After delivering benchmarks last week that were comparing the Intel Sandy Bridge performance of Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" vs. Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" when it came to the Sandy Bridge OpenGL graphics performance, here's a comparative look at the performance of Ubuntu 11.10 against Mac OS X 10.7.2 from the Intel Sandy Bridge-based Mac.
The same system is being used as last weeks article: the mid-2011 Apple Mac Mini with an Intel Sandy Bridge processor. This is the only system that could be used for the Mac OS X 10.7.2 vs. Ubuntu 11.10 64-bit comparison due to hardware availability; the older Apple test systems at Phoronix no longer is supported well by Mac OS X 10.7 Lion final. The last benchmarks of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion on Phoronix were the early developer preview benchmarks.
This Mac OS X vs. Ubuntu Linux testing is being done in the same manner as earlier articles like Apple Mac OS X 10.7 DP2 Battles Ubuntu 10.10, Ubuntu 10.10 vs. Mac OS X 10.6.5: A Competitive Race, and the other Mac OS X benchmarks. The same Apple Mac Mini was used under each system. (Note: with this mid-2011 Mac Mini, the Intel CPU is a Core i5 2415M Sandy Bridge. This is a dual-core CPU with Hyper Threading, but the thread count reflected by Mac OS X was only two threads. Mac OS X 10.7.2 reported the Core i5 2415M as being a single-core part with Hyper Threading. Under Linux the correct CPU configuration was detected. Each time for these benchmarks the Phoronix Test Suite was overridden under Mac OS X to ensure four threads were used in the multi-threaded tests.)
The Phoronix Test Suite automated testing/benchmarking framework is fully supported under Mac OS X (10.5+) and Linux (along with the *BSDs and Solaris and Windows). Xcode4 is Apple's default development toolchain, which now is using LLVM with Clang as its preferred C/C++ compiler. The Phoronix Test Suite tests that are built from source were tested using the Xcode4 with Clang and then Xcode4 with its GCC fallback, which is the outdated GCC 4.2.1 release. Under Ubuntu 11.10 was obviously its stock compiler, GCC 4.6.1.
This testing is meant to be as much of an "out of the box" comparison of the operating systems as possible with considering the shipped package versions as one of the choices made by each vendor along with the default settings of each OS. Both operating systems were using the 64-bit version.