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FreeBSD 8.0 Benchmarked Against Linux, OpenSolaris

Michael Larabel

Published on 30 November 2009
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 10 - 30 Comments

With the stable release of FreeBSD 8.0 arriving last week we finally were able to put it up on the test bench and give it a thorough look over with the Phoronix Test Suite. We compared the FreeBSD 8.0 performance between it and the earlier FreeBSD 7.2 release along with Fedora 12 and Ubuntu 9.10 on the Linux side and then the OpenSolaris 2010.02 b127 snapshot on the Sun OS side.

FreeBSD 8.0 introduced support for a TTY layer rewrite, network stack virtualization, improved support for the Sun ZFS file-system, the ULE kernel scheduler by default, a new USB stack, binary compatibility against Fedora 10, and improvements to its 64-bit kernel will allow a NVIDIA 64-bit FreeBSD driver by year's end, among a plethora of other changes. With today's benchmarking -- compared to our initial Ubuntu 9.10 vs. FreeBSD 8.0 benchmarks from September -- we are using the official build of FreeBSD 8.0 without any debugging options and we are also delivering a greater number of test results in this article, along with a greater number of operating systems being compared.

The hardware we are using for benchmarking this time was a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 notebook with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 processor, 2GB of system memory, a 100GB Hitachi HTS72201 7200RPM SATA HDD, and a NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M graphics processor powering a 1680 x 1050 LVDS panel.

Summarizing some of the key packages found in each operating system, FreeBSD 8.0 was running with the 8.0-RELEASE kernel, GNOME 2.26.3 desktop, X Server 1.6.1, GCC 4.2.1, and the default UFS file-system. FreeBSD 7.2 was released earlier this year with the 7.2-RELEASE kernel, GNOME 2.26.0, X Server 1.6.0, GCC 4.2.1, and the UFS file-system. Ubuntu 9.10 was running with the Linux 2.6.31 kernel, GNOME 2.28.1, X Server 1.6.4, GCC 4.4.1, and the EXT4 file-system. Fedora 12 runs with the Linux 2.6.31 kernel too on the desktop side is GNOME 2.28.1, X Server 1.7.1, and uses GCC 4.4.2 as its compiler. EXT4 also is the default file-system in Fedora. Build 127 of OpenSolaris 2010.02 uses the 5.11 kernel, GNOME 2.28.0, X Server 1.6.5, GCC 4.3.2, and the famed ZFS file-system. The 32-bit versions of all operating systems were used, due to no NVIDIA FreeBSD 64-bit driver being yet available for testing, but one should be available by the end of this year.

All operating systems were left with their default options during the installation process and left with the default set of packages for each operating system except for the obvious need to install some dependencies for the different tests. This is done to maintain a nearly "out of the box" experience that a majority of users will experience when trying out any of the operating systems. We had maintained the same proprietary graphics driver, the NVIDIA 190.42 display driver, to be used across all tested operating systems. The tests we ran through the Phoronix Test Suite on the Linux, OpenSolaris, and FreeBSD installations were 1080p H.264 video playback, LAME MP3 encoding, Ogg encoding, 7-Zip compression, Gzip compression, LZMA compression, POV-Ray, C-Ray, dcraw, timed MAFFT alignment, GraphicsMagick, BYTE Unix Benchmark, Threaded I/O Tester, OpenSSL, PostMark, Himeno Benchmark, and John The Ripper. We also looked at some thermal and power consumption results too using the Phoronix Test Suite, which are shared later in this article. The 2.4 Lenvik development version of the Phoronix Test Suite was used.

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