While we are still battling issues with the Intel Linux graphics driver in getting that running properly with Intel's new Sandy Bridge CPUs (at least Intel's Jesse Barnes is now able to reproduce the most serious problem we've been facing, but we'll save the new graphics information for another article), the CPU performance continues to be very compelling. Two weeks ago we published the Intel Core i5 2500K Linux benchmarks that showed just how well this quad-core CPU that costs a little more than $200 USD is able to truly outperform previous generations of Intel hardware. That was just with running the standard open-source benchmarks and other Linux software, which has not been optimized for Intel's latest micro-architecture. Version 4.6 of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) though is gearing up for release and it will bring support for the AVX extensions. In this article, we are benchmarking GCC 4.6 on a Sandy Bridge system to see what benefits there are to enabling the Core i7 AVX optimizations.
Earlier this month Intel released their first "Sandy Bridge" processors to much excitement. However, for Linux users seeking to utilize the next-generation Intel HD graphics found on these new CPUs, it meant problems. Up to this point we have largely been looking at the graphics side of Sandy Bridge, and while we have yet to publish any results there due to some isolated issues, on the CPU side its Linux experience and performance has been nothing short of incredible. Here are the first Linux benchmarks of the Intel Core i5 2500K processor.
Next week Intel is set to roll out their much-anticipated "Sandy Bridge" CPUs during the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show. With these 32nm, LGA-1155 next-generation Intel Core processors will also come the Intel P67 Chipset on a whole selection of new motherboards at launch like the ECS P67H2-A2 and ASRock P67 Pro3. How well though will Intel's newest hardware play with Linux?
Following last week's KVM vs. VirtualBox benchmarks and then looking at the multi-core scaling of KVM virtualization, we now have up some benchmarks of Amazon's EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) looking at the performance of this leading cloud computing service. This is just the start of some Amazon EC2 benchmarks with this article looking at the performance of their m1.large and m1.xlarge instances compared to some other hardware. There is also an OpenBenchmarking.org ID for those interested in replicating these tests.
Earlier this week we published benchmarks comparing Oracle VM VirtualBox to Linux KVM and the Linux system host performance. Some of the feedback from individuals said that it was a bad idea using the Intel Core i7 "Gulftown" with all twelve of its CPU threads available to the hardware-virtualized guest since virtualization technologies are bad in dealing with multiple virtual CPUs. But is this really the case? With not being able to find any concrete benchmarks in that area, we carried out another set of tests to see how well the Linux Kernel-based Virtual Machine scales against the host as the number of CPU cores available to each is increased. It can be both good and bad for Linux virtualization.
When finding out that an Intel Core i7 970 "Gulftown" CPU was on the way, which boasts six physical cores plus another six logical cores via Hyper Threading, immediately coming to mind was to try out this latest Intel 32nm processor with the Gallium3D LLVMpipe driver. There's a lot to love about Gallium3D when it comes open-source Linux graphics drivers with the possibilities being presented by the different state trackers (such as native Direct3D 11 support on Linux) and the hardware drivers themselves being more advanced, easier to write, and eventually should be much faster than the classic Mesa drivers for Linux. One of the drivers that has especially been of interest is LLVMpipe, which is an attempt to finally make a useful CPU-based software rasterizer for Linux by leveraging the Low-Level Virtual Machine infrastructure. Here is our introductory article to LLVMpipe and even with a Core i7 "Bloomfield" processor the driver is very demanding, but with Intel's Gulftown the results are somewhat surprising as we experiment with how this CPU-based driver scales up to twelve threads.
Intel will be introducing their first Sandy Bridge CPUs in the coming months, which we already know has Linux graphics support well underway, but for now the top-end Intel desktop processors are the Gulftown CPUs that were introduced earlier this year. The Gulftown CPUs boast six physical processing cores with Hyper Threading to put the total thread count per CPU at 12. Besides putting 12 processing threads at your disposal, these CPUs are built upon the 32nm die shrink of Nehalem and boast 12MB of L3 cache. The first Gulftown desktop product to launch was the Intel Core i7 980X, which was quickly followed by the Core i7 970, and we now finally have the chance to test out this incredibly fast but expensive processor under Linux.
