Running FreeBSD 12.0 With Intel Xeon Scalable Cascade Lake / Gigabyte S451-3R0 Server, Benchmarks Against Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 10 April 2019 at 02:08 PM EDT. Page 1 of 5. 13 Comments.

Over the past week we've been delivering several benchmarks of the new Intel Xeon Scalable "Cascade Lake" processors under Linux with the Platinum 8280 processors. The Linux support and performance is hitting expectations, but what about on the BSDs? I spent some time this week trying out the dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 processors within the Gigabyte S451-3R0 Storage Server. The FreeBSD 12.0 support has been in great shape and in this article are some comparison benchmarks between various Linux distributions and FreeBSD for those curious.

FreeBSD 12.0 installed just fine on the Gigabyte S451-3R0 with the two Xeon Platinum 8280 processors and no troubles at all were encountered during the setup process -- all core functionality from the network controllers to other connectivity "just worked" for this Cascade Lake server.

The FreeBSD support for new Intel server platforms is usually in good shape at launch, especially in cases like Cascade Lake where new motherboards/chipsets aren't warranted, but there's been a few exceptions over the years of some new server hardware not always playing nicely with the existing stable FreeBSD release.

FreeBSD 12.0 was working great and was quickly off to the benchmarking races after setting it up on this 56 core / 112 thread server with 384GB of RAM and Samsung NVMe SSD storage.

I also enjoy benchmarking DragonFlyBSD, but sadly its current release (v5.4.1) as well as its latest daily ISO snapshot as of this week were not working out. There were a lot of errors/slowdowns due to the mpr0 storage driver at boot time, but ultimately DragonFlyBSD seemed to take issue with the USB controller in the install media going undetected and no keyboard/mouse support. So for this article I was just running some benchmarks on FreeBSD 12.0 against various other Linux distributions.

Last week I did post some 6-way Linux OS benchmarks on Cascade Lake featuring Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, Debian, and Clear Linux. For this article was CentOS 7, Clear Linux 28660, openSUSE Leap 15.0, and Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS.

FreeBSD 12.0 Benchmarks - Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 Cascade Lake

All of the Linux distributions and FreeBSD 12.0 were tested out-of-the-box with all available updates. In the case of FreeBSD 12.0, it was tested with its ZFS install option and also runs carried out when using its stock LLVM Clang 6.0.1 compiler and then also when switching over to the GCC 8.3 compiler release, in order to rule out the compiler difference in some of the benchmarks. All of these BSD and Linux benchmarks were carried out in a fully-automated and reproducible manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite.

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