Intel's Iris Gallium3D Driver Continuing To See Performance Optimizations On Mesa 20.0
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 12 December 2019 at 06:14 AM EST. 10 Comments
With the current Mesa 19.3 there is the Intel Gallium3D driver generally performing much better than their "classic" i965 driver and for Mesa 20.0 it looks to only make more ground as it switches over to this driver by default.

Beyond the recent build system changes for supporting an Intel Gallium3D default and building it as part of the default x86/x86_64 Gallium3D drivers with hopes of soon flipping the switch for Broadwell and newer, more performance optimizations are still being done.

This week was a Gen11 Color/Z write merging optimization for the Gallium3D driver plus their ANV Vulkan driver too for Ice Lake. These L3 cache write merging optimizations had the ability to help Ice Lake performance by about 6% for the Manhattan GL demo when the hardware was frequency locked.

A broader driver optimization landed as well not limited to Ice Lake but creating smaller program keys without legacy features. In that case for some Piglit draw overhead micro-benchmarks saw a massive 30% improvement. Granted, a micro-benchmark case.

Also this week the Intel Gallium3D driver saw Intel performance query API support for that OpenGL extension used for debugging/profiling.

Overall, Intel's Gallium3D driver is becoming only even more compelling and should certainly be an exciting 2020 with it for Linux desktop users.
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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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