Benchmark Results: Gaming
There is a major difference in performance between the older LTS release and Ubuntu 11.04. In the Sanctuary and Tropics tests, Natty Narwhal delivers more than two times the frame rate as Lucid Lynx.
The newer release also scores nearly twice the frames per second as the rock-solid LTS in Heaven, Unigine's latest benchmark. This could be due to (among other things) newer AMD graphics drivers available to Ubuntu 11.04.
Native Commercial 3D Gaming
As you may have noticed, we're removing Unreal Tournament 2004 from the Linux benchmarking suite. That title is now seven years old and not really a taxing game in terms of 3D hardware anymore. Doom 3 is about six years old, but we unfortunately don't have anything to replace it with. We still want to maintain an even ratio of actual games to synthetic benchmarks, though. Hopefully, by the time Natty Narwhal's successor (Oneiric Ocelot) arrives, Postal 3 and Oil Rush will be available, at which time we can finally retire Doom 3 and perhaps Prey as well.
Doom 3, the oldest game hanging onto our native commercial gaming benchmark suite, gives the lead to the newest version of Ubuntu by around five frames per second. The results of Prey reverse that, with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS holding on to nearly ten more frames per second than the newest release. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, the newest game in our suite, gives Ubuntu 11.04 a whopping 40 FPS lead over 10.04.
When taking the Unigine and gaming benchmarks into account, with the exception of Prey, Ubuntu 11.04 is a must-have upgrade for Linux-oriented gamers.