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.
23 April 2011 - 19 Comments
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.
22 April 2011 - 100 Comments
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.
18 April 2011 - 16 Comments
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.
4 April 2011 - 43 Comments
By now you have likely read all about the features announced for Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" thus far along with seeing plenty of screenshots and videos showing off Launchpad, Mission Control, Versions, the improved mail client, and much more. But how does Apple's next-generation operating system perform? Well, here is a look at the performance of Mac OS X 10.7, including what are likely the first public benchmarks of Mac OS X Lion.
2 March 2011 - 5 Comments
In this article we are looking at how Linux, OpenSolaris, and FreeBSD scale across multiple cores. Benchmarked are CentOS 5.5, Fedora 14, PC-BSD/FreeBSD 8.1, and OpenIndiana b148 as we see how the performance differs when running on one, two, three, four, and six cores, plus when Intel Hyper Threading is enabled.
21 February 2011 - 28 Comments
In recent weeks we have been talking about Intel's Linux advancements as it concerns their latest "Sandy Bridge" generation of processors with integrated graphics (and there are a few more articles on the way), but how is their latest open-source driver stack performing on the older generations of Intel integrated graphics? Previously, the Intel Linux graphics have been the real loser in our multi-OS comparisons, but is this still the case? At least when comparing the Linux and Mac OS X performance on Intel 945 hardware, yes, the Mesa driver falls behind at OpenGL acceleration.
14 February 2011 - 18 Comments
Earlier this week on Phoronix were new benchmarks of Ubuntu Linux vs. Mac OS X using a new Apple Mac Book Pro with an Intel Core i5 CPU and a NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M graphics processor. When looking at the tests results overall it ended up being a competitive race between these two Microsoft Windows competitors. In some areas, like the OpenCL computational performance, Apple's operating system commanded a sizable lead. In other areas, like the OpenGL graphics performance, Ubuntu Linux backed by NVIDIA's official but proprietary driver was in control. Here's an additional set of tests showing the measurable leads of NVIDIA Linux over Mac OS X with Apple's NVIDIA driver.
10 December 2010 - 18 Comments
Back in May, we published benchmarks of Mac OS X 10.6.3 vs. Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 10.04, along with other times, looking at the performance of Apple's Mac OS X operating system relative to Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. In most of those articles though we used Mac Mini computers, but now with a new Mac Book Pro in our labs with the latest Apple/Intel hardware, along with the most recent versions of each operating system, we have carried out a new set of tests that is also more in-depth than our earlier published benchmarks.
6 December 2010 - 9 Comments
Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 is set to be released today and many of you have been wondering what Canonical's Unity desktop will look like in this forthcoming release codenamed Natty Narwhal. I, for one, have been quite interested based upon the terrible Unity experience in Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook, so I fired up the latest Ubuntu Natty daily LiveCD released this morning. Here are some screenshots of the new Ubuntu Unity desktop as it stands in Natty Alpha 1 along with screenshots of Natty's classic GNOME desktop.
2 December 2010 - 27 Comments
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