For those new to Linux or the yet to be converts, Cedega is an application that emulates Microsoft's DirectX and allows the user to play a variety of games within Linux that otherwise wouldn't be possible. While Cedega is not completely open-source and requires a monthly subscription, it is based upon WINE. WINE, or WINE Is Not an Emulator, is a popular open-source Linux project that allows a PC with an x86 processor to run programs that were originally written for Microsoft Windows. WINE supports a variety of games but isn't designed solely for gaming and often lacks support for some of the newer DirectX titles.
Cedega is developed by TransGaming Technologies and was formerly known as WineX. Cedega/WineX has been around for a few years and is constantly improving when it comes to the software support as well as extra functionality. This morning TransGaming introduced Cedega 6.0 "Swordfish". Last week we provided an overview of Cedega 6.0 and was later taken down to miscommunication on TransGaming's behalf but has been republished this morning. Some of the major changes for Cedega 6.0 include Battlefield 2142 support, Need for Speed: Carbon, and Madden NFL 07. Some of the technical improvements in Swordfish include GL Shading Language, Shader Model 2.0, Volume textures, support for new FBO extensions, a new memory allocator, optimized file operations, anti-aliasing support, improved ALSA support (includes Dmix and MMap), an improved multimedia timer thread, dynamic CPU speed support, D-BUS improvements, improved joystick functionality, ATI fglrx-specific improvements, Copy protection improvements (SafeDisc 4.x), Cedega UI improvements, GDDB multiple volume support, improved mount handling, and improved richedit support. This original preview can be found here.
There will be additional coverage of Cedega 6.0 at Phoronix as well as the Phoronix Forums and MichaelLarabel.com in the coming days and weeks, but in this article today we compared the gaming performance of Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Vista, Linux, Linux with WINE, and Linux with Cedega 6.0. In this comparison we will specifically see how well Cedega 6.0 can perform for Linux users wishing to get their fix of gaming with Windows titles.
The games being used for this comparison are Doom 3 and Enemy Territory. Quake 4 was originally going to be another title used but we had run into installation problems on Cedega with Quake 4. Unreal Tournament 2004 also had compatibility problems with the build of Windows Vista we had used. These games were chosen as they both offer Linux and Windows versions. Some of the games supported by Cedega but lack Linux clients are Battlefield 2142, Call of Duty, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, World of Warcraft, World of Warcraft: Burning Crusades, Grand Theft Auto, Guild Wars, Need for Speed Carbon, Half Life 2, and Counter-Strike: Source. We will look more at different games in upcoming Cedega 6.0 articles, but in this article we will be strictly looking at the level of performance offered through the above-mentioned titles.
Rather than using a quad or octal core system with gigabytes of RAM like in some of our other articles, we had used a modest setup to better represent the systems of more computer enthusiasts that may be using Cedega or WINE. The motherboard was an ASUS M2NPV-VM with GeForce 6150 (+ nForce 430) integrated graphics, AMD Sempron 3200+ AM2, 250GB IDE hard drive, and 1GB of DDR2 memory.
For our Vista "Longhorn" benchmarks we had used Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate RC1 (Build 5600). Microsoft Windows XP was with Service Pack 2, and the Linux distribution used was Fedora Core 6 with the Linux 2.6.20 kernel. With Windows Vista, the NVIDIA display driver used was version 100.65 while the XP version was 93.71. The NVIDIA Linux version was 1.0-9755 with WINE 0.9.32.