Windows 11 Better Than Linux Right Now For Intel Alder Lake Performance
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 12 November 2021. Page 9 of 9. 67 Comments

Out of 104 benchmarks I ran on Windows 11 and the various Linux distributions, Windows 11 was in first place for 45% of those benchmarks... Certainly not something we are used to seeing out of Windows with Intel desktop hardware. Clear Linux came in first of the Linux distributions with wins 35% of the time while the rest each racked up wins less than 10% of the time.

Meanwhile Windows 11 was in last place just 23% of the time, an abnormally low figure compared to what we are used to seeing out of Windows...

When taking the geometric mean of all 104 benchmarks, Windows 11 did carry a measurable first place lead over the other Linux distributions.

Meanwhile it was just last month with the prior generation Core i9 11900K Rocket Lake showing Linux having a sizable lead over Windows 11. With Alder Lake, the tables have completely turned in favor of Windows. That is at least until Intel has better optimized the Linux kernel for their hybrid architecture. To date they have not posted any Thread Director patches for the Linux kernel nor have we seen any other major CPUFreq / power management related optimizations or the like for Alder Lake.

Further showing signs of problems was the high run-to-run variance under Linux exhibited on a number of the benchmarks where clearly there is some unfortunate P vs. E core behavior happening under Linux. Hopefully Intel will be able to get more optimized Alder Lake patches out soon but already it's now too late for seeing in the Linux 5.16 cycle and thus the earliest it would be mainline could be in Linux 5.17 and that already will be cutting it close for the spring 2022 Linux distribution releases.

These tests also showed Linux 5.16 regressing the performance compared to Linux 5.15 stable and the geometric mean also reaffirming that with the last place finish there. Looking at that Linux 5.16 performance regression is on my length TODO list and confirming on other hardware if it's something Alder Lake specific or just yet another Linux performance regression.

For further summing up the Windows 11 vs. Linux performance on Alder Lake, pulling out the Dell XPS 9310 with Core i7 1165G7 Tiger Lake, I repeated the Windows 11 Pro vs. Ubuntu 21.10 benchmarking there with the similar set of tests and software stack.

Just like with the recent Rocket Lake benchmarking on Windows 11, Linux was leading. In this complementary Tiger Lake testing, Ubuntu 21.10 was in first place over Windows 11 for 75% of the benchmarks.

As I have been showing since the Alder Lake launch day earlier this month, the Core i5 12600K and Core i9 12900K performance under Linux can be quite good and competitive with AMD Ryzen on Ubuntu and other distributions. However, as shown by these benchmarks there is more uplift possible still under Linux if Intel gets their Thread Director support in order and should also take care of the higher run-to-run variance now exhibited under Linux and not Windows 11. Stay tuned to Phoronix for learning more about the ongoing Alder Lake developments and performance under Linux.

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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 or contacted via

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