Last week I put out new numbers showing the LLVMpipe performance with the latest Gallium3D code found in Mesa 7.9-devel. This Gallium3D driver accelerates all operations on the CPU rather than a GPU as a better software rasterizer than what is currently available for Linux, but even with a hefty Intel Core i7 CPU the OpenGL acceleration was still quite slow. In this article using an Intel Core i3 mobile CPU we are looking at the LLVMpipe performance again, but this time comparing it to the Intel graphics performance and also looking at the impact that the clock frequency and Hyper Threading have on this Gallium3D driver that heavily utilizes the Low-Level Virtual Machine for its CPU optimizations.
Earlier this week AMD announced the Phenom II X6 processors that are designed to offer "unbeatable" performance thanks to its six physical processing cores while not being priced too high. However, should you not be interested in the latest high-end CPUs, there still is a plethora of lower-end AMD parts on the market. One of AMD's low-priced offerings is the Athlon II X3 425, which is a triple-core AM3 processor that can easily overclock past 3GHz and is priced to sell at around $70 USD.
Earlier this month Intel rolled out their new Clarkdale processors that are built on a 32nm process and making them rather unique is that integrated on the dual-core Westmere-based part is an integrated graphics processor. The Clarkdale CPUs launched under the Core i3 and Core i5 brands (along with a Pentium version) and since their launch have received favorable reviews, well, under Windows. We have now received our Core i3 processor and have carried out various processor benchmarks under Linux to see how well Clarkdale runs with the penguins.
Earlier this month we provided a launch-day preview of the P55 Chipset on Linux along with benchmarks from the Core i5 750 and Core i7 870, which are the new quad-core Lynnfield processors. We noticed some odd performance issues under Linux when testing out these new processors, but Intel has since chimed in and we are in the process of running an updated set of tests.
Now that we have provided a brief overview of the Intel P55 and how it functions under Linux, our larger area of concentration is looking at the Linux performance of the P55 with the new Core i5 750 and Core i7 870 processors. We have a number of benchmarks in this article along with more information on these Lynnfield processors.
While nearly all of Intel's attention is focused on their newer LGA-1366 platform with the high-end Core i7 processors and then the forthcoming Core i5 series, there are still plenty of viable processors left for the LGA-775 motherboards. There are of course a number of different Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, and Core 2 Extreme CPUs on the market, but beyond that Intel's Celeron family does still exist. Most computer enthusiasts simply write off the Celeron products as being too slow, but among the newer Celeron parts there are even some dual-core processors. For a forthcoming article we had picked up an Intel Celeron E1400 for looking at the Linux video decoding performance on a slow system (similar to our HD Video Playback With A $20 CPU & $30 GPU On Linux article), but as we have never published performance results for a dual-core Celeron on Linux, we have decided to get those numbers out there today for those that are interested.
Earlier this year AMD launched the Phenom II series to succeed the original quad-core Phenom processors, with these newer desktop CPUs being built upon a 45nm process, tripling the amount of Level 3 cache to 6MB, and offering support for both DDR2 and DDR3 system memory. Prior to the launch of the Phenom II we had tested the AMD Shanghai Opterons on Linux and benchmarked these CPUs on OpenSolaris too, which were the server/workstation version of this new AMD 45nm core. With the Phenom II series there is the X3 and X4 line-up for triple-core and quad-core processors, respectively. In this article we are looking at how well the AMD Phenom II X3 710 performs under Ubuntu Linux.
Earlier this month we published Intel Core i7 Linux benchmarks that looked at the overall desktop performance when running Ubuntu Linux. One area we had not looked at in the original article was the virtualization performance, but we are back today with Intel Core i7 920 Linux benchmarks when testing out the KVM hypervisor and Sun xVM VirtualBox. In this article we are providing a quick look at Intel's Nehalem virtualization performance on Linux.
Back in November Intel had formally launched the Core i7 series, but Linux benchmarks were not to be found. However, in the weeks that followed, results began to emerge through the Phoronix Test Suite and Phoronix Global. Over time there were many more Linux test results from the Phoronix Test Suite community, but now we have posted some of our own Intel Core i7 numbers from Ubuntu Linux.
