Now that the Nouveau, Radeon, and LLVMpipe graphics drivers have been tested under Mesa 8.0, what is left? The Intel DRI driver, of course! The open-source Sandy Bridge Linux graphics support is shining with Mesa 8.0 thanks to OpenGL 3.0 support and measurable performance improvements. Intel Ivy Bridge is also ready to run under Linux.
Mesa 8.0 has already been extensively covered on Phoronix with looking at the various Gallium3D drivers already and comparing their performance to the previous Mesa 7.11 release from last summer and to the respective proprietary drivers. I have also shared the eight good things and eight bad things about this graphics driver stack that is set to be officially released in early February.
In this article the performance of Intel Sandy Bridge graphics is being looked at with the Intel DRI driver as found in Mesa 7.11 and Mesa 8.0-devel Git. The Linux 3.2 kernel was called into play along with the xf86-video-intel DDX Git. Since there is no Intel binary driver under Linux, there is nothing else to compare. If you want to see how Intel graphics compare going back further releases, read Intel - It Was One Heck Of A Year For Sandy Bridge Graphics.
The HP EliteBook with an Intel Core i5 2520M processor was used for this latest round of Mesa 8.0 testing. Due to integrated graphics, only one configuration is being compared today (Intel Sandy Bridge Mobile GT2+ graphics) and not several generations like what was done for the NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon driver benchmarks. However, a few weeks ago I did post Intel Ironlake 2011 benchmarks. I have also extended this benchmarking to cover several different resolutions for many of the OpenGL benchmarks done by the Phoronix Test Suite.