Apple macOS Monterey 12 Performance Is Surprisingly Competitive With Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 17 December 2021. Page 1 of 11. 60 Comments

It's been a while since last comparing the Apple macOS performance to Linux since in part because the newer Apple Silicon (M1) hardware isn't yet in good enough shape for performance tests on Linux. But for those wondering about the Intel-powered Macs and how the performance of the latest Linux distributions compare to that of macOS 12 Monterey, here are some benchmarks of the new macOS 12.1 up against Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS, Ubuntu 21.10, and Intel's own Clear Linux.

As it will be a while before the M1-powered Macs are in good enough shape for benchmarking under Linux, this testing was carried out using a 2018 Mac Mini with an Intel Core i7 8700B "Coffee lake" processor with 8GB of RAM, 250GB SSD, and Intel UHD Graphics 630.

Apple's macOS 12.1 on this same Mac Mini was benchmarked against Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS, Ubuntu 21.10, and Intel Clear Linux 35390 for looking at the performance potential. The default system compiler and other out-of-the-box components on each operating system were tested.

Modern Linux distributions on the 2018 Mac Mini are running fairly well when disabling all security options on the Mac as well as using rEFInd as the bootloader. Even with all security options disabled, using the native bootloaders of each Linux distribution for testing hadn't worked but switching to first boot with rEFInd was the easiest solution. Meanwhile Fedora Workstation 35 refused to boot even with rEFInd after the initial installation from USB so that distribution was skipped for testing.

So as the first time looking at macOS vs. Linux performance in a while, let's move on to looking at the Phoronix Test Suite performance across a variety of workloads.

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