Mesa Improvements Boost Intel Graphics Performance up to 20 Percent

(Image credit: Dragon Renderer / Shutterstock)

Earlier today Linux users with AMD hardware learned that an update will address long-standing audio input problems. Phoronix said Linux users with Intel CPUs can rejoice, too, because of a Mesa 3D Graphics Library update that can improve graphics performance on the Gen9 platform by up to 22%.

Many people won't notice such drastic performance improvements. Francisco Jerez, a member of the Linux graphics team at Intel, said in the update's notes that various benchmarks reported performance gains between 3% and 22%. People who only experience the lower end of that spectrum might not even notice the change; those with double-digit improvements are probably going to realize it. Most will probably end up somewhere in the middle.

Those are still noteworthy improvements, though, and the update is even more remarkable because of its breadth. Jerez said the update will improve performance on all Gen9 graphics products--which "includes anything with Skylake, Broxton, Kabylake, Geminilake, Coffeelake, Whiskey Lake, Comet Lake or Amber Lake in your renderer string." That should cover many of the Intel processors that people have purchased in recent years.

Here's what Jerez said about the problem:

"The default pixel hashing mode settings used for slice and subslice load balancing are far from optimal under certain conditions[.] The top-of-the-line GT4 parts suffer from a particularly severe performance problem currently due to a subslice load balancing issue. [...] Lower-end platforms are also affected by some subslice load imbalance to a lesser degree, especially during CCS resolve and fast clear operations, which are handled specially here due to rasterization ocurring [sic] in reduced CCS coordinates, which changes the semantics of the pixel hashing mode settings."

Jerez said that similar issues could affect non-Gen9 platforms, too, "especially for CCS resolve and fast clear operations." He plans to release similar fixes affecting those platforms when he has "enough performance data to justify it." Linux users whose processors feature Gen9 graphics will be able to experience the performance gains for themselves when Mesa 19.2 debuts, which Phoronix said will be some time in early September.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.