Trying Various OpenGL 4.x Games On Linux With An Intel Skylake Core i5
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 22 June 2016 at 08:34 AM EDT. 43 Comments
With the imminent Mesa 12.0 release there is now OpenGL 4.3 compliance for Intel Broadwell graphics hardware and newer, rather than OpenGL 3.3 as was the upper limit in the Intel Mesa driver to this point. Now having OpenGL 4.x support with this open-source Intel driver, I decided to see how various OpenGL 4.x games are running with the Intel driver when using a Skylake CPU sporting HD Graphics 530.

For these quick tests I was running Ubuntu 16.04 but switching to Mesa 12.1-dev Git this week via the Padoka PPA. I also switched to running the Linux 4.7 Git kernel.

All tests were done with the Core i5 6600K system.

Dota 2 - First up, about the Vulkan testing... A few days ago I wrote how trying the Intel Vulkan driver with Dota 2 failed. Some readers commented that if disabling the Steam overlay the game should work. I tried that on this system after a fresh re-install and even if disabling the Steam overlay on Mesa Git, Dota 2 with the Vulkan renderer was still crashing right away.

F1 2015 - F1 2015 is one of the newest Linux racing games ported over to OpenGL/Linux. While RadeonSI Gallium3D worked fine with F1 2015 in my recent testing, even when trying the Formula One racing game with the lowest image quality settings the game was crashing even before the race began!

Shadow of Mordor - The game did fire up and render correctly with the "lowest" image quality settings! However, with current generation (non-Iris) Skylake graphics, the experience isn't really playable even with utterly low resolution by today's standards:

Metro Redux - Metro Last Light Redux and Metro 2033 Redux can run with Mesa 12.0/Git, but even there these GL4 games are too slow at 1080p for the Core i5 6600K.

BioShock Infinite - BioShock Infinite now runs out-of-the-box with the Intel Mesa driver. It's been possible on other recent releases, but not without environment variable hacks.

DiRT Showdown - DiRT Showdown can also run, but not with any compelling speeds.

Tomb Raider - Tomb Raider can run with low image quality settings on Intel Skylake graphics hardware with Mesa, but not with any decent frame-rates.

Hopefully Kabylake is able to improve the graphics performance some more and that in the months ahead we'll see more Intel Mesa performance optimizations now that by September they should reach OpenGL 4.5 compliance.

Similar to the recent Windows 10 vs. Linux Radeon benchmarks and Windows 10 vs. Linux NVIDIA Pascal tests, in the next few days I'll be doing a Windows vs. Linux comparison too for the Linux driver on Skylake.
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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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