Last month I alluded to a 40-way graphics card comparison being worked on at Phoronix. This comparison is to extensively compare the performance of the open and closed-source drivers for each graphics card and to comprehensively comment on other areas of the Linux graphics driver support. Not only is the OpenGL performance being evaluated, but the thermal performance, CPU utilization, and power consumption is being looked at too. Being published today to mark the beginning of the Oktoberfest 2011 articles are the ATI/AMD Radeon results. This includes 28 of the 40 graphics cards, with GPUs as old as the Radeon X800XL and as new as the AMD Radeon HD 6950.
After recently tracking down the major Linux kernel power regression that's present for a vast number of mobile users in Fedora 15, Ubuntu 11.04, and other recent Linux distributions shipping the 2.6.38+ kernel, the sights were turned to see how the power management of Ubuntu 11.04 compares to that of Windows 7 Professional Service Pack 1. In this article are the power consumption results of Ubuntu 11.04 compared directly to Windows 7 Professional 1 on several different systems with distinct notebook and desktop / workstation configurations.
By now you have likely seen the AMD Fusion E-350 APU showcased on a number of Windows web-sites, but how is this AMD Accelerated Processor working in the Linux world? At Phoronix today are the first in-depth Ubuntu Linux benchmarks being published from this promising, low-power solution designed to compete with Intel's Atom.
Two weeks ago AMD introduced the Bulldozer FX-Series CPUs to much excitement, although many were letdown by the initial results, and it was months after showing the first Linux benchmarks of an AMD Dual-Interlagos pre-production system. In the days that followed I delivered some initial AMD FX-4100 Linux benchmarks when securing remote access to a low-end Bulldozer system running Ubuntu 11.04 (and there were also some Linux benchmarks from independent Phoronix readers), but then last week a Bulldozer kit arrived from AMD. The centerpiece of this kit is an eight-core AMD FX-8150 CPU, which is now being used to conduct a plethora of AMD Bulldozer benchmarks on Linux.
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.
Up for review today is a low-end NVIDIA Fermi graphics card, the GeForce GT 520. The low-end graphics processor it uses, the GF119, was released back in April. The graphics card only has 48 Stream processors and uses DDR3 memory with a 64-bit bus, except the cost on this creation is just around $60 USD.
Continuing to ensure that Linux benchmarks on the latest AMD Radeon HD graphics processors are available, the kind people at Sapphire have sent over another Radeon HD 6000 series graphics card. After previously reviewing the Sapphire Radeon HD 6570 and Sapphire Radeon HD 6870, up now is the Sapphire Radeon HD 6770. The Radeon HD 6770 (and HD 6750) up until recently was just offered to OEM builders, but now Sapphire has begun selling various products with these graphics processors, which end up being re-branded Radeon HD 5770/5750 "Juniper" graphics processors.
Those that follow my Twitter feed know that over the weekend I began running some benchmarks of the various open-source and closed-source graphics drivers. But it was not like the usual Phoronix benchmarks simply comparing the driver performance. Instead it was to see how each driver performed under the various desktops / window managers now being used by modern Linux installations. In this article are the first results of this testing of Unity with Compiz, the classic GNOME desktop with Metacity, the classic GNOME desktop with Compiz, the GNOME Shell with Mutter, and the KDE desktop with KWin. These configurations were tested with both the open and closed-source NVIDIA and ATI/AMD Linux drivers.
As mentioned over the weekend, a Phoronix reader that was excited about AMD's Bulldozer products had went out and immediately purchased an FX-4100 processor. This user graciously let me SSH into the system as soon as Ubuntu Linux was installed so that benchmarks from the AMD FX-4100 could be conducted. Here is a look at the AMD FX-4100 Bulldozer on Linux compared to Llano Fusion hardware and Intel Sandy Bridge processors.
"Mobile users are urged to seriously consider these results, and possibly even avoid the Natty Narwhal...I hate to say it, especially in an Ubuntu review, but the mobile edge goes to Windows for now...There are also compelling reasons for folks to avoid [Ubuntu 11.04] at all costs. Linux gamers should see substantial improvements, while mobile users suffer a dramatic loss in battery life," were among the critical comments that Tom's Hardware had in their Ubuntu 11.04 review as they were referencing the power regressions I discovered nearly two months ago within the mainline Linux kernel. As I mentioned on Sunday, the Phoronix Test Suite stack and I have now nailed this major power regression in the Linux 2.6.38 kernel that is affecting a significant number of mobile Linux users. Here is what is happening and a way that you should be able to workaround the serious regression should it affect your computer system(s).