In January we published a review of the AMD Shanghai Opteron CPUs on Linux when we looked at four of the Opteron 2384 models. The performance of these 45nm quad-core workstation/server processors were great when compared to the earlier AMD Barcelona processors on Ubuntu Linux, but how is their performance when running Sun's OpenSolaris operating system? Up for viewing today are dual AMD Shanghai benchmarks when running OpenSolaris 2008.11, Ubuntu 8.10, and a daily build of the forthcoming Ubuntu 9.04 release.
Last quarter AMD introduced their "Shanghai" Opteron processors that join the ranks of Intel's Harpertown Xeon CPUs that are 45nm quad-core server/workstation parts. Initial reviews of these new AMD Opteron processors have been very positive, but how do these chips perform with Linux? In this article we have our hands on a few of the fastest Shanghais, the AMD Opteron 2384 clocked at 2.7GHz, as we see how well they compare to the older "Barcelona" Opteron processors.
Back in September we looked at the Intel Atom performance on a few Linux distributions using the ASUS Eee PC 901, but now with new stable releases of some of the most popular distributions out in the wild, we've decided to re-conduct these tests. We are using a slightly different Atom-based system this time and we are comparing the performance on Ubuntu 8.10, Fedora 10, Mandriva 2008, and OpenSuSE 11.1.
A month ago NVIDIA had introduced the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix (VDPAU) that brought PureVideo-like features to Linux. Our initial benchmarks of this video decoding API within NVIDIA's binary driver were quite favorable as it was able to dramatically cut down on the CPU usage when playing H.264 video files. To see how well NVIDIA's VDPAU really is though, we have carried out some more thorough testing now and our hardware consists of a CPU we purchased for $20 USD and a NVIDIA GeForce graphics card that retails for just $30. Can this very low-end hardware manage to play high definition videos under Linux?
While the ASUS Eee PC 901 doesn't have its solid-state disk drives encrypted by default, if you are storing any potentially sensitive information on this netbook -- or any mobile device for that matter -- you really should encrypt the data. When you lose a mobile device or it has been stolen, it can be a nightmare if your banking information was stored on there or even just passwords to your Internet accounts. However, what is the performance cost for fully encrypting a hard drive on one of these Intel Atom computers? In this article we are looking at the performance impact of fully encrypting the solid-state storage versus an unencrypted LVM within Ubuntu Linux.
Back in March we had looked at the Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 mobile processor with its Penryn core and 6MB of shared L2 cache between its two cores clocked at 2.50GHz. We were very pleased with the performance of this mobile processor on Linux, which was found within a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 notebook, and today we are looking at the Penryn's desktop counterpart. Intel's Core 2 Duo "Wolfdale" E8000 series processors were released earlier this year with 6MB of L2 cache, 45nm manufacturing, a 1333MHz FSB, and support for SSE 4.1. The processor from the Wolfdale series we are looking at today under Linux is the Core 2 Duo E8400.
When looking at the AMD Phenom 9500 under Linux, we had found this processor had posed a number of issues from kernel panics to other troubles when running Ubuntu 7.10 with the Linux 2.6.22 kernel. Once, however, upgrading to Ubuntu 8.04 with the Linux 2.6.24 kernel these problems had vanished and we were pleased by this native quad-core desktop processor from AMD. Released a month prior to the first Phenom desktop CPUs were the quad-core Opteron 2300 "Barcelona" processors. We hadn't looked at any AMD Barcelona processors at that time, but today we finally have our hands on two of the new AMD Opteron 2356 server/workstation processors. The Opteron 2356 CPUs come clocked at 2.30GHz, and is a revision B3 Opteron meaning that it has a proper fix for the TLB erratum -- this model was introduced only earlier this month. We have benchmarked the new Opteron 2356 in both single and dual CPU configurations and have compared the results -- under Linux -- to two of Intel's quad-core Xeon processors.
