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Ubuntu 13.10 Can Outperform OS X 10.9 "Mavericks" On Intel OpenGL

Michael Larabel

Published on 18 July 2013
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 3 - 13 Comments

With Apple's OS X 10.9 "Mavericks" having better OpenGL performance and in compliance with OpenGL 4.1 rather than being GL3-limited as with existing OS X releases, new benchmarks were carried out at Phoronix to see how well Apple's OpenGL driver stack on the current OS X 10.9 developer preview compared to Ubuntu Linux when testing the Intel graphics driver.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks offers support for OpenGL up to version 4.1 of the Khronos specification. For the open-source Intel Linux graphics driver, OpenGL 3.1 is advertised for Mesa 9.1 stable and it's still that way for Mesa 9.2 though most OpenGL 3.2~3.3 functionality is in place. Still missing though from the Intel Linux driver and the other open-source graphics drivers is OpenGL 4.0/4.1/4.2/4.3 support. On Linux, only the proprietary AMD Catalyst and NVIDIA graphics drivers are in full compliance with GL4.

Anyhow, from the latest OS X 10.9 Developer Preview, using an Apple Mac Mini from 2011 with an Intel Core i5 CPU bearing HD 3000 "Sandy Bridge" graphics the performance was compared to the Ubuntu 13.10 development state. Ubuntu 13.10 is presently using Mesa 9.1.4 stable but Mesa 9.2 Git was also tested from this Linux installation to compare the OS X vs. Linux OpenGL performance for Intel HD 3000 graphics.

A variety of cross-platform OpenGL games that run well on Intel hardware were tested on the Apple Mac Mini. Aside from swapping Mesa on Ubuntu 13.10, the operating systems had all available updates and were running with their stock settings. All benchmarking was handled in a fully automated and completely reproducible manner with the open-source Phoronix Test Suite software.

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