The original Mesa 7.4 release came in March of 2009 there was not a whole lot in terms of frame-rate performance changes for OpenArena up until the Mesa 7.8 series when there was a nice performance jump of nearly 30% for this Intel netbook IGP. With Mesa 7.9 it's looking like this nice performance improvement hasn't regressed, but at the same time it hasn't been increased further even with all of the Mesa changes to be found in this upcoming 7.9 release.
With OpenArena there was a nice performance jump between our Mesa 7.7.3 and 7.8.2 runs, but with World of Padman that is based off the same engine there is a performance loss of greater than 10%. The regression has not been resolved in Mesa 7.9 as of yet. Even at 1024 x 600 on this Intel Atom netbook this ioquake3-powered game is unplayable and has been only made worse with this Mesa 7.8 regression.
With Smokin' Guns, which is powered by the same open-source ioquake3 engine, there is an improvement to note between Mesa 7.8.2 and 7.9-devel, but it's only by one frame though that's measurable and statistically significant with this low-powered hardware and the slow-performing Linux driver. This one frame improvement though just brings it back to the same speed as where it was at when testing Mesa 7.4.4.