June 02, 2011 -- With the extensive Linux power consumption tests that I've been carrying out to solve some nasty Linux kernel power regressions and find other areas for optimization, one of the requests that has come in frequently is to compare the power consumption of the KDE, GNOME, Unity, Xfce, and LXDE desktops. After the article earlier this week to look at how the desktop environments / compositing window managers affect OpenGL performance, I carried out a quick desktop power test. In this article are battery power consumption results for Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Lubuntu.
May 31, 2011 -- Ending out May, we have an interesting set of tests comparing the performance of Fedora 15 and Ubuntu 11.04. This is looking at the "out of the box" performance of both operating systems on three different systems. Not only is the actual test result looked at, but we also compared the power consumption of the two operating systems.
May 28, 2011 -- For those Intel "Sandy Bridge" hardware customers that may be trying out the recent release of Fedora 15, the experience is decent and is in much better shape than the troubling support in Ubuntu 11.04. It is not in tip-top shape as there are some recent optimizations in the Linux kernel and Mesa that haven't landed in Fedora 15 (at least not yet in the form of an update), but it's suitable overall.
May 13, 2011 -- To be paired with the release of Phoronix Test Suite 3.2-Grimstad later in the quarter will be the release of OpenBenchmarking.org Live, which is a new incarnation of our PTS Desktop Live Linux distribution. For those not familiar with PTS Desktop Live, our Live DVD/USB Linux environment completely standardizes the software stack so that enthusiasts or organizations wishing to carry out benchmarks can do so to directly compare hardware differences by eliminating all Linux software differences. It is also one easy way to try out benchmarking under Linux since it is just a matter of booting the DVD/USB drive and the testing environment is pre-configured. With OpenBenchmarking.org Live, we are taking PTS Desktop Live one big step further.
April 27, 2011 -- Now that we have looked at the Ubuntu power consumption going back as far as Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (and found serious power regressions), the next round of testing is providing the Bootchart results for five different systems also going back as far as Ubuntu 8.04 LTS.
April 25, 2011 -- Since Friday there's been a number of Phoronix articles about a very bad power regression in the mainline Linux kernel, which is widespread, Ubuntu 11.04 is one of the affected distributions, and has been deemed a bug of high importance. This yet-to-be-resolved issue is affected Linux 2.6.38 and 2.6.39 kernels and for many desktop and notebook systems is causing a 10~30% increase in power consumption. Nevertheless, this is not the only major outstanding power regression in the mainline tree, there is another dramatic regression now spotted as well that is yet-to-be-fixed.
April 23, 2011 -- Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal" is set to be released on Thursday and while there are a number of new features to talk about in this latest release, the Phoronix Test Suite software has been busy analyzing the performance of this latest release. There is open-source graphics driver improvements leading to some performance improvements (such as Radeon KMS page-flipping), the famous ~200 line Linux kernel patch to improve responsiveness, and various other enhancements that catch our fancy in Ubuntu 11.04. However, one area where there is a frightening regression in Ubuntu 11.04 is with its power consumption. For mobile devices in many workloads, Ubuntu 11.04 is consuming noticeably more power than in any of the past Ubuntu Linux releases. Sadly, no one seems to have noticed in time since continuous integration testing on Linux seems to happen so haphazardly right now.
April 22, 2011 -- For those that follow my personal Twitter feed will know that for the past week I've been closely testing Ubuntu 11.04 and all Ubuntu releases going back to Ubuntu 8.04 on many mobile devices in the office. The overall system performance, power consumption, and boot performance have been the principal targets. However, late this week I discovered a glaring regression: Ubuntu 11.04 is viciously going through power. Compared to Ubuntu 10.10, the power consumption on Ubuntu 11.04 for mobile devices is up about 10% on average but under some workloads, I am seeing the power consumption up by nearly 30%. This is happening on many mobile systems spanning multiple generations of Intel CPUs and with Intel / ATI / NVIDIA graphics. This issue has been tracked down to a frightening kernel regression in the mainline tree that is still not addressed.
April 18, 2011 -- Upon the release of the first Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" Developer Preview, we had delivered early benchmarks of this Apple operating system slated for release this summer. Since then, there has been the release of Mac OS X 10.7 Developer Preview 2 (DP2) so we have carried out an updated set of Mac OS X 10.7 performance benchmarks. This also includes a comparative look at the Mac OS X Lion performance against Ubuntu Linux 10.10.
April 04, 2011 -- At the end of 2009 I published benchmarks comparing Ubuntu's 32-bit, 32-bit PAE, and 64-bit Linux kernels. Those tests were carried out to show the performance impact of using 32-bit with PAE (Physical Address Extension) support, which on the plus side allows up to 64GB of system memory to be addressable from 32-bit machines, but is still significantly slower than a 64-bit kernel and user-space. In this article the tests have been carried out on modern hardware and with the latest Ubuntu 11.04 packages to see how the three kernel variants are performing in 2011.