Intel Glamor Acceleration Compared To SNA, UXA
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 17 May 2012. Page 1 of 5. 11 Comments

Going back to last year there's been the "Glamor Acceleration" project out of Intel to accelerate the 2D operations within X using OpenGL on Mesa. This is similar to the Xorg state tracker approach and while it's not yet enabled by default, Intel OTC developers have been making much progress in recent months. In this article is a look at the recent Glamor update while comparing it to the stock Intel UXA acceleration as well as to the other experimental acceleration option: Intel SNA.

This UXA vs. SNA vs. GLAMOR acceleration comparison is being done from an Intel Core i5 "Sandy Bridge" system while in a future article will be the Ivy Bridge results.

Glamor began as a project to push the support into the X.Org Server, but it ended up being reworked to allow to serve as a standalone library that X.Org DDX drivers can optionally hook into. While it can be universal, so far Glamor has only been hooked into the xf86-video-intel driver. The Glamor acceleration design has gone through extensive work, primarily by the Intel China developers, since its debut. In December, Glamor became glamorous. At the end of April, Glamor 0.4 was released.

This initial Intel Core i5 2520M Sandy Bridge benchmarking comparing the 2D acceleration means was tested from an Ubuntu 12.04 LTS x86_64 base while moving to the Linux 3.4 development kernel, Mesa 8.1-devel from Git master, and the latest xf86-video-intel DDX driver from Git at the time. Glamor was also obtained from Git shortly after its 0.4 release.

Glamor and SNA aren't enabled by default in any configurations but requires rebuilding the DDX driver and for Intel Glamor there are other steps required. For Sandy/Ivy Bridge hardware, Intel SNA acceleration has been quite stable from my testing in recent months and overall tends to be faster and work quite well. Glamor, on the other hand, from this testing was still quite unstable in some tests.

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