Intel SNA Architecture Is Constantly Evolving
Intel's experimental "Sandy Bridge New Acceleration" (SNA) acceleration architecture is a constant work-in-progress that even in the past two weeks over the holidays has received more than 100 changes. How though is this new 2D acceleration architecture fairing these days rather than the stock UXA configuration? In this article are our first Intel SNA benchmarks of 2012 when enabling this architecture.
For those that have not heard of SNA before, you must be living under a rock as it has been covered before on Phoronix several times. The key articles to catch-up would be Intel Just Released A Crazy Fast Acceleration Architecture and Intel's New Acceleration Architecture Is Quick To Advance. This 2D acceleration architecture with multiple back-ends for Intel's various generations of hardware (contrary to the name it's not limited to "Gen6" Sandy Bridge) has also been benchmarked several times on Phoronix since its premiere in June of last year. The last Intel SNA benchmarks from Sandy Bridge hardware as at the end of November, but since then there have been hundreds of SNA-related commits to the xf86-video-intel DDX driver where this acceleration support resides.
This article is just like the earlier SNA tests and is comparing the default UXA performance to the same Git revision when the driver was rebuilt with the "--enable-sna" switch to enable this Sandy Bridge New Acceleration back-end for the Core i5 mobile laptop. The final Linux 3.2 kernel was used while Mesa and xf86-video-intel were both fetched from Git on the evening of 5 January. At the time of writing, not even 12 hours have passed since this testing process, but already there's a few more SNA-related commits in the mainline xf86-video-intel Git tree this morning. Chris Wilson of Intel is crazy with a constant stream of SNA commits (see the Git log).
Testing was from the HP EliteBook that is common to many Phoronix tests (thanks Intel!) with the Intel Core i5 2520M "Sandy Bridge" processor. Ubuntu 11.10 x86_64 was the operating system in use, albeit with an updated graphics stack. Testing was facilitated by the Phoronix Test Suite and managed on OpenBenchmarking.org.