Intel's Linux graphics driver stack is often at the forefront of X.Org / Mesa innovations, from Intel being the first driver having in-kernel video memory management to being the first driver with mainline kernel mode-setting support to even being the driver that often first receives support for new OpenGL extensions in Mesa. The Intel Linux driver stack can be attributed with many firsts, but continually pushing this driver while putting out quarterly timed releases has led to some pains. Earlier this year in fact the driver stack was rather buggy -- especially in Ubuntu 9.04 -- that impaired many users with stability issues, performance problems, and other headaches. Most of the regressions from overhauling the Linux driver stack have been resolved, but where is the driver stack at now? The Intel stack in Ubuntu 9.10 is performing rather well, but where it's more important is its status within Fedora as more of the bleeding-edge graphics packages are pulled into this release that often don't make it into other distributions until months later when they roll out their next releases. To see where the Intel Linux graphics are at in Fedora 12, we ran the same set of benchmarks in the Fedora 10, 11, and 12 releases with an Intel G43 IGP.
To first recap some important pieces of information for Fedora 10, Fedora 11, and Fedora 12 are the package versions found in each release. Fedora 10 shipped with the Linux 2.6.27 kernel, GNOME 2.24.1, X Server 1.5.3, xf86-video-intel 2.5.0, and Mesa 7.3-devel. Fedora 11 provided the Linux 2.6.29 kernel, GNOME 2.26.1, X Server 1.6.2 RC1, xf86-video-intel 2.7.0, and Mesa 7.5-devel. The brand new Fedora 12 release is using the Linux 2.6.31 kernel, GNOME 2.28.1, X Server 1.7.1, xf86-video-intel 2.9.1, and Mesa 7.7-devel. All three Fedora releases were left in their stock configurations after installation. The x86_64 version of all three Fedora releases was used.
Our low-end Intel test system for this round of tests consisted of an Intel Celeron E1400 clocked at 2.30GHz, an ASRock G43Twins-FullHD motherboard with integrated Intel G43 graphics, 1GB of system memory, and a 300GB Seagate ST3300622AS Serial ATA hard drive.
The Phoronix Test Suite was used for facilitating all of today's tests. The test profiles included the 1080p H.264 video playback, OpenArena, World of Padman, and Urban Terror, due to the lack of games that will run well with Intel integrated graphics and the current Mesa driver. With each of the three games we ran them at 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 960, 1280 x 1024, 1400 x 1050, and then at the system's default resolution of 1920 x 1080. Here are our Intel Linux graphics results for Fedora 10, 11, and 12 from the G43 system.