NVIDIA ION Linux Performance
Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 9 June 2009. Page 2 of 9. 13 Comments

The ZaReason ION system by default was running with Ubuntu 9.04 (x86_64), which means the Linux 2.6.28 kernel, GNOME 2.26.1, X Server 1.6.0, GCC 4.3.3, and EXT3. The NVIDIA 180.60 proprietary driver was loaded up on the ZaReason nettop.

With the NVIDIA 180.60 driver the ION GeForce 9400M was detected as an unknown GPU, but we still had 3D and video acceleration just fine.

With the ION-based 9400M supporting PureVideo HD, this IGP can handle VDPAU for video acceleration. NVIDIA's Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix is capable of offloading a great deal of the video decoding and playback to the GPU rather than the CPU, which as our tests have shown, allow HD 1080p video playback with ease when using very low-end hardware.

For looking at NVIDIA's ION Linux performance we built a nettop around the Jetway NC92 motherboard that was running with a 1.6GHz Intel Atom 230, Intel 945 graphics, 2GB of DDR2 memory, and a 300GB Seagate ST3300622AS SATA HDD. On the software side this nettop was setup identically to the ZaReason Ion Breeze with Ubuntu 9.04 x86_64 except it was using the xf86-video-intel 2.6.3 driver and Mesa 7.4 that is found in this release rather than the proprietary NVIDIA driver. For facilitating all of the tests you are about to see is the Phoronix Test Suite, which is our leading open-source testing software for Linux, BSD, OpenSolaris, and Mac OS X operating systems. Phoronix Test Suite 2.0 brings a horde of improvements to this software and today we were using the latest 2.0 "Sandtorg" code-base.

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