As last year's What Linux Users Need To Know When Holiday Shopping For PC Hardware article was quite popular, here's my thoughts on the latest PC components and recommendations for those that may be purchasing (or hoping to receive) new computer hardware this holiday season and intend to use it on Linux.
For the past month at Phoronix we have been busy benchmarking the System76 Galago UltraPro. This latest creation from the Linux-friendly System76 is an Intel Haswell ultrabook with Iris Pro graphics. Here's our look at this Linux-loaded ultrabook and the benchmarks we've run on this powerful yet lightweight system.
Exciting many Phoronix readers in recent weeks has been the Galago UltraPro from System76, a Linux-focused ultrabook that's pre-loaded with an Intel Haswell CPU and sports Intel Iris Pro 5200 graphics. In this article are some early Linux performance benchmarks of the high-end Ubuntu Linux ultrabook.
System76 recently sent over their Haswell-based Gazelle Professional laptop that sports HD Graphics 4600, a fancy Intel SSD, 8GB of system memory, and a beautiful HD display. This Haswell Linux laptop has already been used for testing within a few Phoronix articles while now is a full look at this Ubuntu laptop along with some comparison performance tests.
Last month I wrote about how running Ubuntu Linux is a mess on the 2013 MacBook Air with Intel Core i5 "Haswell" processor. Not much has changed since then, but for those curious about the performance, here are the first official Phoronix benchmarks of the Haswell-based MacBook Air with its wonderfully-long battery life.
Earlier this month, shortly after Intel announced their latest-generation Haswell processors, Apple rolled out their new 2013 MacBook Air laptops. From a hardware perspective, the new MacBook Airs are incredible. The 13-inch MacBook Air can get a 12-hour battery life with Intel Haswell CPU. The 11-inch model continues being an ultra portable computer and has excellent performance with its Core i5 Haswell processor and HD Graphics 5000. As soon as the Haswell MacBook Airs went on sale, I bought an 11-inch model for Linux testing. Ubuntu can be installed and run on the new Apple MacBook Air, but the experience is less than desirable.
Last month I delivered extensive benchmarks of Ubuntu Linux on the Google Nexus 10 using the recently released Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview. In that article were benchmarks from the Samsung Exynos 5 Dual (Cortex-A15) tablet against a range of ARM Cortex and Intel/AMD x86 systems. This article builds upon those earlier Ubuntu Linux x86/ARM results by now adding in the results from Ubuntu on the Google Nexus 7 plus more comparison processors have been tossed into the mix as well. This article offers Ubuntu Linux performance results for a dozen different Intel, AMD, and ARM systems. The ARM SoCs represented are from Texas Instruments OMAP, NVIDIA Tegra, and ARM Exynos families.
After spending the better part of the past week running continuous open-source Linux benchmarks on the Exynos5-powered Google Nexus 10, the first extensive benchmark results for the Nexus 10 tablet running the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview are now available. This performance comparison from Ubuntu on the dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 powered device is compared to numerous other ARMv7 and x86 devices. One of the interesting findings from this new round of ARM Linux testing is that the Google Nexus with its dual-core ARM SoC is competitive with AMD's first-generation Phenom Quad-Core processor for some demanding workloads.
Google recently launched the Samsung Chromebook that for $249 USD features an 11-inch display, a 16GB SSD, a promise of 6.5-hour battery life, and is backed by a Samsung Exynos 5 SoC. The Samsung Exynos 5 packs a 1.7GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 processor with ARM Mali-T604 graphics. With using this new ARM Cortex-A15 chip plus the Samsung Chromebook not being locked down so it can be loaded up with a Linux distribution like Ubuntu or openSUSE, it was a must-buy for carrying out some interesting Cortex-A15 Linux benchmarks. The Exynos 5 Dual in this affordable laptop packs an impressive performance punch.
To complement the many other ARM Linux benchmarks on Phoronix of different development boards, coming up soon are Qualcomm DragonBoard benchmarks with the S3 APQ8060 SoC.
Earlier this month I was down in Texas visiting the Calxeda office where for the past four years they have been busy trying to revolutionize the server market through ultra-low power ARM-based servers. This morning one of their partners, Boston Limited, is formally launching their energy-efficient "Viridis" server built around Calxeda's EnergyCore ECX-1000 hardware. In this article are the first of some public Calxeda ARM benchmarks on Ubuntu Linux while more results will be out in the coming days.
For the past several weeks I have been testing out the ALUSA Atom Desktop with Linux. As implied by the name it's an Intel Atom powered desktop/nettop computer, but this Atom system comes out of Portugal from a small Linux-focused start-up company.
Following in the success of the Fit-PC2 NetTop and Tegra 2 Trim-Slice, the latest computer out of CompuLab is the Intense-PC. The CompuLab Intense-PC is a very small form factor (19 x 16 x 4 cm), low-power, fan-less computer that features up to an Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor, 16GB of DDR3 system memory, and a solid-state drive for storage. The Intense-PC is also available with Linux Mint pre-loaded as the operating system.
Here's the latest benchmarks of the low-cost ODROID-X, a $129 quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 development board out of Korea with ARM Mali 400 graphics.
While not as popular as NVIDIA's Tegra 3 ARM SoC, the Samsung Exynos 4412 quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 found on cheaply priced ODROID-X can actually outperform the quad-core NVIDIA ARM processor. Here are benchmarks of the $129 USD ODROID-X benchmarked against the NVIDIA Tegra 3 reference tablet and a PandaBoard ES running the Texas Instruments OMAP4460.
