After several weeks of testing the Linux-friendly System76 Gazelle Pro Haswell laptop, we've now been using the System76 Galago UltraPro for a wide variety of Linux testing as its powered by the Core i7 4750HQ CPU with Iris Pro 5200 graphics. In the preview article for this System76 ultrabook we ran some early comparative tests while in this article are some direct Ubuntu 13.10 comparison benchmarks between System76's two Intel Haswell laptops. What's most interesting to see with these results is how much faster the Iris Pro graphics are over HD Graphics 4600.
The Gazelle Pro that we had been testing last month was loaded with a Core i7 4900MQ CPU with HD Graphics 4600, 8GB of RAM, and 120GB Intel SSD. The Galago UltraPro that was recently sent over to us as a review sample from System76 is powered by the Core i7 4750HQ CPU with Iris Pro 5200 graphics, 8GB of system memory, and a 120GB Intel SSD.
For this weekend benchmarking between the two laptops, Ubuntu 13.10 was on each laptop with the Linux 3.11.0-7 x86_64 kernel, Xfce 4.10, X.Org Server 1.14.3 RC1, xf86-video-intel 2.21.14, Mesa 9.2.0, GCC 4.8.1, and an EXT4 file-system. This was the state of Ubuntu 13.10 as of earlier this month and the same image was maintained for when the Galago UltraPro arrived in our test labs.
The Core i7 4750HQ CPU has a base frequency of 2.0GHz but has a Turbo Frequency that tops out at 3.2GHz. The ultrabook CPU has four cores plus Hyper Threading to yield eight logical cores, 6MB of cache, and has a 47 Watt TDP. The Core i7 4900MQ meanwhile has four cores with Hyper Threading but its clock speeds are higher with a 2.8GHz base frequency and 3.8GHz Turbo Frequency. The i7-4900MQ also packs in 8MB of cache. The Core i7 4900MQ is faster than the 4750HQ on the processor side, but the HQ model boasts the Iris Pro 5200 graphics that stacks 128MB of dedicated video memory on the die. The cost is also lower for the i7-4750HQ at $440 USD versus $570.
Unfortunately this is only a raw performance comparison between the two laptops as the Gazelle Pro's battery wasn't able to export its real-time power usage information via ACPI to be able to run a power consumption / performance-per-Watt comparison. Even so, this should be an interesting comparison for those deciding between their next Ubuntu-loaded System76 laptop. This testing is also about putting out more reference benchmarks for third party testing; you can easily see how your own Linux system's desktop/laptop/mobile performance by installing the Phoronix Test Suite and simply running phoronix-test-suite benchmark 1309163-SO-GALAGOULT68. Regardless of Linux distribution, this will download all of the tests we used, set them up in the same manner, and run them in an automated manner using the same test parameters we used during testing. This is the easiest way possible to see how your current system's performance compares head-to-head against these high-end System76 Linux laptops.