Intel Graphics Performance: Clear Linux vs. Xubuntu 16.04 LTS vs. Fedora 23 Xfce

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 4 May 2016 at 11:00 AM EDT.

With recent benchmarks showing Intel's Clear Linux distribution even being faster for Intel HD Graphics performance compared to other more common distributions like Ubuntu 16.04, I decided to run some more tests and also test Fedora 23 Xfce into the mix.

Those tests done a few weeks back were using a Xeon E3-1235L v5 Skylake system with ASRock Rack C236M. For today's testing I wanted to go with a sharply different configuration to see if Clear Linux's Intel graphics performance gains still held true, so I went with a system not fitting the use-case of the workstation/server/cloud-oriented Clear Linux: a Haswell ultrabook.

I used an ASUS UX301LAA ultrabook with Core i7 4558U processor during the testing today, which features a Haswell-era Iris Graphics 5100. Clear Linux 7820 was the latest release at the time of testing and shipped with the Linux 4.5.2 kernel, Mesa 11.2.1, and X.Org Server 1.18.3. With Clear Linux using Xfce as its desktop environment, I used Xubuntu 16.04 as the flavor of Xenial Xerus for benchmarking with the Linux 4.4 kernel, X.Org Server 1.18.3, and Mesa 11.2.0. For good measure, I also did a secondary run from Xubuntu 16.04 LTS when upgrading to the Linux 4.6 Git kernel and Mesa 11.3-dev from the Padoka PPA for representing the very bleeding-edge Intel Linux graphics experience for this Iris ultrabook. Lastly, there was the Fedora 23 Xfce spin that with updates brought it to Linux 4.4 and Mesa 11.1.

Clear Linux 7820 vs. Xubuntu 16.04 vs. Fedora 23 Graphics

The same ultrabook with same UEFI/BIOS settings were used during testing. If you're new here, the reason why the reported CPU frequency is different on the system table is just due to the different CPU frequency scaling driver used by Clear Linux that reports the base clock frequency rather than turbo frequency. These OpenGL graphics benchmarks on Fedora, Ubuntu, and Clear Linux were carried out in a fully-automated and reproducible manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

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