If you are planning to buy one of the new Apple MacBook Pro notebooks with a Retina Display for use under Linux, hold off on your purchase. Running the Retina MacBook Pro with Linux isn't a trouble-free experience and after using even the latest development code and jumping through various hoops, Linux on the latest Apple hardware is still less than an ideal experience. Linux support will improve for the Retina MacBook Pro in the coming months, but it's not likely to see any proper "out of the box" experience until next year.
Last year I published extensive benchmarks of Amazon's EC2 Compute Cloud but now with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS being available, here are new benchmarks highlighting Amazon's public cloud computing platform using all of the major instance types.
Last week I shared results from the Phoronix 12-core ARM Linux mini cluster that was constructed out of six PandaBoard ES development boards. Over the weekend, a 96-core ARM cluster succeeded this build. While packing nearly 100 cores and running Ubuntu Linux, the power consumption was just a bit more than 200 Watts. This array of nearly 100 processor cores was even powered up by a solar panel.
While it's improved a lot recently, in the past setting up a multi-seat computer has been a pain in the ass with a lot of manual configurations needed and other peculiar steps to get the hardware/software combination working right. What if the process were a lot simpler? What if new seats could be added to a computer at a very low cost and the setup was effectively "out of the box" to the point that it's truly plug-and-play? Well, we are now effectively at that point on the Linux desktop and there is a new Kickstarter effort to help in that initiative.
The Trim-Slice from CompuLab is a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 nettop based on the NVIDIA Tegra 2 platform. In this article are our first Ubuntu benchmarks of this low power, fan-less desktop with comparative figures to Intel's older platforms and the OMAP4660-based dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 PandaBoard ES.
The performance of the dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 OMAP4460 configuration as found on the PandaBoard ES is quite commendable and in this Phoronix review the dual-core 1.2GHz ARM system with PowerVR SGX540 graphics is being compared to several Intel Atom, Pentium M, and Core Duo configurations running Ubuntu Linux throughout. To spice things up, the pre-production OLPC XO-1.75 was also thrown into the testing mix with its single-core ARMv7 800MHz Sheeva processor.
You may have noticed several Phoronix articles in recent weeks using a ZaReason notebook built around Intel's "Sandy Bridge" processor. This is one of the new notebooks from ZaReason that had been in our labs for testing. Here is a last look at the Strata 6880 notebook from this Linux-focused PC vendor.
Last month at XDC2011 Chicago, I managed to get my hands on what should be the production hardware model of the XO-1.75 laptop that is expected to be released in the coming months by the OLPC project. The low-cost OLPC laptop targeted for students is now ARM-based and consumes very little power.
While Hewlett-Packard recently announced they will be killing off their webOS devices, just days prior to that I had ordered an HP TouchPad 16GB to carry out some additional ARM-based Linux benchmarks. Although HP's devices may be going away, I am still fond of webOS and it's a fair environment to carry out performance tests.
Last week were a set of AMD Fusion A8-3850 Linux benchmarks on Phoronix, but for you this week is a look at the AMD Fusion "Llano" APU performance when trying out a few different compilers. In particular, the latest GCC release and then using the highly promising Clang compiler on LLVM, the Low-Level Virtual Machine.
Beyond the new data visualizations and other plans for Lillesand, Phoronix Test Suite 3.4 will contain much greater support for Google's Android operating system and there will also be greater compatibility with ARM tests using our automated testing framework. A horde of ARM-based testing is also just out on the horizon at Phoronix.com. This is all thanks to the cooperation of Qualcomm's Innovation Center; they recently sent over the Snapdragon MDP MSM8660 for doing this work and it is an interesting and powerful phone.
The past few months on Phoronix and OpenBenchmarking.org you may have noticed several Intel Core i7 "Sandy Bridge" mobile benchmarks. This Linux mobile SNB testing was being done from a System76 Serval Professional notebook. Here is a look at this Linux-friendly notebook that ships with Ubuntu 10.10.
This year we have looked at a number of "nettop" and media oriented computers, including the ASRock Vision 3D that was the best nettop we have seen to date but not without a hefty price-tag, there were the MSI Wind Box computers, and even the CompuLab Fit-PC2 that was by far the smallest Atom-based computer we have tested today. None of the nettop computers we have tested though have been specifically designed for Linux usage, except for the one we are reviewing today. The ZaReason MediaBox 4220 is designed for multi-media use, as implied by its name, and of course, coming from this California vendor, it has designed to be used under Linux.
It's been nearly a decade since ASRock was spun off by ASUS as a new OEM vendor and over this time they have transformed themselves from being solely a manufacturer of low-cost, value-oriented motherboards and other products to offering more high-end and enthusiast-friendly products (such as the X58 SuperComputer and 880G Extreme 3). ASRock has also adapted to the market and has begun offering other products like low-power nettop computers. Last year we reviewed ASRock's ION 330 NetTop, which was their first, followed by the ION 330HT-BD, another Atom-based PC earlier this year. In August we then reviewed the ASRock Core 100HT, which was a nettop based upon a more powerful Core i3 processor, but with Intel integrated graphics. The latest nettop though to have been introduced by this Taiwan-based vendor is the Vision 3D NetTop, which incorporates a higher-end Intel Core processor while bringing NVIDIA GeForce GT 425M graphics for making a relatively high-end PC in a very small form factor.
Many interesting things come from Sweden whether it is Tunnbrödsrulle to Glögg to IKEA, but how well are these wonderful people able to create compact, home servers? After reviewing the CodeLathe TonidoPlug and PogoPlug, Excito, a company from Limhamn asked if we would be interested in checking out their new Linux-based home server, the B3. With that said, here is the review of the Excito B3 home server, which is actually a rather exciting device with its capabilities ranging from being a Bit Torrent download server to a home router with web serving capabilities.
94 computers articles published on Phoronix.