Last month we published benchmarks of EXT4 comparing this file-system's performance when it was first marked stable in the mainline kernel and then where it is at now in the Linux kernel while testing every major release in between. This article was followed up by a Btrfs versus EXT4 comparison using the Linux 2.6.33 kernel to see how the two most talked about Linux file-systems are battling it out with the latest kernel. After those Linux file-system benchmarks were published, we received a request from Canonical to look at the EXT3 performance too. With that said, we have done just that and have published EXT3, EXT4, and Btrfs benchmarks from Ubuntu 9.10 and a Ubuntu 10.04 development snapshot from an Intel Atom netbook.
For this round of testing we used a Samsung NC10 netbook that was loaded with an Intel Atom N270 CPU clocked at 1.60GHz, an Intel 945GME + ICH7-M motherboard with integrated graphics, 2GB of DDR2-533MHz system memory, and an 32GB OCZ Core Series SSD. We tested clean installations of Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala" and a daily snapshot (2010-02-16) of Ubuntu 10.04 "Lucid Lynx" on this netbook using the three file-systems: EXT3, EXT4, and Btrfs. Ubuntu 9.10 uses the Linux 2.6.31 kernel while Ubuntu 10.04 is using Linux 2.6.32.
Ubuntu Karmic and Lucid were tested with EXT3, EXT4, and Btrfs using the SQLite, Compile Bench, IOzone, Dbench, FS-Mark, Threaded I/O Tester, PostMark, and Unpack-Linux tests available through the Phoronix Test Suite. Each file-system was mounted with its default mount options and both releases of Ubuntu were left in their stock configurations.
With our infamous SQLite test, the EXT3 file-system in both instances was a few seconds faster, but to an end-user the performance between the EXT3 and EXT4 file-systems would be virtually identical for this test. The Btrfs file-system in this test on the netbook was much slower, as in it took many times longer to complete the benchmark. The good news, however, is that with Ubuntu 10.04 and the Linux 2.6.32 kernel the Btrfs performance has improved a great deal. The EXT3 / EXT4 performance had not improved much when switching to the development snapshot of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.