Intel Ivy Bridge: UXA vs. SNA - Updated Benchmarks
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 29 May 2013 at 10:15 PM EDT. 19 Comments
With the testing of the very latest Intel X.Org graphics driver, the SNA 2D acceleration back-end for the Ivy Bridge graphics is now the clear-cut winner for the Linux desktop over using the default UXA back-end.

If you aren't familiar with Intel SNA, you surely haven't been reading enough of Phoronix as it's been extensively covered on the site over the past two years through many articles. Long story short, SNA is an experimental 2D acceleration architecture that's been extensively tuned to insane detail by Intel OTC's Chris Wilson. For the past several months now it's generally been working well across all generations of Intel hardware from Sandy/Ivy Bridge to even old Intel IGPs.

SNA hasn't become the default yet for the xf86-video-intel driver, although some distributions such as Ubuntu Linux have enabled it over UXA by default. In part why SNA hasn't been enabled by default is that the code-base is much larger than UXA, as one of the voiced explanations in the past. Most Intel OTC developers are also now focused on Wayland than with advancing the xf86-video-intel X.Org driver.

Anyhow, with the recent Intel driver improvements, I ran some new benchmarks to see where the performance stands today.From an Intel/ASUS Ultrabook with Core i3 3217U Ivy Bridge processor sporting HD 4000 graphics, I ran some benchmarks from an Ubuntu 13.10 development snapshot while loading on the Linux 3.10 Git kernel, Mesa 9.2.0 git-4f518e1, and the xf86-video-intel 2.21.8 Git as of this morning.

For the Ivy Bridge Ultrabook, SNA was faster in 100% of the test profiles used. The test results along with other system details/logs can be found in full on OpenBenchmarking.org within 1305295-UT-INTELUXAS78 while embedded below are just some teasers.

Continue on to the rest of the results.
About The Author
Author picture

Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

Related Intel News
Popular News
Trending Reviews & Featured Articles