Intel Ivy Bridge: UXA vs. SNA - Updated Benchmarks
If you aren't familiar with Intel SNA, you surely haven't been reading enough of Phoronix as it's been extensively covered on the site over the past two years through many articles. Long story short, SNA is an experimental 2D acceleration architecture that's been extensively tuned to insane detail by Intel OTC's Chris Wilson. For the past several months now it's generally been working well across all generations of Intel hardware from Sandy/Ivy Bridge to even old Intel IGPs.
SNA hasn't become the default yet for the xf86-video-intel driver, although some distributions such as Ubuntu Linux have enabled it over UXA by default. In part why SNA hasn't been enabled by default is that the code-base is much larger than UXA, as one of the voiced explanations in the past. Most Intel OTC developers are also now focused on Wayland than with advancing the xf86-video-intel X.Org driver.
Anyhow, with the recent Intel driver improvements, I ran some new benchmarks to see where the performance stands today.From an Intel/ASUS Ultrabook with Core i3 3217U Ivy Bridge processor sporting HD 4000 graphics, I ran some benchmarks from an Ubuntu 13.10 development snapshot while loading on the Linux 3.10 Git kernel, Mesa 9.2.0 git-4f518e1, and the xf86-video-intel 2.21.8 Git as of this morning.
For the Ivy Bridge Ultrabook, SNA was faster in 100% of the test profiles used. The test results along with other system details/logs can be found in full on OpenBenchmarking.org within 1305295-UT-INTELUXAS78 while embedded below are just some teasers.