FreeBSD & DragonFlyBSD Put Up A Strong Fight On AMD's Threadripper 2990WX, Benchmarks Against Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 23 August 2018. Page 1 of 5. 17 Comments

The past two weeks I have been delivering a great deal of AMD Threadripper 2990WX benchmarks on Linux as well as some against Windows and Windows Server. But recently I got around to trying out some of the BSD operating systems on this 32-core / 64-thread processor to see how they would run and to see whether they would have similar scaling issues or not like we've seen on the Windows side against Linux. In this article are FreeBSD and DragonFlyBSD benchmarks with the X399 + 2990WX compared to a few Linux distributions.

The BSDs I focused my testing on were FreeBSD 11.2-STABLE and 12.0-CURRENT/ALPHA1 (the version in development) as well as iX System's TrueOS that is tracking FreeBSD 12.0-CURRENT. Also included were DragonFlyBSD, with FreeBSD and DragonFlyBSD being tied as my favorite operating systems when it comes to the BSDs. When it came to FreeBSD 11.2-STABLE and 12.0-ALPHA1 on the Threadripper 2990WX, it worked out surprisingly well. I encountered no real issues during my two days of benchmarking on FreeBSD (and TrueOS). It was a great experience and FreeBSD was happy to exploit the 64 threads on the system.

DragonFlyBSD was a bit of a different story... Last week when I started this BSD testing I tried DragonFly 5.2.2 as the latest stable release as well as a DragonFlyBSD 5.3 development snapshot from last week: both failed to boot in either BIOS or UEFI modes.

But then a few days ago DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon bought himself a 2990WX platform. He made the necessary changes to get DragonFlyBSD 5.3 working and he ended up finding really great performance and potential out of the platform. So I tried the latest DragonFlyBSD 5.3 daily ISO on 22 August and indeed it now booted successfully and we were off to the races. Thus there are some DragonFlyBSD 5.3 benchmarks included in this article too.

Just hours ago, Matthew Dillon landed some 2990WX topology and scheduler enhancements but that fell out of the scope of when DragonFly was installed on this system. But over the weekend or so I plan to re-test DragonFlyBSD 5.3 and see how those optimizations affect the overall 2990WX performance now on that BSD. DragonFlyBSD 5.4 stable should certainly be an interesting release on several fronts!

With FreeBSD 11.2-STABLE and 12.0-ALPHA1 I ran benchmarks when using their stock compiler (LLVM Clang 6.0) as well as GCC 7.3 obtained via GCC 7.3. That was done to rule out compiler differences in benchmarking against the GCC-based Linux distributions. On DragonFlyBSD 5.3 it defaults to the GCC 5.4.1 but via pkg I also did a secondary run when upgraded to GCC 7.3.

The Linux distributions benchmarked for reference were Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS, CentOS 7, and openSUSE Tumbleweed 20180812. Testing of the high performance Clear Linux distribution was left out in this article since it recently transitioned to the Linux 4.18 kernel and has been having issues booting now on the 2990WX system.

The hardware and BIOS/UEFI settings were maintained the same throughout the entire benchmarking process. The system was made up of the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX at stock speeds, the ASUS ROG ZENITH EXTREME motherboard, 4 x 8GB DDR4-3200MHz memory, Samsung 970 EVO 500GB NVMe SSD, and Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics card.

All of these Linux vs. BSD benchmarks were carried out in a fully-automated and reproducible manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking framework.

Related Articles