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I got two systems which are almost identical but with slightly different graphic cards:

System A

product: N10 Family Integrated Graphics Controller
vendor: Intel Corporation
driver: i915

System B

product: Atom Processor D2xxx/N2xxx Integrated Graphics Controller
vendor: Intel Corporation
driver: gma500

I know that both are not known to give the best performance, but System B is very slow. Here are the main differences:

Results of glmark2:

System A: (score 55)

GL_VENDOR:     Intel Open Source Technology Center
GL_RENDERER:   Mesa DRI Intel(R) IGD x86/MMX/SSE2
GL_VERSION:    1.4 Mesa 9.0.3

System B: (score 24)

GL_VENDOR:     VMware, Inc.
GL_RENDERER:   Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 0x301)
GL_VERSION:    2.1 Mesa 9.0.3

Results of glxinfo | grep render:

System A:

direct rendering: Yes
OpenGL renderer string: Mesa DRI Intel(R) IGD x86/MMX/SSE2

System B:

direct rendering: Yes
OpenGL renderer string: Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 0x301)

Results of grep -i chipset /var/log/Xorg.0.log:

System A:

[    21.507] (II) intel: Driver for Intel Integrated Graphics Chipsets: i810,
[    21.510] (II) VESA: driver for VESA chipsets: vesa
[    21.521] (--) intel(0): Integrated Graphics Chipset: Intel(R) Pineview G

System B:

[    16.728] (II) VESA: driver for VESA chipsets: vesa

Results of egrep "(GLX|DRI)" /var/log/Xorg.0.log:

System A:

[    21.319] Initializing built-in extension XFree86-DRI
[    21.319] Initializing built-in extension DRI2
[    21.418] (==) AIGLX enabled
[    21.419] Loading extension GLX
[    22.114] (II) intel(0): [DRI2] Setup complete
[    22.114] (II) intel(0): [DRI2]   DRI driver: i915
[    22.140] (II) intel(0): direct rendering: DRI2 Enabled
[    22.417] (II) AIGLX: enabled GLX_MESA_copy_sub_buffer
[    22.417] (II) AIGLX: enabled GLX_INTEL_swap_event
[    22.417] (II) AIGLX: enabled GLX_ARB_create_context
[    22.417] (II) AIGLX: enabled GLX_ARB_create_context_profile
[    22.417] (II) AIGLX: enabled GLX_EXT_create_context_es2_profile
[    22.417] (II) AIGLX: enabled GLX_SGI_swap_control and GLX_MESA_swap_control
[    22.417] (II) AIGLX: GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap backed by buffer objects
[    22.417] (II) AIGLX: Loaded and initialized i915
[    22.417] (II) GLX: Initialized DRI2 GL provider for screen 0

System B:

[    16.696] Initializing built-in extension XFree86-DRI
[    16.696] Initializing built-in extension DRI2
[    16.725] (==) AIGLX enabled
[    16.725] Loading extension GLX
[    18.120] (II) AIGLX: Screen 0 is not DRI2 capable
[    18.120] (II) AIGLX: Screen 0 is not DRI capable
[    18.144] (II) AIGLX: Loaded and initialized swrast
[    18.144] (II) GLX: Initialized DRISWRAST GL provider for screen 0

The last one is especially interesting since System B is obviously failing to initialize proper DRI support. All this tells me that there is something missing on B. I don't think that all these differences are simply caused by using two different graphics cards so I suspect that I need to install some other driver on B. Maybe the one which is used by System A (i915)?

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2  
Just a quick (unhelpful) note. It is an Atom processor... can't expect a whole lot out of it. The correct drivers for your card should already be enabled. But I'm really a bit confused as to your output above. GL_VENDOR is VMware? What? Is this a virtual machine? –  Githlar Aug 9 '13 at 11:36
    
Good catch. It is not a virtual machine. I edited the question to give some more detail and also a comparison to a similar system. –  christoph Aug 9 '13 at 13:16
1  
which desktop environment are you running these tests with? According to this you cannot get 3D graphics support that Unity requires. Can you benchmark using Lubuntu or Xubuntu? –  fossfreedom Aug 12 '13 at 21:10
    
in addition - can you confirm your kernel (uname -r) - you should be using the HWE stack for this netbook (wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/LTSEnablementStack) –  fossfreedom Aug 12 '13 at 21:24
    
It is the 3.5.0-37-generic kernel. The linux-generic and xserver-xorg packages are all lts-quantal. I can't do benchmarking with the other distros, as I'm not in the city right now (maybe not the best timing for a bounty :/ ). –  christoph Aug 13 '13 at 15:17

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted
+50

I spotted your issue almost immediately:

gma500

Following this wiki article about the gma500 module, is quite obvious the lack of Hardware Acceleration for the chip:

Unfortunately the support for this hardware is extremely limited on Linux. There are several drivers, but all lack certain basic features, such as future and current maintenance or support for suspend and hardware acceleration.

Which gets confirmed with the use of llvm, or more like software rasterizer:

OpenGL renderer string: Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 0x301)

And the newer gma500_glx don't support this functionalities too:

The gma500_gfx does not (yet) support 3d graphics and it is unclear if it will in the future.

You can see the details about the module with modinfo gma500. Although I think it should be called gma500_gfx in your system, which is quite weird (but not relevant). In any case, your driver also do not support mesa which is, in GNU/Linux, the mecca of Hardware Acceleration (ergo all glx tests). Hope this solves all your doubts.

Interesting to read:

Nothing actual, just pretty old non-hardware-acceleration troubleshooting problems.

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