I am using Ubuntu 12.04 with an Ivy Bridge processor and am thinking of updating the Intel drivers from the ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/intel-graphics-updates PPA.

Do I also need to update the kernel in order to get the new features listed on http://intellinuxgraphics.org/2012.07.html (as being kernel related)?

  • I just can take an educated guess, but I'd say you need a new kernel if you want to use kernel related features. Anyway the new driver should work. Otherwise the guys from x-swat would not have packaged it for precise. Nov 5, 2012 at 21:25

3 Answers 3


If you are looking for SNA, there's an article at Webupd8 explaining how to enable it in 12.04, and it don't requires kernel upgrades, just the PPA you already refered.

If you are looking for RC6 support, this suggests it is already supported in 3.2 kernel (if i'm not wrong it is not enabled by default: Ubuntu Wiki).

  • I am specifically interested in performance improvements in 3D acceleration. Unity and 2D stuff works great with the standard drivers, also no overheating problems at all.
    – kicsyromy
    Nov 6, 2012 at 9:37
  • It seems SNA improves the graphics performance (check out Phoronix link in the Webupd8 article), but it must be manually activated. You can try by yourself if any of those techniques gives you best performance.
    – Salem
    Nov 6, 2012 at 16:28
  • I marked you answer as being correct as it gave me the most info. I'm going to hold back from upgrading the kernel for now and stick to only using the PPA. My system is very fast and stable; don't fix it if it ain't broke :). I will also award the bounty to you once I'm allowed, it says I need to wait two hours.
    – kicsyromy
    Nov 6, 2012 at 16:46
  • you should wait to give the bounty, someone can give you a more detailed answer in the meantime. Also note that you can safely try those improvements (SNA and RC6). I can't assure you they will work with a 3.2 kernel, but they seem to.
    – Salem
    Nov 6, 2012 at 17:50

I'd avoid using PPAs as I find them to be messy. Check http://www.linux-drivers.org/ to see if your processor and integrated graphics are supported in the 12.04 kernel. If not, you could check the 12.10 kernel and see if the drivers are in that kernel, which I believe they are.

  • PPAs can be messy, but the x-swat ppa has a very good reputation and works fine for a lot of people I know. Still the best way to get bleeding edge XServer and drivers. Nov 5, 2012 at 21:21
  • The hardware itself is supported just fine, but the Intel drivers have gotten some performance improvements since Ubuntu 12.04 was released which could help in running games (thinking of L4D2 when Steam finally comes) a lot better.
    – kicsyromy
    Nov 6, 2012 at 9:36
  • Where is that detail found on linux-drivers.org website?
    – david6
    Jun 1, 2013 at 12:00

2 cents: I don't think you have to upgrade the kernel to work with the new intel graphics drivers, otherwise the PPA won't work for precise (3.2.0-xx-generic). The ppa packages will compile kernel modules (all others that is needed) for the running kernel if necessary.

BTW: in case you don't know Ubuntu has a mainline kernel PPA (if you don't want to compile bleeding edge kernel from source) http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/

  • AFAIK for the Intel driver kernel modules do not need to be compile, all the kernel stuff is already built-in to the kernel itself. The proprietary drivers need to build kernel modules since they are closed-source and need to interface with the kernel somehow.
    – kicsyromy
    Nov 6, 2012 at 9:32
  • I thought of using the mainline kernel but it seems like I have to manually update it every time a new release comes out, also it lacks any Ubuntu specific patches that might help more or less, not really sure about that.
    – kicsyromy
    Nov 6, 2012 at 9:33

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