Accompanied by an updated Windows release, last week id Software had released its Enemy Territory: Quake Wars v1.4 update for Linux. We have previously shared most of the details surrounding this major ET: Quake Wars update with the same changes as the Windows build. One of the most interesting features, however, is the new threaded renderer for improved multi-core performance.
The Enemy Territory: Quake Wars v1.4 Linux update contains this new threaded renderer, which depends upon a modified SDL library. According to id Software, this threaded renderer will shine on systems with more than two cores, so really just quad-core and octal-core systems (for now).
Like Quake 4, which shipped with separate quake4 and quake4-smp binaries, the same is done for ET: Quake Wars with this new renderer. There is the conventional etqw.x86 binary, but in Quake Wars v1.4 is now etqw-rthread.x86.
The ET:QW threaded renderer has of course peaked our interest and we have been testing out its benefits on Linux. Unfortunately, with an AMD Phenom 9500 at least, the threaded render hasn't work as expected. When running etqw-rthread on this AMD quad-core system, the performance is nearly halved when compared to the normal etqw binary. Below are two comparative benchmarks we had done.
Curious as to why we had actually experienced a performance downfall, we had asked id Software's Timothee Besset, who is responsible for the Linux ports for their games. Timothee hasn't done any comparison benchmarks internally, but has said that it's just a straight port of the Windows renderer. We will be testing the ET:QW v1.4 threaded renderer on Intel quad/octal-core systems, but haven't yet done so due to the KDE 4.0 release event and CES 2008. We will be continuing our ET: Quake Wars v1.4 testing in the near future. In the meantime, however, if you have tested out this new update and its threaded renderer, please share your results in the Phoronix Forums.