New Linux Gaming Benchmarks Published

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 10 April 2012 at 07:52 AM EDT. 2 Comments
There's several new test profiles available for stressing your Linux OpenGL drivers and hardware.

When it comes to the new Linux gaming benchmarks, test profiles have been committed for Reaction and ETXReaL.

Reaction is the long-standing Quake 3 mod that turned into its own standalone game and recently reached beta 1.0 status. While this is a game based upon the aging Quake 3 (ioquake3) engine, it does have some enhanced visual effects compared to the original Quake 3 or some of the older ioquake3-based games.

As said on the Reaction Q3 web-site, "In light of that, I'm going to make the executive decision that you'll want a Geforce 8800 or better or a Radeon 3650 or better to enjoy Reaction. You may be able to get lesser video cards to work, but no guarantees. Intel video? That might just be exit wounds when it comes to Reaction." (The original Quake III Arena system requirements were any 3D graphics card with OpenGL support and 4~8MB of video memory. On the CPU side it just needed an Intel Pentium 233MHz or AMD K6-2 350MHz.)

Compared to the other ioquake3 test profiles already available to Phoronix Test Suite / users, the Reaction game appears slightly more demanding. This is in comparison to titles like Tremulous, OpenArena, Urban Terror, and Smokin' Guns.

From my testing of Reaction Q3 1.0 Beta via the test profile (it's labelled just reaction so it's a matter of just running phoronix-test-suite benchmark reaction), it's running find on the modern Mesa/Gallium3D drivers. The proprietary AMD/NVIDIA drivers don't cause any problems and obviously with this open-source game with a fast graphics card / binary drivers you're likely to just hit a CPU bottleneck, but the new Reaction test profile should be useful for some open-source Mesa driver benchmarking. Some initial test results from the Reaction game can be found on its test profile page -- Nouveau, an AMD Linux Bulldozer, etc. As shown in the Sandy Bridge Reaction results, this ioquake3 game runs at about a third of the frame-rate as the less-demanding OpenArena.

The other more interesting OpenGL test profile that was just committed this morning is ETXReaL. This is the version of Enemy Territory that's using the XreaL engine modifications. For a while XreaL was looking to be the most advanced open-source engine, but there hasn't been too much going on lately.

ETXReaL still relies upon the original Enemy Territory game assets from id Software, which imposes some limitations on just how good the visuals can get, but the engine itself has received many improvements from the XreaL efforts. ETXReaL features an OpenGL 3.2 renderer, a 64-bit binary (the official ET is 32-bit only), true 64-bit HDR lighting, deferred shading, real-time sun lights, and other visual capabilities not found in the original id Tech 3 engine. These features aren't bad for nearly a decade-old game.

The ETXReaL read-me file describes the XReaL-provided engine improvements as:
- Modern OpenGL 3.2 renderer with all deprecated OpenGL calls removed
- Clever usage of vertex buffer objects (VBO) to speed up rendering of everything
- Avoids geometry processing each frame using the CPU (worst bottleneck with the Q3A engine)
- Renders up to 500 000 - 1 000 000 polygons at 80 - 200 fps on current hardware (DX10 generation)
- Optional GPU occlusion culling (improved Coherent Hierarchy Culling) useful for rendering large city scenes
- Doom 3 .MD5mesh/.MD5anim skeletal model and animation support
- Unreal Actor X .PSK/.PSA skeletal model and animation support
- True 64 bit HDR lighting with adaptive tone mapping
- Advanced projective and omni-directional soft shadow mapping methods like EVSM
- Real-time sun lights with parallel-split shadow maps
- Optional deferred shading
- Relief mapping that can be enabled by materials
- Optional uniform lighting and shadowing model like in Doom 3 including globe mapping
- Supports almost all Quake 3, Enemy Territory and Doom 3 material shader keywords
- TGA, PNG, JPG and DDS format support for textures
- Usage of frame buffer objects (FBO) to perform offscreen rendering effects
- Improved TrueType font support that does not require external tools
- Linux 64-bit support
- Linux sound backend using SDL
- .avi recorder from ioquake3 including sound support
- Optimized collision detection routines
- Support for Omni-bot
- GUID system to generate internal etkeys which are sent as cl_guid
ETXReaL still doesn't close to the level of visual intensity as the Unigine benchmarks or even say Xonotic (I'm also waiting for interesting work to come out of iodoom3), but it's a big step-up from other ioquake3 games (and even the above-mentioned Reaction). In fact, ETXreaL right now is causing problems for some Mesa drivers -- Nouveau seems to be hit or miss in terms of support, but when it does work there's some rendering deficiencies and other differences compared to a full-featured GL3/GL4 proprietary graphics driver from AMD/NVIDIA. The binary blobs can handle ETXReaL fine still without breaking a sweat. With the NVIDIA 295 binary Linux driver, ETXReaL hits a CPU bottleneck as would be expected.

ETXReaL and Reaction are coming just in time for Intel Ivy Bridge Linux benchmarking. If you wish to run your own tests to see how ETXReaL and Reaction run on your Linux system, it's just a matter of running phoronix-test-suite benchmark reaction etxreal from any Phoronix Test Suite 3.x client for it to automatically download, setup, and benchmark the games in a seamless and reproducible manner. (Though if you've ran the Phoronix Test Suite within the past three days, first run phoronix-test-suite openbenchmarking-refresh so the new test profiles are found prior to the automatic re-fetching every 72 hours.)

For those more interested in CPU benchmarking, there is now an FFTE test profile. FFTE is a program to compute Discrete Fourier Transforms of one, two, and three dimensional sequences. I've been working with a group from M.I.T. on incorporating some of the computational MPI-based benchmarks used in their super-computer/cluster competitions and other efforts into the Phoronix Test Suite / Expect more tests in this area to be added soon.
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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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