Yesterday we shared benchmarks of the ATI R600 Gallium3D driver compared against the classic Mesa R600 driver and then the proprietary AMD Catalyst driver. The proprietary driver was much faster than the open-source drivers were, but the Gallium3D driver did possess higher performance in most of the tests than with the classic Mesa driver. This is similar to the R300 Gallium3D driver being faster than its now-deprecated R300 classic driver. Meanwhile though Intel continues to back only their classic Mesa DRI driver and there are no signs of them switching over to the Gallium3D architecture anytime soon. It is not as if Intel's current Mesa driver is feature-complete and performance-optimized as our tests from earlier this year show Intel's Linux graphics performance being far behind their Windows driver. In this article though we are seeing where the Intel Mesa performance is at when using the very latest DRM and Mesa code.
We ran a couple of tests under Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64 and Ubuntu 10.10 after building and installing the latest graphics components. We had originally planned to also re-test Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and an Ubuntu 10.10 stock system, but the Intel Arrandale system used for this testing had problems with the Intel DRM driver that resulted in losing the display when running some of these OpenGL games at different resolutions. This though is fixed within the post-Maverick code. The system was an ASRock Core 100HT NetTop with an Intel Core i3 330M CPU clocked at 2.13GHz with a total of four threads, an ASRock HM55-HT motherboard, Intel HD integrated Arrandale graphics, 4GB of system memory, and a 500GB Seagate ST9500325AS Serial ATA 2.0 hard drive. The Intel driver being used on the Windows 7 x64 side was the Intel 188.8.131.526 driver that was released last month.
With Ubuntu 10.10 we were using the latest Mesa 7.10-devel Git code and Linux 2.6.37 kernel code as of 19 November. This was with the GNOME 2.32.0 desktop, X.Org Server 1.9.0, and xf86-video-intel 2.12.0 DDX. At five different resolutions we ran the OpenArena, Urban Terror, Warsow, and Nexuiz games that offer native versions for both Microsoft Windows and Linux. We had hoped to use more titles in this comparison, but alas, there are not many demanding OpenGL games that can handle running on Intel's still slow integrated graphics processors and the Mesa stack.