This week's release of Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" is a significant win for the free software community. Not only does this release incorporate an updated package set -- most notably with the Linux 2.6.22 kernel and GNOME 2.20, but it also delivers on new desktop innovations from BulletProofX and displayconfig-gtk to Compiz Fusion being enabled by default on supported systems. However, for those business professionals and gamers that remain dependent on some Windows-only binary applications, the WINE (WINE Is Not An Emulator) project has been making some excellent headway into supporting Windows applications on the Linux desktop. With Ubuntu 7.10 and WINE 0.9.46 in hand, we had set out to compare the performance between Windows XP and Gutsy Gibbon with WINE on two popular DirectX benchmarks.
The hardware had consisted of the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe motherboard, 2GB of OCZ DDR3-1333 memory, ASUS GeForce 8600GT 512MB graphics card, Mushkin 780W PSU, Intel Pentium D 820, and a Western Digital SATA drive. The ASUS P5E3 Deluxe uses Intel's X38 Chipset and also is the first motherboard to offer SplashTop technology. The Windows benchmarks we had used that were compatible with WINE and provide meaningful quantitative results for comparing WINE and Windows XP were Futuremark's 3DMark01 Second Edition and 3DMark03. These two games had functioned when WINE was set to Windows 98 as opposed to the default Windows 2000. Futuremark's 3DMark05 Professional hadn't worked with WINE 0.9.46 due to Pixel Shader problems.
On the Linux side, NVIDIA's 100.14.19 driver was used while with Windows was the ForceWare 163.71 driver. In addition to using the NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT 512MB graphics card, we had also run the same system through the same set of tests using a NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT 128MB under both operating systems. Due to some performance issues affecting the GeForce 8 series under Linux, we had used the two graphics cards.