Following yesterday's release of openSUSE 11.3 we tested this updated Linux operating system that's sponsored by Novell on an Intel Atom netbook and compared the performance to that of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and Fedora 13. Here are the results.
The netbook being used for the testing of these three desktop Linux distributions from clean installations was the Samsung NC10 with its Intel Atom N270 CPU, 2GB of system memory, Intel 945 integrated graphics, a 32GB OCZ Core Series SSD, and a 1024 x 600 display panel. OpenSUSE 11.3 was run with its stock Linux 2.6.34-12-default i686 kernel, GNOME 2.30.0 desktop, X.Org Server 1.8.0, xf86-video-intel 2.12.0, Mesa 7.8.2, GCC 4.5, and an EXT4 file-system. Again, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS ships with the Linux 2.6.32 kernel, GNOME 2.30.0, X.Org Server 1.7.6, xf86-video-intel 2.9.1, Mesa 7.7.1, GCC 4.4.3, and an EXT4 file-system. Lastly, Fedora 13 has the Linux 2.6.33 kernel, GNOME 2.30.0 desktop, X.Org Server 1.8.0, xf86-video-intel 2.11.0, Mesa 7.8.1, GCC 4.4.4, and also an EXT4 file-system by default. A variety of tests were run via the Phoronix Test Suite and its netbook suite.
Starting right away with Tremulous, openSUSE 11.3 was faster than Ubuntu and Fedora. In fact, openSUSE 11.3 was 30% faster than Ubuntu 10.04 LTS! However, openSUSE 11.3 has the most recent Mesa 7.8.2 stable release where as Ubuntu's Lucid Lynx had shipped with the older Mesa 7.7 series so it does not have the most recent Mesa Intel DRI driver. Fedora 13, which has a graphics stack closer to openSUSE 11.3, performed more closely.
The LAME MP3 encoding performance was not in favor of openSUSE 11.3, but it was faster with Ubuntu 10.04 and Fedora 13. This may be due to a GCC 4.5 regression.
The x264 video encoding performance was close between the three tested Linux operating systems on the netbook.