FreeBSD 8.1 is slated to be released this month as the first significant update to FreeBSD since the rollout of the 8.0 release last November. With the second release candidate of FreeBSD 8.1 having just been made available a few days back, we have conducted a set of tests comparing the performance of FreeBSD 8.1 RC2 versus FreeBSD 8.0 and an Ubuntu 10.10 development snapshot.
Stock installations of all operating systems were done with FreeBSD 8.0 carrying the 8.0-RELEASE x86_64 kernel, GCC 4.2.1, and the default UFS file-system. FreeBSD 8.1 RC2 was with the 8.1-RC2 x86_64 kernel, GCC 4.3.4, and an UFS file-system. The 2010-07-04 development snapshot of Ubuntu Server 10.10 had the Linux 2.6.35-6-generic x86_64 kernel, GCC 4.4.4, and an EXT4 file-system. Tests carried out by the Phoronix Test Suite included LAME MP3 encoding, 7-Zip compression, Gzip compression, LZMA compression, POV-Ray, C-Ray, John The Ripper, dcraw, MAFFT, GraphicsMagick, Himeno, and the Threaded I/O Tester.
The test system was a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 notebook with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 "Penryn" dual-core processor clocked at 2.50GHz, 4GB of system memory, a 100GB Hitachi HTS72201 SATA HDD, and NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M graphics.
Beginning with the LAME MP3 encoding test, Ubuntu 10.10 came out faster than both FreeBSD 8.0 and FreeBSD 8.1 Release Candidate 2. Between the two FreeBSD releases there was not a significant difference in the system performance.
FreeBSD 8.1 RC2 was the fastest with the 7-Zip compression test with it pulling out ahead of Ubuntu 10.10 by about 4%.