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Gaming Benchmarks: Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu Linux

Michael Larabel

Published on 16 August 2010
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 3 - 67 Comments

At the beginning of this month we published workstation benchmarks comparing Windows 7 to Ubuntu Linux. In those tests, which were a continuation of tests from earlier this year when looking to see whether Windows 7 is faster than Ubuntu 10.04 and how fast is Windows compared to Mac OS X and Linux, the two operating systems performed quite closely in our workstation tests with only a few exceptions. Today, however, we are back to looking at the Linux vs. Windows performance of the Lenovo ThinkPad W510 and this time we are looking at the OpenGL gaming performance between Windows 7 Professional and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

The Lenovo ThinkPad W510 being tested had an Intel Core i7 720QM clocked at 1.60GHz with a total of eight logical cores (four physical cores + Hyper Threading), 4GB of DDR3 system memory, a 320GB Hitachi HTS72503 7200RPM SATA HDD, a 1600 x 900 display panel, and a NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M graphics processor with 1GB of video memory. The Intel Core i7 720QM continues to be one of the fastest quad-core notebook processors available with a maximum Turbo Frequency of 2.8GHz, 6MB of Intel Smart Cache, SSE4.2 support, and is built on a 45nm process. The NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M graphics processor has 48 CUDA cores, a 550MHz core clock, 1GB of 128-bit 790MHz DDR3 video memory, OpenGL 3.2 support, and supports OpenCL 1.0. The NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M is based upon the consumer-grade GeForce GT 330M mobile GPU.

The Lenovo ThinkPad W510 notebook was tested with Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64 and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS x86_64. On the Windows side there was the NVIDIA 258.96 WHQL driver while on the Linux side the testing was done with the latest 256.35 release. The stock Ubuntu Lucid packages besides NVIDIA's proprietary driver remained with their default versions and configuration. The OpenGL gaming-oriented benchmarks we ran for this article via the Phoronix Test Suite on Linux and Windows were Nexuiz, OpenArena, Warsow, Lightsmark, Unigine Sanctuary, Unigine Tropics, and Unigine Heaven. With many of these games, we ran them at the notebook's native panel resolution (1600 x 900) and then at a lower resolution to see how Ubuntu and Windows act when CPU/GPU limited in different conditions.

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