For a year now Intel has been flaunting its 45nm "Penryn" processor core with its SSE4 instruction set, High-K metal gate transistors, and 6MB of L2 cache. Most of the Penryn media attention has been focused upon the desktop Core 2 processors, but in January at the 2008 Consumer Electronic Show Intel had rolled out sixteen new products and a dozen of them were mobile oriented. Among these Intel innovations were the first mobile Penryn processors. These mobile Intel 45nm CPUs accompanied the Penryn desktop line-up that first began in November of 2007 with Core 2 Extreme QX9650 and then continued with several new Core 2 Quad and Core 2 Duo models. On the server front, the Penryn equivalent is Harpertown and those quad-core Xeon processors have been shipping for the same length of time. Today we are focusing upon the Intel Penryn performance on the mobile front as we explore the Core 2 Duo T9300. The Core 2 Duo T9300 is running inside a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 notebook and we have compared its performance against earlier Centrino-based ThinkPads as we look at how this latest Intel processor performs with Ubuntu Linux.
Since publishing our Linux review of the AMD Phenom 9500 on the Spider platform a month ago, we have continued in our investigation of this first AMD desktop quad-core processor that has been very problematic with Ubuntu 7.10 Linux. Fortunately though this support isn't stagnate and a better picture is painted when using the latest development builds of Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron" with the Linux 2.6.24 kernel. Per reader requests, we have carried out additional benchmarks of the Phenom 9500 to compare its 32-bit and 64-bit Linux performance.
Have you recently upgraded to AMD's Spider platform with their quad-core Phenom processor and are running Linux? If so, and are experiencing kernel panics, stability problems, and even a psychedelic Ubuntu logo, you're not alone. Earlier this week we had looked at AMD's new 790FX Chipset under Linux and now it's time to deliver the world's first Linux benchmarks of AMD's Spider platform. However, getting to the point of delivering these Linux benchmarks wasn't exactly smooth sailing. In this article, we'll be looking at the AMD Phenom 9500 performance under Ubuntu 7.10 as well as sharing our experiences with this new AMD platform.
IDF is winding down this afternoon but today we had the opportunity to listen to Intel's Faye A Briggs, Stephen Pawlowski, and Sanjay Sharma. This press-only session talked about Intel's upcoming Harpertown Xeon processors and the Stoakley platform. Harpertown will be shipping later this year but Intel had included some early prototype benchmarks comparing the Xeon 5400 series to the Xeon 5300 Clovertown quad-core processors as well as the AMD Opteron Socket F competition. While there were a number of benchmarks used, some of the results were done within Linux for kernel compilation, LAME encoding, and OpenSSL. We've published all of the slides that were shared with the press today, including the early Harpertown/Stoakley benchmarks.
This morning Sun Microsystems will officially introduce their Niagara 2 processor, which consists of eight processing cores and is capable of handling 64 threads simultaneously. It's official name is the Sun UltraSPARC T2 and it will be unveiled at their Executive Briefing Center in Menlo Park, California. We were invited to this event, but we had run into scheduling problems at the last minute though we do have some information to share with you in this technical brief.
While the Linux 2.6.23 kernel is only weeks into development, it's already generated quite a bit of attention. From the merging of the Completely Fair Scheduler (CFS) to the -rc2 kernel being "the new -rc1", the Linux 2.6.23 kernel is certainly in store for being an ornate release. Adding to this attention has been a stable user-space driver API and virtualization improvements (KVM, Xen, and LGuest). With all of this activity surrounding the Linux 2.6.23 kernel we've decided to conduct a handful of benchmarks comparing the Linux 2.6.20, 2.6.21, 2.6.22, and 2.6.23 kernel releases so far.
Last night at a media party during OSCON and Ubuntu Live 2007, Intel had announced the release of Intel Threading Building Blocks 2.0, which marks the GPLv2 open-source availability of the code. James Reinders had made this presentation going through a look at multi-core processors and parallel programming followed by this announcement. To drive interest in TBB 2.0, Intel has announced an open-source competition for integrating TBB into open-source projects where you can win a multi-core laptop. With the Intel party just ending a few hours ago, we have enclosed many of Reinders' slides and we will be sharing more information shortly. One extra tid-bit is that Intel is working with multiple (yet to be named) game developers on integrating Threading Building Blocks 2.0. Several distributions will also be shipping Intel's TBB 2.0.
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