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Windows 8 Outperforming Ubuntu Linux With Intel OpenGL Graphics

Michael Larabel

Published on 21 March 2013
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 5 - 96 Comments

In our benchmarks of Microsoft Windows 8, we have found that Intel's Windows OpenGL driver is generally superior to that of their open-source Linux graphics driver. Some progress has been made, but in today's testing of an ASUS Ultrabook bearing an Ivy Bridge processor, Linux has a ways to go for some games in matching the Windows binary performance and features.

Over the years there have been many Windows 7 vs. Linux benchmarks on Phoronix. Having recently picked up an ASUS Ultrabook for benchmarking, some Windows 8 vs. Ubuntu 13.04 development benchmarks were carried out to see the positioning today. An ASUS S56CA-WH31 was the candidate for this testing, which is a $500 Intel Ultrabook sporting an Intel Core i3 3217U CPU, 4GB of DDR3 system memory, 500GB 5400RPM HDD + 24GB Solid-State Drive, and a 15.6-inch display with 1366 x 768 resolution. The ASUS Ultrabook comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Windows 8.

The Intel Core i3 3217U processor provides HD 4000 graphics, two physical cores plus Hyper Threading, 1.8GHz clock frequency, 3MB cache, and is rated at a 17 Watt TDP. All benchmarking in this article between Windows and Linux happened from this ASUS S56CA-WH31 Ultrabook. The stock Intel Windows 8 graphics performance was compared to Ubuntu 13.04 in a variety of cross-platform games using OpenGL where the games are known to have quality/similar ports to Windows and Linux. Benchmarking on both operating systems were all handled via the open-source Phoronix Test Suite software in conjunction with OpenBenchmarking.org.

The Ubuntu 13.04 development snapshot used was from mid-March and packaged the Linux 3.8 kernel, Unity 6.6.0, xf86-video-intel 2.21.4, X.Org Server 1.13.2, GCC 4.7.2, and Mesa 9.0.2. For also seeing the very latest state of the Intel OpenGL driver software on Linux, Ubuntu 13.04 was additionally tested when using a Git development snapshot of the Linux 3.9 kernel and then Mesa 9.2-devel Git master from mid-March. This represents the very latest state of the Intel Linux graphics driver. (Ubuntu 13.04 will ship with Mesa 9.1, but that stable release wasn't pulled into the repository at the time of testing and 9.2-devel offers the absolute latest innovations for this open-source driver.)

Previous to this article, my latest Windows 7 test articles were: Intel Linux OpenGL Driver Remains Slower Than Windows, NVIDIA Performance: Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu Linux 12.10, and AMD Radeon Catalyst: Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. This testing is quite straightforward and looking namely at the "out of the box" OpenGL gaming performance between Windows 8 and Ubuntu 13.04 for Intel Ivy Bridge graphics.

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