Intel Xeon Cascade Lake Running Even Faster With Clear Linux - Six Linux Operating Systems Benchmarked

Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 5 April 2019 at 12:48 PM EDT. Page 1 of 7. 6 Comments.

Following the initial launch benchmarks earlier this week of the Intel 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable "Cascade Lake" 8280 processors, I proceeded to run some benchmarks of different Linux distributions (operating systems) to ensure the Linux support panned out across the major platforms and while at it also comparing the performance between these different flavors of GNU/Linux. With this powerful Gigabyte Server sporting dual Xeon Platinum 8280 processors for a combined 56 cores / 112 threads, 12 x 32GB DDR4-2933MHz memory, and Samsung NVMe storage, Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS, Ubuntu 19.04 Beta, Fedora 29, CentOS 7, Debian 9.8, and Clear Linux were tested to look at the performance of the brand new Cascade Lake.

Benchmarks looking at the performance (and compatibility) with the BSDs (namely FreeBSD and DragonFlyBSD) are being worked on for next week as well as seeing how the performance compares to Windows Server 2019, but for your viewing pleasure this Friday are some cross-Linux distribution benchmarks from these six operating systems tested this week. The Gigabyte S451-3R0 server platform has been the basis for our Cascade Lake testing thus far with this 4U chassis providing plenty of ventilation while sporting thirty-six SATA/SAS drive bays and dual 1200 Watt 80 PLUS power supplies. With all of the Linux distributions tested thus far, everything has "just worked" fine without any installation woes or other troubles.

Then again, for many years now Intel hardware -- and especially their server/workstation platforms -- have been greeted by great launch-day Linux support. This is especially the case with Cascade Lake supporting existing Xeon Scalable motherboards, etc. From the CPU side, if you are looking forward to "-march=cascadelake" / AVX-512 VNNI targeting, that support is present in the soon-to-be-released GCC 9.1 as one exception. Also for the Intel Optane DC Memory / NVDIMMs, the very latest kernels continue to evolve that support but at the moment we don't have any of the new Optane persistent memory modules for testing to verify. But overall, Linux support shouldn't be an issue for Cascade Lake with any recent major Linux distribution releases.

The operating systems benchmarked using clean installs of each on this powerful Xeon Platinum server included:

Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS - The latest point release of the Ubuntu Bionic Beaver has the Linux 4.18 kernel, GCC 7.3, EXT4 file-system.

Ubuntu 19.04 Beta - This next release of Ubuntu due out later this month is on the Linux 5.0 kernel, GCC 8.2.0, EXT4 file-system.

Fedora Workstation 29 - Fedora 29 with all available updates has the Linux 5.0 kernel, GCC 8.3.1, EXT4 file-system.

CentOS 7 - The CentOS 7 / EL7 installation with current updates is on its patched Linux 4.10 kernel, the very old GCC 4.8.1 kernel, and XFS by default.

Debian 9.8 - While Debian 9 will be replaced by Debian 10 later this year, this current Debian release has the Linux 4.8 kernel, GCC 6.3, and EXT4.

Clear Linux 28660 - Intel's rolling-release Linux distribution has the Linux 5.0 kernel, GCC 8.3.1 by default, and EXT4.

All of these Linux distributions were tested out-of-the-box with the same hardware: 2 x Intel Xeon Platinum 8280, Gigabyte S451-3R0, 384GB of RAM, and Samsung 970 PRO 512GB NVMe SSD storage.

All of these Linux benchmarks of Intel Cascade Lake were carried out using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite.

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