Intel X.Org 2.12 Driver To Render Text/Glyphs Faster
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 24 May 2010 at 07:30 PM EDT. 7 Comments
Intel's next quarterly Linux graphics driver update will be out around July and while nothing too exciting has yet to emerge within the X.Org DDX driver that will be released as xf86-video-intel 2.12, there is one interesting merge today. This next Intel X.Org driver update should offer significantly faster text / glyphs performance.

Chris Wilson has merged his xf86-video-intel "glyphs" branch to the mainline Intel driver code-base, which touches more than 1,000 lines of code, but according to his benchmarks it's accelerating glyphs a whole lot faster.

With Intel Pineview hardware (not to be confused with Poulsbo or Intel GMA 600 Moorestown ASICs) that's found in the very newest netbooks and nettops like the Jetway NC96, his test results are rather favorable.

With x11perf the aa10text test went from 460 kglyphs/s to 617 kglyphs/s with this glyph improvement branch. The rgb10text went from 434 to 610 kglyphs/s. His xlib and xcb tests with Poppler, VIM inside the GNOME Terminal, and Firefox have been favorable too with speed-ups of 1.08x to 1.34x.

His test results along with the merged code can be found in this Git commit. This is good news for 2D, but the OpenGL/3D performance with the Intel Linux graphics driver is horrible compared to the Intel Mac OS X and Windows drivers (and more Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu benchmarks) and frankly is a real loser with the current state of Mesa and their lack of focus on Gallium3D.

This improved glyphs performance will be found in the xf86-video-intel 2.12 DDX, which will certainly be included with Fedora 14 and hopefully Ubuntu 10.10 along with other Linux distributions updating this fall.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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