Benchmarking Linux 5.5 vs. Linux 5.6-rc1 On A Few Systems So Far

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 12 February 2020 at 12:44 PM EST. 3 Comments
Since the release of Linux 5.6-rc1 that is coming in as a very feature-packed kernel, here are benchmarks of Linux 5.5 stable up against Linux 5.6-rc1 on a few of the systems tested so far while more results are in-progress.

Linux 5.5 vs. 5.6-rc1 were benchmarked using the reference binaries from the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA. For this quick article are results from a Threadripper 3970X, AMD EPYC 7742 2P, and Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 2P in distinctly different configurations in seeing if there is any widespread trends as of 5.6-rc1 for these high-end systems.
Threadripper 3970X Linux 5.6

On the Threadripper 3970X system with Corsair Force MP600 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe storage, most of the differences between the kernels came down to I/O.
Threadripper 3970X Linux 5.6

FIO saw several cases where Linux 5.5 was much faster than 5.6-rc1 but there were also a number of FIO test cases where Linux 5.6 was doing better. Most of the other differences on this 3970X system came down to within a few percent differences. All the results in full can be found via this result file.
Threadripper 3970X Linux 5.6

Next up was the dual EPYC 7742 Rome server.
Threadripper 3970X Linux 5.6

It saw a few nice wins when it came to network/socket performance, memory allocations, and like Threadripper did also see a number of different outcomes with the FIO I/O performance. All of that EPYC Rome data via this result file.
Threadripper 3970X Linux 5.6

For the last of this quick one-page article was the dual Xeon Platinum 8280 performance.
Threadripper 3970X Linux 5.6

The Intel two-socket Cascade Lake server did see some FIO results taking up the leaderboard but did see some improvements out of the synthetic Hackbench and Stress-NG tests. There were also some minor losses. To some surprise, in the compilation tests run that make use of GNU Make there didn't end up being much of a difference in compilation speed at least with these high-end systems tested given that Linux 5.6 has the pipe optimization that should help out Make. In any case, more of the Xeon Platinum 8280 benchmarks via this result file while more tests on different systems are still ongoing.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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