The Fastest Linux OS For AMD Ryzen Zen 3? It's Still Intel Clear Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 22 December 2020. Page 6 of 6. 22 Comments
Ryzen 9 5900X Clear Linux vs. Other Distributions

Just over 100 tests were successfully run on all six Linux distributions under test with the Ryzen 9 5900X. Clear Linux was in first place for about 60% of those tests followed by Debian Testing taking the top spot for 14% of those tests and then Manjaro 20.2 with 10% of the wins.

Ryzen 9 5900X Clear Linux vs. Other Distributions

Coming in last place most often was openSUSE Tumbleweed with being in the last spot 39% of the time and then Fedora Workstation 33 in last 24% of the time. Clear Linux was in last place for just two of the 107 tests.

Ryzen 9 5900X Clear Linux vs. Other Distributions

If taking the geometric mean of all 107 tests, Clear Linux was about 15% faster than the other Linux distributions tested in their out-of-the-box / stock configuration for this comparison atop the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X. This doesn't come at all surprising to us given the past successes we have seen with AMD CPUs on Clear Linux, but just fun to see it still being in good shape for Zen 3 and after Clear Linux has been divesting their desktop interests. Fedora Workstation 33 meanwhile was in last place for the geometric mean average.

Those wanting to look at all 100+ test results can find them via this result file.

So as far as the out-of-the-box/default Linux performance is concerned, Intel's open-source Clear Linux is still leading on AMD hardware at the end of 2020. Granted, the other Linux distributions can be modified to some extent to help achieve similar performance in some areas such as by tuning the CPU frequency scaling governor, compiler flags, and other basics, but as shown in previous comparisons Clear Linux still does a lot more than that with their various patches, auto feedback directed optimization for some of their package builds, and other tuning for accelerating the likes of PHP and Python that involve more changes than simply throwing a few switches. Outside of the raw out-of-the-box performance, the desktop package options and support periods are other considerations as well to keep in mind when choosing a Linux distribution for any new Linux desktop system.

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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via