With it being a while since we last compared many Linux distributions when it comes to their measurable desktop performance, we decided to run a new round of tests atop four of the most popular Linux distributions: OpenSuSE, Ubuntu, Fedora, and Mandriva. To see where these Linux distributions are at, we used their latest development releases and then performed all package updates as of 2009-07-15. Following that, we ran an arsenal of tests using the Phoronix Test Suite. Here are the results.
We used our standard Intel Core 2 Duo test setup for this four-way distribution testing, which is running an Intel Core 2 Duo clocked at 4.00GHz, an ASUS P5E64 WS professional motherboard (Intel X48 + ICH9R), 2GB of DDR3 memory, 160GB Western Digital WD1600JS-00M Serial ATA 2.0 hard drive, and an ATI Radeon X1800 256MB graphics card. For this testing we installed OpenSuSE 11.2 Milestone 3, Ubuntu 9.10 2009-07-15, Fedora Rawhide, and Mandriva Linux 2010 Alpha 1. The x86_64 build of each distribution was used. We then performed all development package updates as of 2009-07-15. For OpenSuSE some of the key packages included the Linux 2.6.30 kernel, GNOME 2.26.2, X Server 1.6.1, xf86-video-radeon 6.12.2, Mesa 7.4.4, GCC 4.4, and used an EXT4 file-system.
With the Ubuntu packages there was the Linux 2.6.31 kernel, GNOME 2.27.3, X Server 1.6.2 RC1, xf86-video-radeon 6.12.99, Mesa 7.5-rc4, GCC 4.4.0, and used an EXT4 file-system. Running on Fedora Rawhide was the Linux 2.6.31 kernel, GNOME 2.27.3, X Server 188.8.131.52, xf86-video-radeon 6.12.2, Mesa 7.6-devel, GCC 4.4.0, and an EXT4 file-system. Lastly, with Mandriva there was the Linux 2.6.30 kernel, GNOME 2.27.4, X Server 1.6.2, xf86-video-radeon 6.12.2, GCC 4.4.0, and an EXT3 file-system. All four distributions were left with their stock settings to represent an "out of the box" experience across all of them.
Under the Phoronix Test Suite we ran the following test profiles: Parallel BZIP2 Compression, Apache Benchmark, GnuPG, C-Ray, timed MAFFT alignment, timed HMMer Search, PostMark, Dbench, GraphicsMagick, Sudokut, dcraw, PostgreSQL pgbench, Urban Terror, and World of Padman. On the following pages are the results. Some graphs may have results for only three of the four distributions due to dependency problems or other package conflicts.