Here are a few parts recommendations I have if you are looking to build a low-cost Intel Skylake system while achieving decent performance on Linux this holiday season.
While last week we were able to write about the NVIDIA Jetson TX1 development board, at that time we weren't able to share any benchmarks or hands-on experience with this ARM board powered by NVIDIA's Tegra X1 SoC. The embargo on that has now expired and as such this morning there are a lot of benchmarks to share with you. There are many benchmarks looking at different areas of the Jetson TX1 including power consumption and thermal. For kicks I've also done some comparisons against the Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 as well as other ARM hardware like the now defunct Calxeda ARM server and Raspberry Pi 2.
NVIDIA's embargo has just expired on the Jetson TX1: a 64-bit ARM development board that's worth getting excited about for Linux enthusiasts, those wishing to build their own ARM-powered devices, or just wanting a powerful ARM Linux desktop. The Jetson TX1 powered by the Tegra X1 is shaping up to be a splendid device; NVIDIA is even comparing the performance of the JTX1 to that of an Intel Core i7 6700K in certain tasks.
It's been just over six months since I completed construction on the large 60+ system server room where a ton of Linux benchmarking takes place just not for Phoronix.com but also the new LinuxBenchmarking.com daily performance tracking initiative and testing and development around our Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org software. Here's a look back, a few recommendations to reiterate for those aspiring to turn their cellar into a server farm, and a few things I'd do differently next time around.
Last month I wrote about trying to benchmark the MIPS Creator CI20, a low-cost MIPS development board from Imagination Technologies, but sadly those plans were thwarted by stability issues. Fortunately, it was just a faulty board and the replacement board has been running without any faults.
Over the past few weeks I've been testing out the CompuLab Fitlet as a neat little Linux PC powered by an AMD A10 Micro-6700T APU with Radeon R6 Graphics. The model I've been testing features 4GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD with the mentioned A10 Micro APU all while being fanless and being smaller than an Intel NUC. The performance out of this tiny computer is quite impressive and reinforces that good things can come out of small packages.
Last year Imagination launched a MIPS development board that went on sale at the end of last year. In not seeing any significant benchmarks or performance coverage from this MIPS Creator CI20 over the past few months, I finally got around to buying one of these MIPS development boards from Imagination Technology. While the CI20 seemed promising at first, so far I'm very unhappy with this board and it's been even less stable than the Imagination PowerVR drivers on Linux going back to the Poulsbo days.
Since last week I've been testing the Intel Compute Stick, the quad-core Atom Z3735F Atom powered PC that's a little bigger than the size of an HDMI connector. In this article are some benchmarks of this $150 quad-core + 32GB eMMC + 2GB RAM tiny computer in a variety of benchmarks comparing it to other low-power x86 and ARMv7 hardware.
A Red Hat developer mentioned to us at Phoronix that they're seeing "drastically improved battery life" in some cases with the Linux 4.1 kernel to the extent that it's up to 2~4 hours of extra battery life with the kernel upgrade to Git. I've since started some fresh Linux laptop battery tests.
A couple weeks ago I bought the Lenovo T450s, this is my first laptop-upgrade in about three years and I have to say... I am so glad that I did upgrade. Over the last two weeks I've been using the T450s as my daily-driver and its been working almost perfectly under Fedora Linux.
This is a "first impression" review. I've had the system in my hands for all of about twenty-four hours and am still exploring and forming more solid opinions. Also any problems I had likely do have solutions, but as I said: less than forty-eight hours of ownership so I haven't had a chance to. Linux-centric system review will follow this weekend / next week.
This week I posted about my new server room, where there's Linux benchmarks constantly happening on the Linux kernel and other open-source code via the Phoronix Test Suite and Phoromatic. With many Phoronix readers having been interested in the basement makeover I did to turn a ugly, boring basement into a clean server room, here's more details and pictures on the month-long renovation along with various tips and product recommendations from the experience. This server room is now almost up to 50 systems and is complete with a drink bar and projector. There's plenty of pictures and details for those hoping to build their own personal basement server room, including a few tips for increasing the wife acceptance factor of the big project.
Nearly one month ago I bought the third-generation Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon as one of the first laptops/ultrabooks shipping with a high-end Broadwell processor. I've been running Linux on the system since receiving it, including the past ~3 weeks as my main production system, and I remain very happy with this purchase.
As the latest Linux benchmark numbers to deliver for Intel Broadwell and the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabook, here's a nine-way Linux laptop/ultrabook comparison. All nine devices in this article were tested against the latest snapshot of Ubuntu 15.04 while running a big set of benchmarks and also monitoring the CPU temperatures and battery power consumption while testing for a nice look at Clarksfield/Nehalem, Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Haswell, and Broadwell mobile hardware on Linux.
With wrapping up my Core i7 5600U Broadwell Linux tests using the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon in the next few days, fortunately the Intel BOXNUC5I3RYH just arrived as the first available NUC Kit shipping with a Broadwell processor. The NUC5i3RYH features a Broadwell Core i3 processor, HD Graphics 5500, and support for a M.2 SSD card and 2.5-inch HDD/SSD.
This week with the release of Phoronix Test Suite 5.4 we also announced LinuxBenchmarking.com, a collection of 32 systems running various upstream benchmarks on a daily basis in a fully automated manner. The daily upstream benchmarking ranges from the Linux kernel Git to Mesa to Arch/Antergos Linux to LLVM/Clang. Here's a walkthrough of the new lab housing this test farm where hundreds of benchmarks are run daily in looking for performance regressions and other changes with the upstream open-source code.
