1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

Intel - It Was One Heck Of A Year For Sandy Bridge Graphics

Michael Larabel

Published on 12 December 2011
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 5 - 3 Comments

The year began with Intel launching their "Sandy Bridge" processors. While the CPU performance was very impressive for these latest-generation Intel processors, the graphics performance under Linux was a problem. The drivers were not ready in time. Well, they actually were technically available, but in Git source form and not easy for Linux desktop customers. There were also some initial hurdles in the Sandy Bridge Linux graphics support. However, over the past year, the Intel OSTC developers working on the open-source graphics support have dramatically improved the situation. As this article recaps the performance over the past year, Sandy Bridge is now rocking under Linux and Ivy Bridge is ready to go.

For the past six years at Phoronix, I have written "year in review" articles covering the advancements made to the proprietary AMD and NVIDIA Linux graphics drivers -- in terms of both performance and functionality. However, the Intel Linux graphics driver has not received such annual summaries since it has not been as interesting as the high-performance, feature-rich binary blobs under Linux. With Sandy Bridge being Intel's most compelling graphics product yet and their open-source Linux graphics driver stack becoming more interesting (hey, there's almost finally OpenGL 3.0 support!), it is now deserving of such year-end summaries on Phoronix.

Prior to the Sandy Bridge hardware launch in January, the developers at Intel working on the Linux graphics stack had started long before and even had code publicly available in advance of the launch. I first spotted open-source Sandy Bridge graphics code in February of 2010. Over the course of 2010 were many more Linux kernel, Mesa, and xf86-video-intel DDX commits concerning the sixth-generation Intel graphics.

While there was good quality code available in January when the hardware began shipping, the state of the Intel driver code as found in the Linux distributions that shipped months earlier (e.g. Ubuntu 10.10) wasn't in a very good state. It was largely broken. This is what caused the initial pains for many Intel customers wanting to run Sandy Bridge with integrated graphics under Linux, since unlike Windows, upgrading your open-source graphics driver under Linux isn't exactly a very easy, reliable, and straightforward process. Then the Intel code that was even pulled into Ubuntu 11.04 was not too good for Sandy Bridge. (Though the initial Ivy Bridge support at launch early next year should be much better.)

Anyhow, in the year since Sandy Bridge launched, the code is not only working reliably, but it's received many optimizations, features like HiZ, and other improvements. See my dozens of Sandy Bridge articles and news postings for full details about the evolution of the Linux support, as a lot of progress was made in the past twelve months. Even small patches have resulted in significant wins and for a while the Linux driver was faster than Intel's Windows driver. Also during the course of this year, VA-API video acceleration support was delivered, Sandy Bridge New Acceleration (SNA) introduced, and most recently there's experimental Glamor acceleration.

<< Previous Page
1
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. The MSI X99S SLI PLUS Is Working & Running Well On Linux
  2. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980: The Best GPU For Linux Gamers
  3. ROCCAT LUA: A Linux-Friendly Gaming Mouse
  4. Cheetah Mounts: The Affordable Way To Put Your TV On The Wall
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Preview: Radeon Gallium3D Performance For CS:GO On Linux
  2. XWayland Linux Gaming Performance With GNOME Wayland On Fedora 21
  3. EXT4/Btrfs/XFS/F2FS Benchmarks On Linux 3.17
  4. Fedora 21 Alpha First Impressions: It's Great
Latest Linux News
  1. CUPS Turn 15 Years Old, CUPS 2.0 Released
  2. VA-API Gallium3D State Tracker Added Back To Mesa
  3. Radeon DRM Gets New Information Ioctl Queries
  4. Mir 0.8 Works On Less ABI Breakage, Touchspots, Responsiveness
  5. CS:GO For Linux Gains Better Stability, Community Server Support
  6. NVIDIA Issues Updated 340.46 Long-Lived Driver Release
  7. KDE Plasma 5.1 Now In Beta
  8. Systemd & Debian Were Most Popular In September
  9. Microsoft Announces... Windows 10 With A Start Menu
  10. Borderlands 2 Launches On Steam For Linux
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Take the Steam Survey results with a grain of salt. It is flawed.
  2. X.Org Is Looking For Some Female Help
  3. Hacking Express gate (Asus Splashtop)
  4. Microsoft Announces... Windows 10 With A Start Menu
  5. NVIDIA Alerts Nouveau: They're Starting To Sign/Validate GPU Firmware Images
  6. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  7. Nero CD/DVD Burning Software On Linux Is Dead
  8. New Group Calls For Boycotting Systemd