Intel's Clear Linux Shows Much Potential For Optimized Graphics Performance
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 15 April 2016. Page 2 of 2. 27 Comments

Unigine Valley is much too demanding for the Xeon E3-1235L v5 even at 1280 x 1024... But here's where the results get interesting:

What!?!?! This is the out-of-the-box performance of Xubuntu 16.04 on the same system compared to Clear Linux 7410. Clear Linux isn't using DRI3 by default or any setting to immediately explain such a huge boost in frame-rate. Clear Linux though is using the CPUfreq scaling driver rather than P-State and has made various optimizations to their Mesa build.

I've inquired to the Clear Linux developers about what optimizations they did that allow the graphics to be so much faster, but haven't yet been told a definitive answer. It's likely some combination of aggressive compiler flags / PGO / AutoFDO / LTO.

When I have more details, I'll certainly pass it along. These Xonotic results make me very excited to re-test Clear Linux graphics on another desktop Skylake system to see how the performance is with some of our SDL test-cases.

With GpuTest, there didn't end up being much difference in performance. It could be that -- similar to Unigine Valley -- the tests are just too demanding in these cases on the Intel HD Graphics that any system optimizations aren't able to help.

Stay tuned for more graphics tests on Clear Linux, but so far I'm very surprised by the Xonotic results and can't wait to run some more tests on other systems. Clear Linux doesn't yet have Intel OpenCL (Beignet) properly integrated yet, but I also can't wait to see what kind of performance they will be able to squeeze on that front. If you want to give Clear Linux a try this weekend on your Intel hardware, visit

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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