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

Intel Z6xx Moorestown Graphics Still Disappoint

Intel

Published on 05 May 2010 11:33 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel
32 Comments

Last night Intel finally announced the Intel Atom Processor Z6xx Series Family, which has been known under the Moorestown codename for quite a while and is something we first reported on back in 2007. With the new Atom Z6xx processors Intel is hoping it will propel their Atom brand within more smart-phones, tablets, and other mobile Internet devices, but these low-power processors will likely end up in some netbooks too. Unfortunately, the graphics for the Moorestown / Atom Z7xx platform is still looking to be a major disappointment to Linux users.

The Intel Intel Atom Processor Z6xx "Moorestown" hardware is a major step over existing Atom CPUs with it being much faster, consuming even less power, and sporting other new features. In regards to this 45nm Intel SoC with 3D graphics, video encoding/decoding, memory and display controllers all integrated, the press release for the Intel Atom Z6xx mentions, "Collectively these new chips deliver significantly lower power including >50x reduction in idle power, >20x reduction in audio power, and 2-3x reductions across browsing and video scenarios – all at the platform level when compared to Intel's previous-generation product."

In terms of the graphics capabilities for Moorestown, newly published documents state the following:
Intel GMA 600 Graphics – Integrated power-optimized 2-D/3-D graphics with up to 400MHz graphics core frequency, support for OpenGL ES2.0, Open GL 2.1, and OpenVG 1.1, and hardware-accelerated7 HD video7 decode (MPEG4 part 2, H.264, WMV & VC1) and encode
(MPEG4 part2, H.264). Supports internal display up to 1366 x 768 LVDS or 1024 x 600 MIPI.

While this is a modest set of features and the graphics core is clocked up to twice as fast as the current-generation Poulsbo / GMA 500, the GMA 600 carries the same set of problems as Poulsbo: Intel's licensing this graphics intellectual property from Imagination Technologies.

Because Intel hasn't developed all of this technology in-house and Imagination Technologies isn't an open-source friendly firm, Intel has had to release the Poulsbo graphics driver as a binary-only driver. The Intel GMA 600 is based on the PowerVR SGX 535 from Imagination Technologies, and its Linux support is expected to come in the same open-source manner as Poulsbo.

While a binary driver is bad enough for many users, the Intel GMA 500 "Poulsbo" driver is ill-maintained and can be a challenging experience to even get working on some newer desktop Linux distributions. The Linux experience for Intel's GMA 500 graphics have been a bloody mess and the open-source DRM portion was even rejected from the mainline kernel.

We haven't been able to spot any Intel GMA 600 driver yet for Linux, but we wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't roll out until MeeGo is ready to go, similar to how the Poulsbo driver was largely catered around Intel's Moblin distribution (that's now being folded into MeeGo). Meanwhile, Intel's Open-Source Technology Center developers have already been working on open-source Sandy Bridge support -- their next-generation on-CPU graphics processor -- and that isn't even launching for months, but that's because they don't need to worry about any external IP / the wrath of Imagination Technologies thanks to its in-house design.

Once we get our hands on any Intel Z6xx "Moorestown" devices we'll be able to see how its Linux performance and features stacks up.

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. Even With Re-Clocking, Nouveau Remains Behind NVIDIA's Proprietary Linux Driver
  2. The Power Consumption & Efficiency Of Open-Source GPU Drivers
  3. AMD R600g/RadeonSI Performance On Linux 3.16 With Mesa 10.3-devel
  4. Intel Pentium G3258 On Linux
Latest Linux Articles
  1. AMD Catalyst 14.6 Does Slightly Better With APITest OpenGL Tests
  2. Updated Source Engine Benchmarks On The Latest AMD/NVIDIA Linux Drivers
  3. Nouveau vs. Radeon vs. Intel Tests On Linux 3.16, Mesa 10.3-devel
  4. KVM Benchmarks On Ubuntu 14.10
Latest Linux News
  1. Builder: A New Development IDE Being Built For GNOME
  2. GDB 7.8 Betters Python Scripting, Adds Guile Support
  3. GNOME's GTK+ Is Still Striving For A Scene Graph, Canvas API
  4. Unreal Tournament Looks Great For Team Deathmatch
  5. LibreOffice 4.3 Released With Many Exciting Changes
  6. GNOME/GTK On Wayland Gains Focus At GUADEC
  7. GNOME Stakeholders Take Issue With Groupon Over their Gnome
  8. GStreamer VA-API Plug-In Update Adds New Features
  9. Qt 5.4 Going Into Feature Freeze Next Week With Exciting Changes
  10. OpenSUSE Factory Turns Into Rolling Release Distribution
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Open-source drivers on ATI R7 260X
  2. Grand Theft Auto Running On Direct3D Natively On Linux Shows Gallium3D Potential
  3. AMD Athlon 5350 APU On Linux
  4. Debian + radeonsi
  5. Linus Torvalds On GCC 4.9: Pure & Utter Crap
  6. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  7. List of Linux friendly Kickstarter projects
  8. Porting Mesa to the Playstation 2