The Rough Story Of Intel Sandy Bridge Graphics For Mac OS X
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 25 July 2011. Page 3 of 5. 46 Comments

With the Sandy Bridge graphics results for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and Windows 7 complete, the final planned tests were of Ubuntu 11.04 with the very latest Linux kernel / Mesa / xf86-video-intel from Git. Unfortunately, those plans were badly thwarted. While Windows 7 had installed just fine on this new Mac Mini, modern Linux distributions work with Intel Sandy Bridge hardware, and Linux generally installs fine to the other Apple Mac computers that have been tested, here it was a horrible failure.

The first time using the Ubuntu 11.04 x86_64 desktop installer the system had booted in the live environment and worked. However, partway through the Ubiquity installation there was a constant stream of SquashFS errors. Next it was decided to try using the Ubuntu 11.04 x86_64 alternate installer using an external USB-based DVD-RW drive. That time the text-based Debian installer was working and went through installing the base system, but then there was an install failure.

After those Ubuntu installation failures, the system will no longer boot into any operating system -- not even into Mac OS X Lion or the 10.7 installation media -- and just result in a green and black corrupted screen. This though is not related to the Sandy Bridge graphics itself, so this huge debacle will be saved for another article dedicated to that problem. Unfortunately, there is a time crunch on getting this solved -- if possible -- due to the unexpected trip to Norway. Clearing the PRAM and other basic possible fixes were to no avail. For now I would not advise installing Linux or Ubuntu 11.04 to the just-released Mac hardware, at least until there is some further information on the matter as it could be dangerous.

Hopefully this Mac Mini will be fixed and the Linux SNB graphics results then delivered, but chances are that will not happen until after Norway and the Berlin Desktop Summit the following week. For now is just the Windows and Mac OS X results for this Intel Core i5 2.3GHz Mac Mini with 2GB of RAM, 500GB Hitachi SATA HDD, and Intel HD 3000 graphics. The test profiles published at this time are for OpenArena, Urban Terror, and Warsow since their OpenGL clients are similar between the Windows and Mac OS X (and Linux) builds. The results were uploaded by the Phoronix Test Suite to OpenBenchmarking.org.


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