Mac OS X 10.6.3 vs. Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 10.04 Benchmarks
While still based upon the ioquake3 engine, the Urban Terror test has proven to be slightly more demanding than OpenArena, but still the story was much the same in regards to how the three operating systems and two systems had shaken out. On the Mac Mini with NVIDIA graphics, Windows 7 was significantly faster than both Ubuntu 10.04 and Mac OS X 10.6.3. At its peak, Windows 7 was 68% faster than Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and at that point, it was 3.7x faster than Mac OS X 10.6.3.
However, unlike OpenArena, with Urban Terror, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS was generally faster than Mac OS X 10.6.3 -- even with Intel graphics. Unfortunately, however, that may be due to some of the OpenGL changes (regressions) within the newest Mac OS X 10.6.3 update.
With Nexuiz, Microsoft Windows 7 continues to be the fastest operating system with the Mac Mini boasting NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics and the 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. However, between Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and Windows 7 Professional there was not a very significant difference, similar to our close numbers from the six systems we benchmarked last week. Windows 7 was usually just a couple percentage points faster than Ubuntu 10.04 with Nexuiz. The performance of the NVIDIA graphics in Nexuiz was meanwhile devastating for Apple. In fact, at some resolutions, the frame-rate on the newer Mac Mini was actually worse for Mac OS X than on the older Mac Mini with Intel graphics. Nexuiz is one of the areas that have regressed for NVIDIA with the Mac OS X 10.6.3 update.
There was also the usual trend of the Intel Mac OS X driver performance trouncing that of the Intel Linux graphics driver stack. Apple's Intel OpenGL driver is much faster than the Linux Mesa stack and Mac OS X leverages LLVM (the Low-Level Virtual Machine) for shader optimization and other routines as talked about in other Phoronix articles. On average, the Mac Mini with Intel GMA 950 graphics was 2.7x faster when running Mac OS X 10.6.3 than Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.