Running Intel's Clear Linux On AMD EPYC Rome? Still Significant Performance Uplift Over Ubuntu

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 5 September 2019. Page 1 of 6. 19 Comments

The current AMD EPYC 7742 2P benchmarking that is happening at Phoronix is an interesting Linux/BSD operating system performance comparison. That's in the works while so far are some Ubuntu and Clear Linux numbers. Yes, Intel's open-source Clear Linux platform does run fine generally on AMD hardware -- including the new AMD "Rome" processors -- and generally does still run damn fast. Here is a look at Clear Linux on this 128 core / 256 thread server with Clear Linux against Ubuntu 19.04 as well as the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10.

To the surprise of many in the community, Intel's Clear Linux operating system generally works fine on AMD hardware while retaining many of the performance benefits compared to general purpose Linux distributions. About the extent of Clear Linux issues on AMD hardware I have personally encountered are sometimes NVMe SSDs not being detected, mostly due to power management quirks between the chipset and various power management tuning done by Intel's open-source team, but with time they have rectified those issues. One issue currently encountered is Clear Linux not detecting the PCI Express 4.0 Corsair Force MP600 SSD on AMD Ryzen 3000 + X570 setups, but I'll have some similar Ryzen tests with a PCIe 3 SSD there in the days ahead.

When it came to installing the latest Clear Linux snapshot on the AMD Daytona reference platform with two of the top-tier EPYC 7742 processors, it was a trouble-free experience. There were no issues in detecting the network adapters, solid-state drives, or other compatibility issues with this AMD EPYC Rome reference server and using Intel's optimized Linux platform.

Ubuntu Linux vs. Clear Linux - AMD EPYC 7742 2P

The benchmarks today from this server are of Ubuntu 19.04, Ubuntu 19.10 daily, and Clear Linux 30940. The current daily snapshot of Ubuntu 19.10 is running with the Linux 5.2 kernel, GCC 9.2.1, and continues using EXT4 by default. This current Ubuntu 19.10 state is similar to Intel's Clear Linux rolling-release distribution also on Linux 5.2 and GCC 9.2.1 as some of the key components, more information via the system table. Benchmarks of openSUSE Leap, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, and other enterprise Linux distributions are still being conducted with today's focus just being on Clear Linux against Ubuntu.

Via the Phoronix Test Suite I ran 79 different benchmarks for seeing how Clear Linux performs on this AMD Zen 2 dual socket server.

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