FreeBSD vs. Linux Scaling Up To 128 Threads With The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 20 February 2020. Page 1 of 5. 37 Comments

Last week I looked at the Windows vs. Linux scaling performance on the Threadripper 3990X at varying core/thread counts followed by looking at the Windows 10 performance against eight Linux distributions for this $3990 USD processor running within the System76 Thelio Major workstation. Now the tables have turned for our first look at this 64-core / 128-thread processor running on the BSDs, FreeBSD 12.1 in particular. With this article is looking at the FreeBSD 12.1 performance and seeing how the performance scales compared to Ubuntu 20.04 Linux and the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 based CentOS Stream.

As my first encounter with FreeBSD 12.1 on the Threadripper 3990X and System76 Thelio Major workstation for that matter, the experience was pleasant. There were no issues in getting this high-end desktop/workstation running on FreeBSD 12.1-RELEASE with it working nicely out of the box not just for the Zen 2 based 64-core Threadripper but for network connectivity and other aspects of the system. No issues and great to see! FreeBSD 12.1 has generally been running nicely with the AMD Zen 2 systems we have tried so far.

I also wanted to run DragonFlyBSD on the Threadripper 3990X, but sadly there the system failed to boot. Both DragonFlyBSD stable and the latest daily ISO were unable to boot with the Threadripper 3990X, though not too surprising as with other Threadripper 3900 series processors I have also run into issues with DragonFlyBSD. Hopefully DragonFlyBSD will get its AMD support improved in the near-term, but at least FreeBSD 12.1 is running nicely.

FreeBSD 12.1 was benchmarked both with its default LLVM Clang 8.0.1 compiler and also switching to GCC 9.2.0 for using a GNU-based toolchain to match what was being tested by CentOS and Ubuntu. A daily snapshot of Ubuntu 20.04 was tested with the Linux 5.4 kernel and GCC 9.2.1. Running the RHEL-based CentOS Stream was also carried out with its Linux 4.18 kernel and GCC 8.3.1 based toolchain.

The same system was used throughout all of the testing with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X at stock speeds, 4 x 32GB DDR4-3000 Corsair memory, Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics, and all within the gorgeous System76 Thelio Major chassis.

Via the Phoronix Test Suite various Linux/BSD multi-threaded benchmarks were carried out while from the UEFI BIOS toggling the Threadripper 3990X to run at 16 cores, 32 cores, 48 cores, 64 cores, and the 64 cores plus SMT default configuration for seeing how FreeBSD 12.1 is scaling against CentOS Stream and Ubuntu Linux.

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