Linux 4.0 Will Run Source Engine Games Faster For Intel Haswell

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 12 March 2015 at 01:26 PM EDT. 3 Comments
Last year I wrote about a major performance breakthrough discovered for Intel's Linux graphics driver. That small but important patch for benefiting Intel Haswell graphics performance will be found with the upcoming Linux 4.0 kernel release.

There's many changes for the Linux 4.0 kernel -- including numerous DRM graphics driver improvements but one of the changes I failed to note up until now for Linux 4.0 is the big Haswell performance boosting patch.

The patch was posted in January and that article goes into more details about its impact and the support caveat around VA-API. This patch was merged during the Linux 4.0 merge window. This patch should boost the Intel Haswell Linux graphics performance by close to 20% for Source Engine games like Left 4 Dead 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. In other workloads like Lightsmark the gains reported by LunarG were as much as 60%.

In the days ahead will be the start of my Linux 4.0 kernel benchmarking in full that will include exploring these performance changes. The patch is only relevant to Intel Haswell hardware and won't have any impact on older HD Graphics nor newer Broadwell graphics.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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