Intel Iris Plus Ice Lake Graphics Run Great With Mesa 19.3's Gallium3D Driver
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 20 November 2019 at 04:08 AM EST. 8 Comments
The Intel "Gen11" Iris Plus Graphics on Ice Lake are a big upgrade over earlier Intel graphics generations but the gains are even more enticing if making use of their new Gallium3D OpenGL Linux driver.

While Mesa 19.3 was the original target for switching to the Intel Gallium3D driver by default for Broadwell and newer, they shifted that goal to Mesa 20.0 to allow more time for testing and ensuring a bug-free experience as users transition from the classic "i965" driver over to "Iris" Gallium3D. But even so if running with Mesa 19.3 today it means better performance for Ice Lake as well as Gen8 and Gen9 hardware too.

A few weeks back I wrapped up some fresh Intel OpenGL tests between i965 and Gallium3D with the Iris Plus Graphics on the Core i7 1065G7 with the Dell XPS 7390. Here are those results.

Switching to the Intel Gallium3D driver on Mesa 19.3 yielded performance improvements from a few percent in games like Serious Sam Fusion and CS:GO to nearly 20% for Dota 2 and BioShock. By the time Mesa 20.0 rolls out in late February, the gains for the Gallium3D driver will likely be even better.

For those wanting to make the move now to the Intel Gallium3D driver for Gen8 graphics or newer, it can be easily done so via the MESA_LOADER_DRIVER_OVERRIDE=iris environment variable (assuming your Mesa build included Iris). See all of today's data via this result file.

With Mesa 19.3 on Ice Lake across the OpenGL games tested, switching to Gallium3D meant about a 8% boost to the frame-rates. More tests come Mesa 20.0 next year.
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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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