9-Way Linux Desktop Distribution Benchmarks With The Intel Core i7 8086K

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 9 July 2018 at 09:49 AM EDT. Page 1 of 5. 10 Comments.

Chances are if you are spending more than $400 USD to have the Intel Core i7 8086K, the limited edition processor that is Intel's first to have a turbo frequency at 5.0GHz (and can easily overclock on all cores to 5.0+ GHz), you probably care a great deal about your system's performance. For squeezing extra performance out of the hardware, there is a wide variety of software optimizations available. Many of those software optimizations can be found within Intel's own Clear Linux distribution as previously shown while for this i7-8086K benchmarking is a look at how nine Linux distributions compare out-of-the-box when tested on this Coffeelake CPU and all CPU cores overclocked to 5.0GHz.

This latest Linux distribution comparison that is largely desktop-focused given the Core i7 CPU under test was done with the i7-8086K with all six cores running at 5.0GHz, the integrated UHD Graphics 630, the ASUS PRIME Z370-A motherboard, 2 x 8GB DDR4-3000 Corsair memory, and a 118GB Intel NVMe SSDPEK1W120GA.

The range of GNU/Linux distributions that were benchmarked out-of-the-box on this speedy Intel desktop system included:

Antergos 18.7-Rolling - The Arch-based Linux distribution popular with desktop users and currently using Linux 4.17, GNOME SHell 3.28.2, and GCC 8.1.

Clear Linux 23530 - Intel's own Linux distribution is currently on the Linux 4.17 kernel, GCC 8.1.1, Mesa 18.2-dev, and is defaulting to the MQ-DEADLINE I/O scheduler. For this NVMe SSD, all of the other Linux distributions except for openSUSE and Clear defaulted to no I/O scheduler but openSUSE/Clear opt for MQ-DEADLINE. Clear Linux also has other out-of-the-box optimizations from PGO/LTO/FMV compiler optimizations, kernel patches, and a range of other optimizations compared to most other Linux distributions out there.

Debian 9.4 - The current stable Debian Stretch release with Linux 4.9 and GCC 6.3. It's also worth noting that Debian 9.4 was the only distribution tested that didn't have Speculative Store Bypass Disable (SSBD) support in its kernel for Spectre V4 mitigation. The other distributions tested had SSBD available and defaulting to prctl/seccomp protection given this Coffeelake system was running the up-to-date Intel CPU microcode.

Debian Buster Testing - The current development version of Debian with Linux 4.16 and GCC 7.3.

Fedora Workstation 28 - The latest F28 packages bring it to Linux 4.17, GCC 8.1.1, and Mesa 18.0.5.

Manjaro 18 Beta - The other Arch-based Linux distribution in this round-up with the Linux 4.16 kernel, GCC 8.1.1, and Mesa 18.1.3.

openSUSE Tumbleweed 20180703 - The current rolling-release of openSUSE with Linux 4.17.3, KDE Plasma 5.13, GCC 8.1.1, and defaults to XFS for the home directory and Btrfs for the root file-system.

Solus 3.9999 - The popular Solus desktop Linux distribution with Linux 4.17.2 and GCC 7.3.0 and Mesa 18.1.1.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS - The current release of Ubuntu Linux with the 4.15 kernel and GCC 7.3 and Mesa 18.0.

On all nine Linux distributions, their performance was benchmarked out-of-the-box after running the latest stable updates. The wide range of benchmarks were carried out in a fully-automated and reproducible manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

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