Windows 10 Outperforming Linux On A ~$5000 Laptop, Ubuntu Beating Clear Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 24 March 2020 at 10:20 AM EDT. Page 9 of 9. 49 Comments.

This Windows vs. Linux benchmarking comparison is the first time in the better part of a decade we have seen Windows consistently performing better than multiple Linux distributions whether it be laptop, desktop, or server hardware. The Linux distributions weren't running into any severe thermal throttling issues (not any more so than the occasional messages we see also from the likes of the Dell XPS notebooks - the ZBook 17 G6 has much better cooling and thicker than most consumer notebooks given its mobile workstation customer target) nor any other signs of trobule. But given Windows performing much better while Intel's own Clear Linux tending to perform the worst, we would have to guess that some wonky power management behavior is going on with Linux on select hardware. But to that there are no clear indicators and spanned all of the Linux distributions tested and their multiple kernel releases and other differences.

HP zBook HP 860C Laptop Windows vs. Linux Comparison

Out of 94 tests run on all six operating systems, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations won 51% of then. Clear Linux won just 17% of the tests while the other four Linux distributions each took first place finishes 9% of the time or less.

HP zBook HP 860C Laptop Windows vs. Linux Comparison

For last place finishes, Clear Linux was the slowest of the six some 42% of the time while Windows 10 was the slowest 27% of the time.

HP zBook HP 860C Laptop Windows vs. Linux Comparison

If taking the geometric mean of all 94 tests, Windows 10 was the fastest overall while Ubuntu 20.04 in its current development state came out slightly ahead of Manjaro and the rest. Windows 10 came out to being just about 4% faster than Ubuntu 20.04 overall but it really depends upon the workloads most important to you for how the operating systems compete.

I'll be trying some fresh Windows 10 vs. Linux benchmarks on a couple more laptops around here as time allows to see if this new Microsoft performance phenomenon is carrying over to more hardware as a result of the newest Windows 10 build or other possible factors irolated to the HP ZBook. Granted, this could also be due to firmware/BIOS changes or other differences among newer hardware coming to market as well that are hurting the Linux potential. Given my resource/time constraints and most often having to purchase laptops for Linux testing (this HP ZBook being a rare exception), if you enjoy the daily Linux benchmarking and would be interested in digging deeper into such a comparison, consider showing your support by joining Phoronix Premium or making a PayPal tip.

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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