Intel Sandy Bridge Performance Goes Up Again
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 31 March 2011. Page 6 of 6. 31 Comments

Lightsmark is also a big winner when running the latest Linux kernel code.

Not only is the performance much faster with the latest Linux kernel code and the not-yet-merged LLC caching patches, but in the Core i3 2100 and Core i5 2500K testing I haven't yet run into any regressions or other problems as a result of the new code. It will now be interesting to see how the Intel Linux performance compares to Windows when time allows.

While the improvements are nice, it will be a while before this new code is widespread. The Linux 2.6.39 kernel will not even be out until May and it will not be found in Fedora 15 or Ubuntu 11.04. Only after that will the LLC caching code be merged into Linux 2.6.40, which will then be released in July or August. Most users will be left waiting until the second half of 2011 when Ubuntu 11.10, Fedora 16, and other distributions hit their next rounds. Users can manually upgrade their kernel (and Mesa too, since Ubuntu 11.04 is using Mesa 7.10.x), but that is not advised for novice desktop users as it can cause repercussions in other areas of your system. Regardless, these performance improvements experienced for Intel Sandy Bridge within the open-source Linux driver and it will be interesting to see what other improvements are delivered.

As Sandy Bridge also provides VA-API H.264 video decoding support (and encoding support for Linux is also said to be coming soon), these newest Core i3/i5/i7 CPUs from Intel are turning out to be a very compelling offer for Linux users once all of the relevant code finally lands and is available to the masses.

More results from the LLC caching tests can be found on for the Intel Core i3 2100 and Intel Core i5 2500K.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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