1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

Nine Exciting Features Coming To Mesa 9.1

Mesa

Published on 14 February 2013 11:18 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa
Comment On This Article

With Mesa 9.1 expected to be released before month's end, here's a run-down of some of the exciting features to be found from this next Mesa 3D release.

Similar to Nine Good Things About Mesa 9.0 and Nine Reasons Mesa 9.0 Is Disappointing For End-Users, this list is looking at the top positive traits to Mesa 9.1.

OpenGL ES 3.0 - Mesa 9.1 introduces initial support for OpenGL ES 3.0. This is the first mobile/embedded OpenGL specification update in years since OpenGL ES 2.0 and incorporates some features from the desktop OpenGL 3.x/4.x specifications. OpenGL ES 3.0 support in Mesa so soon can be directly thanked to Intel and for Ivy Bridge they are one of the first official OpenGL ES 3.0 products. Though to date there isn't much software that's directly dependent upon OpenGL ES 3.0 functionality.

OpenGL 3.1 Core For R600g - While not new for the Intel driver, the R600 Gallium3D driver with Mesa 9.1 officially supports an OpenGL 3.1 Core Profile context. This GL 3.1 core profile support is for the Radeon HD 2000 through Radeon HD 6000 series. As part of this is GLSL 1.40 for R600g.

New OpenGL Support - While OpenGL 3.2/3.3 isn't fully and officially done for Mesa 9.1 (hence why there wasn't a major version bump to Mesa 10.0), support is getting close. There's support for a number of new desktop OpenGL extensions from the OpenGL 3.x and 4.x standards as part of this six-month update. There's several new extensions supported such as GL_EXT_color_buffer_float and GL_ANGLE_texture_compression_dxt5.

Radeon X1000 Series MSAA - For those using an old Radeon X1000 (R500) graphics card, Mesa 9.1 is the first release to finally support multi-sample anti-aliasing. MSAA has been worked on for both R300g and R600g while for R500 hardware it was finally deemed stable and good enough to enable the support by default. The multi-sample anti-aliasing level can be easily toggled via the GALLIUM_MSAA environment variable.

Performance Improvements - There are some performance improvements to see out of some of the Mesa/Gallium3D drivers in Mesa 9.1. For more information see Intel Sandy Bridge Looks Good On Mesa 9.1, Mesa 9.1 Results Are Mixed For Radeon Gallium3D, Mesa 9.1 Delivers Faster Intel OpenGL Graphics, and Five-Way NVIDIA GeForce Comparison On Nouveau.

Intel Haswell Support - Support for Intel's Haswell processors that will be released in the months ahead should be in good shape with Mesa 9.1. You'll also need the latest xf86-video-intel DDX and Linux kernel (Linux 3.8+) for the best open-source graphics support on Haswell.

Intel Floating-Point Textures By Default - The Intel Mesa DRI driver now enables support for floating-point textures unconditionally. Up to now the support was hidden behind a --enable-texture-float configure switch at build-time, but Intel found it safe to enable by default. OpenGL floating-point textures has been a legal concern for Intel and the other GPU vendors over patent/IP concerns. In talking with Intel Linux developers at FOSDEM earlier this month, they basically received legal assurance that they can safely enable floating-point textures without falling into legal hell. The Radeon and Nouveau drivers though still require the compile-time switch for enabling this GL3 functionality.

Improved Radeon HyperZ - When paired with a modern Linux kernel Radeon DRM, the HyperZ support within the R600 Gallium3D driver is finally in good standing. After sorting through problems for a long-time, open-source Radeon developers finally got the HyperZ support fixed-up. HyperZ has the potential to boost the graphics card's performance.

RadeonSI Gallium3D - According to Alex Deucher and others, the "RadeonSI" Gallium3D driver for supporting the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series is finally in okay shape for handling compositing and most OpenGL games. Last time I tried the latest RadeonSI Gallium3D driver with the Linux kernel, it still was a mess. However, I'll be testing Mesa 9.1 in conjunction with the Linux 3.8 kernel to see if things are finally working out decent for this latest-generation AMD graphics hardware.

About The Author
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 and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. AMD's New Athlon/Semprons Give Old Phenom CPUs A Big Run For The Money
  2. 13-Way Low-End GPU Comparison With AMD's AM1 Athlon
  3. ASUS AM1I-A: A Mini-ITX Board For Socketed Kabini APUs
  4. Mini-Box M350: A Simple, Affordable Mini-ITX Case
Latest Linux Articles
  1. How Much Video RAM Is Needed For Catalyst R3 Graphics?
  2. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS vs. 14.04 LTS Cloud Benchmarks
  3. Ubuntu 12.04.4 vs. 13.10 vs. 14.04 LTS Desktop Benchmarks
  4. AMD OpenCL Performance With AM1 Kabini APUs
Latest Linux News
  1. OpenELEC 4.0 Beta 6 Works On 4K Graphics, RPi ALSA
  2. Linux 3.15 Lands Some DRM Graphics Driver Fixes
  3. AMD Is Disabling DPM Support For RV770 GPUs
  4. ReactOS Working On A Community Windows OS
  5. Borderlands Is Being Considered For Linux
  6. Mesa 10.0 & 10.1 Stable Get Updated
  7. Getting Hit By The Variable Performance Of The Public Cloud
  8. Git 2.0 Test Releases Begin With Many Changes
  9. Wine 1.7.17 Works On Its Task Scheduler, C Run-Time
  10. The Improv ARM Board Still Isn't Shipping; Riding A Dead Horse?
  11. Debian To Maintain 6.0 Squeeze As An LTS Release
  12. Wasteland 2 Is Finally Released For Linux Gamers
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. The GNOME Foundation Is Running Short On Money
  2. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  3. Catalyst 14.3 Beta
  4. Suggestions about how to make a Radeon HD 7790 work decently?
  5. Radeon 8000M problematic on Linux?
  6. Linux Kernel Developers Fed Up With Ridiculous Bugs In Systemd
  7. After Jack Keane, RuseSoft will briing Ankh 3 to Linux through Desura
  8. Suspected PHP Proxy Issue