Before Apple releases Mac OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion" next month, here's a look at how the latest point release of Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" is performing compared to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" and the latest development snapshot of Ubuntu 12.10 "Quantal Quetzal" Linux.
The OS X 10.7.4 vs. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS vs. Ubuntu 12.10 2012-06-21 benchmarking was done from a mid-2011 Mac Mini. This Apple Mac Mini from last year is based on Intel's Sandy Bridge micro-architecture with the Core i5 2415M. The Intel i5-2415M is a quad-core part with Hyper Threading (though under OS X 10.7.4 it still advertises itself as just having two logical cores) that has a base frequency of 2.3GHz and a maximum Turbo Frequency of 2.9GHz. Intel HD 3000 graphics are integrated and used by this low-end Apple device. The system has 2GB of RAM and a 500GB Hitachi hard drive.
After benchmarking the clean installation of Mac OS X 10.7.4, it was onto performing clean installs of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS followed by the 2012-06-21 snapshot of the forthcoming Ubuntu 12.10.
All three operating systems were running with their stock packages, compiler, OS settings, etc to test a proper "out of the box" experience.