OS X Intel Graphics Still Outperform Linux

    Phoronix: Mac OS X Intel Graphics Still Outperform Linux

    In recent weeks we have been talking about Intel's Linux advancements as it concerns their latest "Sandy Bridge" generation of processors with integrated graphics (and there are a few more articles on the way), but how is their latest open-source driver stack performing on the older generations of Intel integrated graphics? Previously, the Intel Linux graphics have been the real loser in our multi-OS comparisons, but is this still the case? At least when comparing the Linux and Mac OS X performance on Intel 945 hardware, yes, the Mesa driver falls behind at OpenGL acceleration.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=15683

  • #2
    What's interesting is that in Open Arena the performance in Ubuntu 11.04 begins to improve at about the same point as OS X in that game and the one before it. Not only that, it gets even better at higher resolutions. It could be that, with some work, we could do much better than OS X.

    What I really can't wait to see, is how wayland effects game performance. Would be nice if there's some improvement with that, in addition to the slimmed stack.

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    • #3
      Perhaps the title should read - OSX Intel Graphics nearly as bad as the Linux ones

      Also if you're using a Mac Mini are you using the Aluminium USB keyboard? If so swap it out for a regular USB one. I was recently bit by this problem where the keyboard driver is loaded to late to give boot commands

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      • #4
        Why not just publish Windows 7, Mac OS X and Ubuntu Linux benchmarks along side each other? That way people can see which of the tree is doing the best and which of the tree is doing the worst.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Shining Arcanine View Post
          Why not just publish Windows 7, Mac OS X and Ubuntu Linux benchmarks along side each other? That way people can see which of the tree is doing the best and which of the tree is doing the worst.
          Because Windows 7 x64 wouldn't load on the Mac Mini due to the known EFI compatibility issues, as mentioned in the article. This is the only Intel graphics Mac system I have.
          Michael Larabel
          http://www.michaellarabel.com/

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          • #6
            Originally posted by FireBurn View Post
            Also if you're using a Mac Mini are you using the Aluminium USB keyboard? If so swap it out for a regular USB one. I was recently bit by this problem where the keyboard driver is loaded to late to give boot commands
            Nope, I have no Apple keyboards.
            Michael Larabel
            http://www.michaellarabel.com/

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            • #7
              could you try i915g+llvm?, i'm using it on my netbook and the performance is great, you can even play flatout in wine

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              • #8
                considering that most macs appear to have intel graphics and apple tends to have very basic hardware setups (making drivers easier to make for it), i'm not really surprised why intel graphics perform better on it and as long as apple stays this way, i would expect their intel graphics performance to stay better. in fact, it wouldn't surprise me if apple's intel graphics perform better than on windows setups either. either way, the performance is still mediocre, but still good enough for stuff like simple compositing effects.

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                • #9
                  That's probably because Apple treats MacOS as a gaming platform, thus they require Intel to write/create high quality drivers for MacOS.

                  On Linux OpenGL is kinda byproduct, a free addition to the basic 2D functionality.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
                    in fact, it wouldn't surprise me if apple's intel graphics perform better than on windows setups either.
                    Originally posted by birdie View Post
                    That's probably because Apple treats MacOS as a gaming platform, thus they require Intel to write/create high quality drivers for MacOS.
                    Are you joking? Intel graphics suck hard on Mac OSX (nearly as on Linux!), Windows drivers are much much MUCH faster.
                    ## VGA ##
                    AMD: X1950XTX, HD3870, HD5870
                    Intel: GMA45, HD3000 (Core i5 2500K)

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                    • #11
                      When we are comparing single digit framerates, I would say that it doesn't matter. 6 vs 9 FPS? for such simple / old games? who cares?

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                      • #12
                        I think you start to see all kinds of weird behavior from the drivers when the framerates aren't even regularly hitting 30. It comes down to the overhead costs associated, which, on actually capable hardware (e.g. a discrete ATI/Nvidia from the past 5 years), are made negligible because the fill rate of the card is enough to keep up with the game.

                        I think the conclusion to take away from this post is not that the Mac OS X or Linux drivers for Intel graphics suck. The conclusion is that the Intel 945 graphics chipset sucks. Immensely.

                        I have one in a ThinkPad with twice as much RAM as your Mac, and trust me, it is no better on Windows 7. IE 9 is unusable with hardware rendering, and still quite painfully slow with software rendering. Only Chrome is fast enough to provide a reasonable experience on that thing.

                        I also have a 965GM chip. It's ... faster, but since it is based on largely the same tech, it's still underwhelming.

                        And based on the latest and greatest out of Intel, it seems like their IGPs still have no real performance to speak of.

                        My recommendation is, if you use such a tiny IGP, limit your screen resolution to no more than 1024x768 if you intend to do anything involving 3d accel. The squaring effect quickly makes these chips useless at a high res, not to mention multi-monitor. I guess that's why both my ThinkPads have 1024x768 -- they didn't want to push a higher res and risk that people would complain about the performance.

                        In other words: get a laptop with a low res LCD and an IGP, by all means. Saves battery life and your laptop won't be multi-monitoring very often anyway (if you truly intend for it to be a laptop, i.e. portable, i.e. not a desk fixture). But if you are thinking of getting any sort of non-portable desktop of any kind, for the love of god, go with discrete. Or at least AMD Fusion.

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                        • #13
                          Mesa Intel Linux Driver

                          Linux Intel driver performance should not be tested against stock driver, because they have many performance and feature bugs.

                          I do not know why Mesa even releases official driver with having so many Shader related bugs. For example,

                          I had to use Mesa 7.7.1 for Ubuntu 9.10

                          for Ubuntu 10.10 all Official Mesa 7.8, 7.8.1, 7.8.2 have bugs, if I compare them with Mesa 7.7.1. Same is true for Ubuntu 9.10

                          Official Mesa 7.9, 7.9.1 and 7.10 all carrying bugs from 7.8 series as well as new bugs, if I compare them with Mesa 7.7.1

                          So, if u r using Ubuntu 9.10 use Mesa 7.8.3-rc1 which fixed many bugs from Mesa 7.8 series and as reasonable as Mesa 7.7.1

                          And if u r using Ubuntu 10.10, use Mesa 7.11-devel from git which fixed almost all the bugs from Mesa 7.9 and Mesa 7.10 series (still has some bugs related to GLSL when u run game by WINE) or stick to bugs proof 7.8.3-rc1 (I do not recommend, as it has less feature than 7.11-devel)

                          Thnx for reading

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Michael View Post
                            Because Windows 7 x64 wouldn't load on the Mac Mini due to the known EFI compatibility issues, as mentioned in the article. This is the only Intel graphics Mac system I have.
                            that's weird...
                            i've a mac mini (november 2010) with OSX, Windows 7 64bit and Ubuntu 10.10 64bit...
                            and everything works fine...???!!!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by insane74 View Post
                              that's weird...
                              i've a mac mini (november 2010) with OSX, Windows 7 64bit and Ubuntu 10.10 64bit...
                              and everything works fine...???!!!
                              sorry, i didn't read the mac mini specs.
                              mine has an nvidia card.

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