Intel Icelake "Gen11" Graphics Are A Huge Upgrade Over Gen9 With Good Linux Support

Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 24 October 2019 at 11:23 AM EDT. Page 1 of 8. 18 Comments.

Earlier this week I delivered our initial look at the Core i7-1065G7 Icelake Linux performance compared to Whiskey Lake and Kabylake-R. The CPU performance improvements and performance-per-Watt for this 10nm+ CPU is a big upgrade over those earlier notebooks while now here is our first look at how the Icelake "Gen11" graphics compare to those aging Gen9 graphics.

Similar to the Linux CPU performance article earlier this week, the Core i7-1065G7 was tested via a Dell XPS 7390 that was purchased retail for being able to deliver these Linux benchmarks. The Icelake results were compared to the other Dell XPS models I had available as the Dell XPS 9380 with Core i7 8565U Whiskey Lake and Dell XPS 9370 with Core i7 8550U Kabylake-R for showing the generational graphics performance comparison with these otherwise similar laptops. A larger Linux laptop comparison with older laptop models and more will be coming in the next few weeks for helping Linux users better evaluate upgrade options ahead of this holiday season.

As a refresher, the Core i7 8550U and Core i7 8565U features "Gen 9" UHD Graphics 620 while the new Icelake Core i7-1065G7 features "Gen 11" Iris Plus Graphics.

The three laptops were tested with Intel's Clear Linux platform while running the Linux 5.3 kernel and Mesa 19.3-devel as the default software packages, the GNOME Shell 3.34.1 desktop, and X.Org Server 1.20.5. The Icelake graphics were tested both with the default i965 OpenGL driver as well as the new "Iris" Gallium3D driver that will likely be the default for Mesa 20.0.

Via the Phoronix Test Suite a variety of graphics tests were carried out across all the systems under test. With comparing to Gen9 graphics, obviously there wasn't too many gaming tests with most games not running well on UHD Graphics 620. A separate forthcoming article will look more at the Linux gaming potential now opened up by Gen11. But there are some Linux gaming tests and the more pressing areas for Gen9 vs. Gen11 graphics performance within web browsers and other desktop workloads. In addition to looking at the raw graphics performance, the performance-per-Watt was also provided with monitoring the AC power consumption of each laptop using a WattsUp Pro power meter.

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