Ubuntu vs. Arch Linux On The ASUS ROG Strix G15 / Ryzen 9 5900HX

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 25 July 2021. Page 1 of 2. 56 Comments

This past week were the initial Linux benchmarks of the Ryzen 9 5900HX with the ASUS ROG Strix G15 laptop. Ubuntu was used as the default test platform as usual given its popularity and arguably the most relevant Linux distribution to use given that it's the most common Linux distribution at the moment for preloads on laptops by multiple vendors. In any case, as usual many users were quick to say "but Arch Linux!" as if it was going to make a dramatic difference in my findings. Well, here are some Ubuntu 21.04 versus Arch Linux benchmarks on that AMD Advantage laptop.

As pointed out in that prior article, the main issues with the ASUS ROG Strix G15 on Linux revolve around the keyboard acting up (triggering shutdown events on any key press) and the MediaTek WiFi not working. Both issues are resolved with the Linux 5.13 stable series or Linux 5.14 at the moment for system suspend/resume due to a MediaTek WiFi driver issue otherwise. When discovering those issues and moving to the newer kernel, Ubuntu was working fine on this modern laptop with the exciting Ryzen 9 5900HX processor with Radeon RX 6800M discrete graphics. While Canonical sadly doesn't move to new major kernel versions post-release, Linux 5.13+ for exciting Ubuntu releases can be easily obtained via the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA for those not wanting to compile your own kernel or use one of the third-party kernel options.

When pointing out those issues in the former article, numerous Phoronix readers were quick to encourage Arch Linux. Yes, Arch Linux is up to using the Linux 5.13 kernel and others that are rolling release distributions or like Fedora where they will ship major new versions post-release. Though in the case of the likes of Fedora with un-updated install media it still leads to a similar out-of-the-box experience to Ubuntu on this laptop until updating. Some also firmly believed that Arch Linux would perform much better on this laptop than Ubuntu and drawing connections based on Valve using Arch Linux for the forthcoming Steam Deck, among other beliefs.

Ubuntu vs. Arch Linux On Ryzen 9 5900HX

As the plan was to do a multi-distribution comparison with time anyhow on the ROG Strix G15, I fired up some Arch Linux benchmarks after the Ubuntu 21.04 + Linux 5.13 tests... Benchmarks/tests against other Linux distributions on this high-end AMD laptop still forthcoming.

The Arch Linux experience on this laptop went fine with its usage of the Linux 5.13 kernel and was otherwise just like the Ubuntu experience after having moved to Linux 5.13. But for all those emphasizing that Arch Linux would have performed better, here are a few benchmarks for you.

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