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Intel Core i7 4770K "Haswell" Benchmarks On Ubuntu Linux

Michael Larabel

Published on 4 June 2013
Written by Michael Larabel
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This past weekend I shared the first experiences of running Intel's new Haswell CPU on Linux. While Intel Haswell is a beast and brings many new features and innovations to the new Core CPUs succeeding Ivy Bridge, there were a few shortcomings with the initial Linux support. It still appears that the Core i7 4770K is still being finicky at times for both the processor and graphics, but in this article are the first benchmarks. Up today are benchmarks of the Intel Core i7 4770K when running Ubuntu 13.04 with the Linux 3.10 kernel.

I went over the initial Intel Haswell Linux details on Saturday. The initial support is there and overall it's in fairly good standing and roughly comparable to where things were at in 2012 when Ivy Bridge launched. However, as far as where the support is at in currently released Linux distributions, there's a lot better support to find out of the very latest upstream code. With the widely used Ubuntu 13.04, Haswell processors will work, but better support, features, and performance can be found with code not currently available through the standard repositories. This state is comparable to that of other Linux distributions released so far this year. Polished Haswell support coming to an "out of the box" Linux desktop won't really be there until later in H2'2013.

In terms of what versions are best for Haswell, some key packages include the Linux 3.10 kernel, Mesa 9.2 (what may be released as Mesa 10.0), GCC 4.8.1, and LLVM 3.3. The latest kernel will yield not only faster performance if relying upon Haswell graphics, but it offers all of the latest bug-fixes, the best power-savings currently available to this latest Intel hardware, and has been running well from my tests in the past few weeks. The Linux 3.11 kernel will also offer additional improvements.

Anyhow, for seeing how the Intel Core i7 4770K "Haswell" processor currently performs under Linux, in this article is a selection of CPU benchmarks against older Intel Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge CPUs along with AMD CPU/APUs. The Intel hardware being benchmarked were the Core i3 2120, i5 2400S, i5 2500K, i5 3470, and i7 3770K. The AMD CPUs tested were an AMD A10-5800K APU and an AMD VX-8350 Vishera CPU.

The motherboard used for the Intel Haswell testing was the DH87RL micro-ATX motherboard. Intel hadn't sent out their enthusiast motherboard for Haswell that they sent to other review sites, so I ended up having to buy their Haswell Round Lake H87 motherboard, which isn't too overclocking friendly. As a result, no Haswell overclocking results under Linux are being shared in this article. For all the Sandy/Ivy Bridge CPU testing, the same Z77H2-A2X motherboard was used. All other system components (16GB DDR3, 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSD, SilverStone PSU, etc) was used for testing all of the Intel/AMD processors. The only other exception was having to install a discrete graphics card for the AMD FX-8350 testing, but no graphics tests are being shared in this article but will be published later today or tomorrow to look at the Haswell Linux OpenGL performance.

The software stack remained the same during testing and was Ubuntu 13.04 x86_64 with the Linux 3.10 Git kernel, Unity 7.0.0, Mesa 9.2 Git, GCC 4.8.1, and LLVM 3.2. All processor benchmarking was handled in a fully automated and reproducible manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite software. Later on in this article are also performance-per-Watt results calculated via real-time monitoring with the Phoronix Test Suite.

The processor benchmarks being shown in this article are to provide a glimpse at the current look of Haswell on Linux. In terms of the likely performance issues found, those matters are actively being investigated so stay tuned for any future findings and more thorough Haswell Linux coverage once uncovering the problem(s).

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