Linux 3.2 To 3.8 Kernels With Intel Ivy Bridge Graphics
Phoronix: Linux 3.2 To 3.8 Kernels With Intel Ivy Bridge Graphics
With the Intel Haswell product launch coming up soon, here's a look at how the Intel "Ivy Bridge" HD 4000 graphics support has matured on the seven most recent Linux kernel releases. This benchmarking shows how the performance of the Intel DRM driver has changed between the Linux 3.2 kernel and the Linux 3.8 kernel that's presently under development when using the integrated graphics found on the latest-generation Core i7 CPU.
I expect you'll see more difference with the Mesa benchmarks. The kernel code mostly exposes capabilities that userspace code can exercise.
On the other hand, the whole exercise is complicated a bit by the simultaneous advances in GL levels... it's not unusual for game code to take advantage of new GL features so you end up getting more work done by the graphics stack and a slicker looking result, but the performance stays constant or even slows down a bit.
If you really want to isolate performance from functionality I don't think there is any general alternative to intercepting and fudging the capabilities exposed by driver to application, so that the game is forced to run the same code paths even if a later driver enables more GL extensions and hence more complex rendering code in the application. IIRC a few games have the ability to force specific rendering paths even if the driver stack allows better ones, but not real sure about that.