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Intel Graphics: Windows 7 & Windows 8 vs. Ubuntu 13.04 & Fedora 18

Michael Larabel

Published on 5 April 2013
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 4 - 61 Comments

Last month Phoronix published Intel OpenGL benchmarks showing Windows 8 outperforming Ubuntu 13.04 with the latest Windows and Linux drivers from Intel. I also showed that even with the KDE and Xfce desktops rather than the default Unity/Compiz desktop to Ubuntu, Windows 8 still was faster on this Intel "Ivy Bridge" platform. The new benchmarks to share today from this Intel Ultrabook are the Windows 8 and Ubuntu 13.04 results but also with performance figures added in from Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Service Pack 1 x64 and Fedora 18.

In ensuring a fair and accurate comparison of "Windows vs. Linux" performance for Intel OpenGL graphics, Windows 7 Professional SP1 was installed on the same ASUS Ultrabook using the latest Intel Windows 7 x64 driver, which was version 15.31.3.64.3071 from late March. On the Linux side, in addition to Ubuntu 13.04 and Ubuntu 13.04 Git (the updated Intel Linux driver stack), was Fedora 18 with updates in a stock configuration with the Linux 3.8 kernel, Mesa 9.1, and xf86-video-intel 2.21.5. All benchmarking happened from the same ASUS S56CA-WH31 Ultrabook with an Intel Core i3 3217U "Ivy Bridge" processor boasting HD 4000 graphics.

All benchmarking happened using the Phoronix Test Suite and OpenBenchmarking.org for ensuring a reproducible, fully automated, and standardized test process. For those commenting on earlier Phoronix articles for this Intel OpenGL comparison between Windows and Linux that feel that it's unfair because it's "open vs. closed-source drivers", on the Intel side that's the only option. There is only one Intel HD 4000 driver, which is closed-source, and on the Linux side there is only one driver, which is open-source. It's not like with the NVIDIA and AMD drivers where for Linux are both open and closed-source drivers to compare. This is the only user experience you will get with Intel hardware.

For those not liking the selection of games used as benchmarks, the criteria is for games that work well (and natively) on both Linux and Windows, using a first-rate OpenGL renderer on both platforms, and from past comparisons shown to offer similar performance (e.g. when using the proprietary AMD/NVIDIA drivers that are largely shared code on each operating system, the frame-rate is comparable). There also aren't any Steam benchmarks due to aforementioned bug within the forums where the Steam client isn't currently exiting cleanly to facilitate automated tests through PTS.

For those wanting to see Windows vs. Linux benchmarks for NVIDIA and AMD gaming performance, consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium, making a PayPal tip/donation, and/or disabling AdBlock. These multi-OS comparisons are very time intensive (and largely done single-handedly) and in cases such as this Intel Ultrabook comparison, resulted in needing to purchase a new Windows 8 laptop. Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter with @MichaelLarabel and @Phoronix.

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