Old MBP linux performance

I just inherited a second gen MBP with the Radeon X1600 gpu. Its my first mac, and I’m really excited to be able to use Final Cut and other mac only programs. This is an upgrade from my last laptop, a Thinkpad T60 with an intel 950 or something IGP, and amazingly enough, the x1600 can do GLSL shaders, albeit slowly.

I’ve been using linux as my primary OS for around 5 years and while I like Mac OS, Xcode really takes some getting used to. Actually, I really can’t stand Xcode compared to codeblocks.

Anyway I ended up installing Ubuntu 11.10 on this thing and I found that the GLSL performance was much much better. Using my ofxVolumetrics example as a benchmark, I get easily twice as much performance out of this very taxing fragment shader under linux. Even more impressive is that since this GPU is so old, the X1600 is not supported by the binary ati driver, fglrx, so linux is using the open source radeon driver.

So, for those of you who have an older MBP and are looking to squeeze some extra life out of that old X1600 gpu, I would recommend using linux with oF.

Cheers, I hope this is helpful to someone else.