Sunday, January 3, 2010

Wine, CXGames, and Windows 7 Performance Comparison

I blog more than a little about Wine software. In the past I have run benchmarks between the most current pieces of Wine technology out there and how they compare with each other. However one important question many gamers have when looking to game on Linux is not so much how do the different Wine technologies compare with each other so much as how do they perform compared with the program(s) running natively on Windows? Since I finally installed Windows 7 I figured I would take a look into just how well my favorite non-emulators stack up against the native platform for a few 3D applications.

The Tests: I ran both a synthetic benchmark (3D Mark 2001se) as well as some actual game applications (TF2, L4D, & L4D2). Each test was run several times under Wine/CXGames/Windows to ensure that the scores are as accurate as possible.

The Hardware: While my hardware is not fastest in the world it is (as of posting this) relatively new and decently quick. Processor - Intel p9700 2.8ghz Dual Core, RAM - 4gigs of DDR3, Video Card: nVidia 260m with 1gig DDR3 dedicated memory.

Operating Systems and Drivers: Ubuntu 9.10, running the nVidia 190.53 driver & Windows 7, running the nVidia 195.62 driver

The Wine Software: Wine version 1.1.35 (with extra fonts and the d3dx9 packages installed via Winetricks) and CXGames 8.1.4 - both of these are the latest versions as of my posting this.

The Results:
3D Mark 2001 SE
  • Resolution: 1680x1050
  • - Wine Scored: 18497
  • - CXGames Scored: 18538
  • - Windows 7 Scored: 31573
  • Resolution: 1024x768
  • - Wine Scored: 22141
  • - CXGames Scored: 23265
  • - Windows 7 Scored: 35508
Team Fortress 2
  • Resolution: 1680x1050
  • - Wine: 65.11 fps
  • - CXGames: 61.78 fps
  • - Windows 7: 87.13 fps
  • Resolution: 1024x768
  • - Wine: 81.82 fps
  • - CXGames: 70.68 fps
  • - Windows 7: 101.88 fps
Left 4 Dead
  • Resolution: 1680x1050
  • - Wine: 13.76 fps
  • - CXGames: 27.36 fps
  • - Windows 7: 63.48 fps
  • Resolution: 1024x768
  • - Wine: 19.93 fps
  • - CXGames: 35.38 fps
  • - Windows 7: 65.65 fps
Left 4 Dead 2
  • Resolution: 1680x1050
  • - Wine: n/a
  • - CXGames: 38.45 fps
  • - Windows 7: 72.04 fps
  • Resolution: 1024x768
  • - Wine: n/a
  • - CXGames: 56.46 fps
  • - Windows 7: 111.68 fps
Things Worth Noting: Obviously all the applications run faster natively under Windows than they do under Wine technology (I hope no one is surprised by this). Secondly I'd like to point out the FPS averages for Wine 1.1.35 and CXGames 8.1.4 have improved from older versions. Lastly I feel I should mention the n/a score Wine has on Left 4 Dead 2 - this is because try as I might no matter what hacks/cracks I throw at Wine I can still not get Left 4 Dead 2 to play for me under Wine.

Wrapping Up: Obviously if you are extremely worried about getting every last FPS out of your video games you should stick with Windows - however depending on your hardware and what games you are playing Linux may very well be capable of playing them at a satisfactory level (remember the human eye can only see 60 fps, so anything higher is overkill). Also remember that with almost every new release Wine continues to further advance it's performance so be sure to check back for new benchmarks/scores as new versions are released.

Happy New Year to everyone and keep on fragging!
~Jeff Hoogland
Please note while these benchmark scores presented are accurate to the best of my abilities, they only represent my personal hardware and software configurations. Your results on your own system(s) may vary (and if they do, please share them!).


  1. "remember the human eye can only see 60 fps"

    Patently false. Recommended reading:

  2. Good read, but honestly even if the human eye can see more than 60 fps (which is debatable it appears) the amount of difference it makes in tiny at best IMO

  3. Were the desktop effects on Ubuntu turned down? I get better FPS when i reduce the background noise.

  4. My desktop effects are always disabled when benchmarking just in case people suggest this. In practice though I find it earns me MAYBE 2~ish extra FPS having them off versus on

  5. How would this compare with wine 1.3, or even more blistering, 1.3-dev?

  6. "but honestly even if the human eye can see more than 60 fps (which is debatable it appears) the amount of difference it makes in tiny at best", maybe so, fanboy, but the difference between 13.76fps and 63.48fps, is more than readily noticeable. Why don't you fanboys get your heads out of your asses and just admit the obvious, Linux gaming is crap at the moment, and more significantly, Wine and other emulators are doing a very poor job at the moment. I don't know why its taking years to improve DirectX capability of Wine, I mean if you run an old test like 3DMark2001, its still shit on Wine compared to Windows. Ah well.. someday.. maybe....

  7. Oh you are forgeting the fact that l4d2 is now natively ported on linux!!
    And its running faster on linux then on windows.
    Google "steam linux blog" for more info.

    1. You should really look at the publish date on things. This post is two years old.