Clear Linux With Mesa 13 Is A Strong Match For Intel Linux Performance

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 2 December 2016. Page 1 of 3. 22 Comments

When benchmarking Intel's Clear Linux distribution earlier this year we found its Intel graphics performance to be quite good and slightly faster than other Linux distributions even when Clear was using an older version of Mesa. Now with Clear Linux having switched to Mesa 13, I decided to run some fresh Intel OpenGL benchmarks on it compared to other distributions.

Clear Linux 11920

Clear Linux 11920 was the release tested and it ships with the Linux 4.8.11 kernel, Xfce 4.12 desktop, X.Org Server 1.19, and Mesa 13.1.0-devel. Clear also ships with Intel's Beignet OpenCL and Vulkan driver support, but the Vulkan support isn't too useful yet since Steam doesn't run on the distribution yet... Clear Linux is only focused on x86_64 Linux with minimal i386 packages, so until there's a native fully 64-bit Steam Linux client, there probably won't be support for it. So with that said, we're also limited in the graphics tests we can run on Linux outside of Steam.

The Arch-based Antergous Linux distribution.

For comparing the Clear Linux Intel OpenGL performance I ran benchmarks with the Arch-based Antergos 16.11-Rolling using the default GNOME Shell and then its Xfce desktop (Linux 4.8 + Mesa 13.0), Fedora 25 with the default Wayland desktop and then using the X.Org Server option (Linux 4.8, Mesa 12.0.3, X.Org Server 1.19), and then Ubuntu 16.10. Ubuntu 16.10 was tested with its stock Mesa 12.0 packages and Linux 4.8 and then upgraded to Mesa 13.1-dev using the Oibaf PPA while retaining to the stock Linux 4.8 kernel and X.Org Server 1.18.4.

Clear Linux vs. Ubuntu vs. Fedora vs. Arch Graphics Tests

So it's a nice little Intel OpenGL Linux distribution comparison ahead of the weekend. The same Intel Core i5 6500 (Skylake) system with HD Graphics 530 was used the entire time during benchmarking. As usual, the only differences on the system component table come down to just reported differences by each distribution based upon their default preferences, etc. All of these Intel OpenGL benchmarks were carried out in a fully-automated and reproducible manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

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