Last month in a preview article I mentioned I was testing CompuLab's Intense-PC2 and that it was a great Haswell-based mini Linux PC. After using it now for another month and putting it through its paces with many strenuous benchmarking workloads and trying out other Linux distributions, I remain enthusiastic about the Intense-PC2 and it being a great offering for Linux (and even Windows/BSD) users.
For the past month I've been testing out the CompuLab Intense-PC2 and it's been a terrific, small, Linux PC. The Intense-PC2 is packed with a low-power "Haswell ULT" Core i7 4600U processor and for some fresh Linux benchmarks I compared it to the former Sandy Bridge Core i7 3517UE and Intel Bay Trail Celeron N2820 NUC. For making things real interesting, I also ran some new benchmarks on an aging Intel Atom 330 system to show how the Intel low-power performance has been improving in recent years.
In complementing the earlier Linux 3.16 file-system tests on an SSD (and the later Btrfs testing), here are benchmarks of EXT4, XFS, and Btrfs from the Linux 3.15 and 3.16 kernels being compared from a traditional rotating hard drive.
The Precision PS10 is one of the most affordable ATX enclosures offered by SilverStone Technology. At $50 the expectations weren't incredibly high, but inside the case were surprises for both good and bad.
While it looks like most NVIDIA Jetson TK1 shipments were delayed (I've heard in Europe that they're not coming out as well until mid-May, matching what NewEgg and Micro-Center are now advertising), to much excitement I found out last night my Jetson TK1 ARM board shipped out and it's already arrived this morning. Here's my unboxing and first look at this new high-end ARM board featuring the Tegra K1 SoC that sports Kepler graphics.
As I wrote about at the beginning of March, I bought the ASUS Zenbook UX301LA-DH71T Haswell-based ultrabook to replace an Apple Retina MacBook Pro as my main system. I've been using this latest Zenbook with Intel Iris Graphics and dual SSDs for several weeks now as my main system and have taken it on four business trips so far and it's been running great. Paired with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, the ASUS Zenbook UX301LA makes a rather nice lightweight yet powerful Linux system.
One of the more popular test requests recently at Phoronix.com has been to deliver some reference benchmarks of DigitalOcean's public cloud. DigitalOcean is an increasingly-popular, low-cost public cloud that got started back in 2011. Due to being always inundated with new Linux review and benchmark requests at Phoronix, it has taken a while to get around to it, but at Phoronix today we're posting our first reference benchmarks of the Linux-powered DigitalOcean cloud platform.
Last month I wrote about Intel's Bay Trail NUC Kit on Linux and shared some early Intel Bay Trail Linux benchmarks. That earlier testing was done from Ubuntu 13.10 but this DN2820FYKH NUC can also be made to work quite well with Fedora 20. Here's the experience on setting up Fedora 20 for the Intel Bay Trail NUC Kit and some Ubuntu vs. Fedora benchmarks from this low-power, mini Intel system.
The BeagleBone Black has been one of the popular low-cost ARM development boards in recent months for budget-minded hobbyists due to its $45 price-tag, being Linux friendly, and support for powering off a USB cable. While it may be a cheap ARM development board, is its performance too dauntingly slow?
Last week on Phoronix I shared my initial impressions of the Intel "Bay Trail" NUC Kit when running Ubuntu Linux. I've been impressed by the size, features, and price of this barebones Intel system sporting a low-power SoC with built-in HD Graphics capabilities that work well under Linux. Here's some early CPU benchmarks for those trying to gauge the Intel Celeron N2820 performance under Ubuntu.
With the early Atom "Bay Trail" hardware being disastrous for Linux, when Intel recently announced their Bay Trail based NUC Kit we were anxious and decided to give this unit a go. The Intel NUC Kit DN2820FYK packs an Intel Celeron N2820 Bay Trail CPU and motherboard supporting up to 8GB of DDR3L system memory and 2.5-inch HDD/SSD in a 116 x 112 x 51 mm form-factor. In this article is a rundown of the Phoronix experience so far for this Atom NUC Kit and how well it's running with Ubuntu Linux.
When it comes to Linux-friendly hardware vendors one of my favorite companies to deal with at Phoronix is CompuLab. The Israeli PC vendor isn't just rebadging some OEM systems and slapping on a Tux sticker nor are they assembling some x86 systems that individuals could easily build at a lower cost. We have reviewed several interesting low-power Linux PCs from them in the past and today may be one of their most interesting products yet, the Freescale i.MX6-based Utilite. In this review is a look at the Utilite Pro, which is my new favorite pre-assembled ARM Linux desktop.
Last week I began sharing my Linux performance benchmarks from the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX32VD, an Intel ultrabook with some nice hardware and build quality. In last week's initial testing I carried out NVIDIA Optimus benchmarks on Ubuntu Linux and compared it to Windows 8.1. In today's article I have a number of reference benchmarks comparing the performance of the ASUS Zenbook Prime to six other systems, all running Ubuntu 13.10.
Lini PC is a low-volume system builder of Linux-friendly PCs that recently sent over their new Intel Pentium Haswell-based desktop that runs Xubuntu 13.10. Let's see how this Intel Linux desktop system performs with our first testing of a Lini PC.
125 computers articles published on Phoronix.