The past year has brought several invasive changes to the Intel Linux graphics stack with the introduction of the Graphics Execution Manager for GPU memory management within the kernel, support for the Direct Rendering Infrastructure 2, and kernel mode-setting finally getting ready to enter the limelight. How though has the work this year affected the overall performance of Intel integrated graphics on Linux? In this article we have run a few benchmarks that show where the driver was at a few months ago and where it is today.
For this testing we had compared the stock packages found in Ubuntu 8.10 x86 to that of what's committed already for the Ubuntu 9.04 x86 development branch as of December 18, 2008. We had done a fresh install with each package set and used the Phoronix Test Suite to facilitate our Linux testing. Ubuntu 8.10 uses the Linux 2.6.27 kernel, X Server 1.5.2, xf86-video-intel 2.4.1, and Mesa 7.2. The Ubuntu 9.04 packages we were using included the Linux 2.6.28 kernel, X Server 18.104.22.168, xf86-video-intel 2.5.1, and a Mesa 7.3 snapshot. The stock packages and stock settings were tested in each configuration. In this article we were simply looking at the stock Ubuntu performance.
The Intel IGP we were using for testing was a GM965 Chipset found on a Dell Inspiron 1525 notebook. This notebook also contained an Intel Core 2 Duo T5800 at 2.00GHz, 3GB of DDR2 memory, 250GB Hitachi HTS543225L9A300, and the LCD panel operating at 1280 x 800.
With Phoronix Test Suite 1.6.0 "Tydal" Alpha 3 we had run GtkPerf, JXRenderMark, QGears2, and Tremulous for our 2D and 3D tests.