Can Ubuntu 9.10 Outperform Mac OS X 10.6?
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 31 August 2009. Page 2 of 10. 79 Comments

The frame-rate performance between Ubuntu 9.04 and 9.10 was quite close, which is to be expected considering the same NVIDIA 190.25 graphics driver was use under both releases. Ubuntu's gaming performance with the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M was quite far ahead of where Mac OS X 10.6 was running, but as we mentioned in our earlier Snow Leopard benchmarking article, there are some serious OpenGL performance regressions in this initial 10.6 release. By the time the first point release or two rolls around, these frame-rates should be more comparable.

Ubuntu 9.04/9.10 outperformed Mac OS X 10.6 when running the Urban Terror test too, thanks to Apple's OpenGL performance regressions. Worth noting, however, is that had we been using an Apple computer with Intel integrated graphics, these numbers would have wound up being different and in Apple's favor. The Intel Linux graphics stack for providing 3D acceleration is not yet nearly as advanced or performance optimized as what is available with Mac OS X, as our earlier tests have shown.

OpenArena also uses the ioquake3 engine but is not nearly as demanding on the graphics card as Urban Terror. Even with the performance regressions facing Snow Leopard's OpenGL stack, the Apple operating system managed to outperform Ubuntu Linux when running at 1024 x 768, 1280 x 960, and 1280 x 1024 resolutions. When running at 1920 x 1080, the frame-rate was the same between Ubuntu and Mac OS X.

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