While Ubuntu and many other Linux distributions tend to stick to the same kernel version and other key package versions for the entire release's lifetime, Fedora releases generally follow more closely the latest upstream releases. Fedora 18 shipped with the Linux 3.6 kernel, GNOME Shell 3.6.2, X.Org Server 1.13.0, and Mesa 9.0.1. These package versions with Fedora 18 updates are now at the stable Linux 3.8 kernel, GNOME Shell 3.6.3, X.Org Server 1.13.3, and Mesa 9.1. Many other packages are also at new versions.
Having done a new clean installation of Fedora 18 today, I decided to run some brief benchmarks to see how the stock F18 performance compares to that in its updated state. Those benchmarks are being shared for reference within this article. Fedora 19 development packages weren't compared since the Fedora development packages continue to ship with a fair amount of debugging support that can lead to slower performance than the release versions.
Benchmarking happened from a Lenovo ThinkPad W510 laptop with an Intel Core i7 CPU, Intel SSD, and NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M graphics. All benchmarking was done in a fully standardized and automated way using the Phoronix Test Suite software. Benchmark results in full along with other system information can be gathered from 1304155-UT-FEDORA18U44.
Fedora 18 in an updated state is slower for Nexuiz due to Mesa 9.1 enabling MSAA in this configuration over Mesa 9.0 as found with the clean install. With this testing being done just from a lone laptop, only the Nouveau driver is being covered by this brief Fedora Linux benchmarking.
For some of the other OpenGL Linux game benchmarks, there isn't too much to look at with the past few months of F18 package updates.
PostMark is slightly slower in this updated state atop the EXT4 file-system.
With no major GCC compiler update for Fedora 18 and the kernel only being bumped two versions ahead, there isn't too many exciting performance changes for the computational tests.
PostgreSQL was found to be slightly faster on this Intel hardware.
More benchmarks can be found within the OpenBenchmarking.org result file.