The FFmpeg results are not particularly interesting between the Linux 2.6.24 and 2.6.33 kernels, which can be interpreted as a good sign.
C-Ray was another area with little fluctuation when testing the kernels over the past two years.
With the Bullet Physics Engine the performance was marginally better after the Linux 2.6.24 kernel release and it has remained that way up through Linux 2.6.33.
NASA's CPU-intensive OpenMP-driven NAS Parallel Benchmark LU.A task had barely been impacted by the past ten Linux kernel releases.
The Linux 2.6.33 kernel overall is performing on-par with past releases, but there are a few areas of serious concern with regard to the PostMark and PostgreSQL performance at least with the aging EXT3 file-system. There are also areas of some improvement such as with the Apache web server performance, which is addressing a long-standing performance problem since the Linux 2.6.25 kernel release in 2008.
Over at kernel-tracker.phoromatic.com we have over 50 benchmarks that were carried out on a daily basis during the Linux 2.6.33 kernel development cycle. Going forward there will be automated benchmarks going daily for the Linux 2.6.34 kernel with just not the same Atom system and configuration from the Linux 2.6.33 testing, but also a system with a Btrfs file-system and a 64-bit dual-core Atom system too. Please consider joining Phoronix Premium and using our Internet shopping links so we can continue running these systems constantly for daily Linux kernel performance testing. You may also be interested in The Five Stages of Benchmark Loss.