Making news this afternoon is the release of Intel's next-generation graphics driver. This Linux display driver is open-source and supports all of the integrated graphics adapters from the i810 to the new i965 Express. These drivers support various 2D and 3D graphics features. These new drivers are available as of today, but they are still undergoing significant testing and development. Also launched today was Intel's new graphics site at IntelLinuxGraphics.org. As we were only alerted to these happening shortly in advance, we only have a few thoughts to share at this time, and no official benchmarks to share at this time. However, as these Linux drivers continue to evolve, we will be sure to document them and provide benchmarks against other Intel graphics solutions.
The motherboard used was the Tyan Tomcat S5120, which uses Intel's 915G graphics. The GNU/Linux distribution used was Fedora Core 6 Test 2, which ships with the 2.6.17-1.2517 kernel, GCC 4.1.1, and X.Org v7.1.1. We had run across no troubles compiling the latest packages for Intel's new drivers (20060809). Trying out AIGLX on FC6T2 with the i915G we had run into no problems and the experience was very satisfying. XGL has yet to be tested. We had tried out Enemy Territory v2.60 with the i915 graphics but the game was largely unplayable, as with Unreal Tournament 2004. We are proceeding to run additional tests to see if it is a problem with our system configuration or a problem resting with the open-source drivers. While the gaming performance wasn't there, we had run into no problems using the open-source drivers for general desktop usage.
Intel's new drivers are sure to cause greater competition for NVIDIA and ATI, and while they will likely not cause changes immediately, we shall certainly see some interesting developments as these next-generation open-source Intel drivers continue to evolve. Even though Intel presently does not offer any high-end discrete solutions, these new drivers will certainly open up some new possibilities for desktop users. These drivers also support TexturedVideo (similar to ATI's TexturedVideo on non-X1000 parts) as well was XvMC. Phoronix will be delivering more information soon, as well as benchmarks (including the i965 Express), for these new open-source Intel drivers.