Mesa 20.0 Now Defaults To The New Intel Gallium3D Driver For Faster OpenGL

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 24 January 2020 at 12:00 AM EST. 9 Comments
After missing their original target of transitioning to Intel Gallium3D by default for Mesa 19.3 as the preferred OpenGL Linux driver on Intel graphics hardware, this milestone has now been reached for Mesa 20.0!

We've known that the revised Intel goal was Mesa 20.0 but that change-over was looking less likely especially with Mesa 20.0 entering feature freeze next week, but just in time the default change-over from i965 to Iris Gallium3D has happened.

With Mesa 20.0 this means for Broadwell "Gen8" graphics and newer Mesa will prefer the new Intel Gallium3D driver though the i965 driver will remain available for those preferring it (or rather, comparing performance and analyzing any bugs that may remain in the Gallium3D code). For those with Haswell and older graphics, i965 will continue to serve as the default Intel OpenGL driver with that not receiving support by this modern Gallium3D driver.

From all our tests on Broadwell and newer, the Intel Gallium3D driver is measurably faster than the old i965 classic driver in a far majority of benchmarks. This driver change-over by default is a big win for Intel Linux desktop/laptop customers,

I am personally super happy to see this change make it for Mesa 20.0 given the increased performance and still maintaining OpenGL 4.6 functionality off this driver. I'll have up some fresh Intel Gallium3D benchmarks shortly.
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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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