A 13 Line Patch That Boosts Intel Sandy Bridge Performance

“After some initial Linux troubles, last month we finally got
Intel Sandy Bridge graphics working under Linux. The latest Intel
CPUs (such as the Core i5 2500K) with integrated graphics are
blazingly fast, and the classic Intel Mesa driver was fast compared
to other open-source Mesa / Gallium3D drivers, but it still was a
ways behind the low-end discrete graphics cards with the
proprietary AMD / NVIDIA drivers for Linux. It was also shown that
the Intel Linux Mesa driver is much slower than the Intel Windows
driver for Sandy Bridge, as we had also found was the case for
previous generations of Intel graphics. Committed to the Mesa
mainline Git repository this week though was a very important Sandy
Bridge change. While the commit only touched 13 lines of code (11
lines of new code, 2 lines of changed code), it has dramatically
improved the Sandy Bridge Linux performance as our results show in
this article.

“It is this Git commit from the 1st of March by Intel’s Zou Nan
hai that we are talking about. For Sandy Bridge / “Gen 6” Intel
hardware, it bumps the VS thread count to 60. It is a relatively
straightforward and simple patch, but how it affects the OpenGL
performance is dramatic.

“In this article are the original Phoronix test results for the
Intel Core i5 2500K “Sandy Bridge” from early February using the
Intel Bearup Lake motherboard (the show-stopping problem with the
ASUS motherboard remains unresolved) plus the already-published
Windows 7 Professional x64 Service Pack 1 results.”

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