Last month I published benchmarks showing Windows 8 beating Ubuntu Linux when it came to the Intel OpenGL performance for the latest generation Intel "Haswell" desktop processors. Since then there's been lots of commits to Mesa and continued improvements to the Linux kernel and for some tests the open-source Linux driver is in better standing. For the testing today is a comparison of Windows 8 Pro against the latest Ubuntu 13.10 development packages when using a System76 Gazelle Professional laptop with Core i7 4900MQ CPU.
This article has the results from a Microsoft Windows 8 Professional x64 installation with all available updates as of this week and using the latest Intel Haswell Windows graphics driver: 184.108.40.20665 from 10 May 2013. While Windows isn't installed by default to the System76 Gazelle Pro, I figured it would be a rather intriguing test target for this laptop with the i7-4900MQ processor that sports Intel HD Graphics 4600.
On this same system, Ubuntu 13.10 was then installed in its latest form as of this week. Ubuntu 13.10 x86_64 shipped with the Linux 3.11 kernel, Unity 7.1.0 desktop, X.Org Server 1.14.3 RC1 without any Mir/XMir integration yet, and Mesa 9.1.6. As the Mesa stack hasn't been upgraded yet in Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy, the Mesa 9.3-devel Git code as of 27 August was also pulled to reflect the very latest Intel DRI graphics driver. Settings under Windows and Linux remained in their stock configuration. The selection of Windows and Linux OpenGL benchmarks used were those that have proven to be of similar quality and performance under both operating systems in an ideal state.
All of the benchmarking on Windows and Linux with the System76 Haswell laptop was handled in a fully automated and reproducible manner using the Phoronix Test Suite software. While it would have been interesting to also provide power consumption results for this mobile system running Windows and Linux, it wasn't possible to capture since the necessary battery information wasn't properly exposed via sysfs on the kernel tested.