An Initial Look At The IBM POWER9 4-Core / 16-Thread CPU Performance On The Blackbird
Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 1 July 2019. Page 3 of 3. 42 Comments

The LLVM compilation speed was comparable in this case to the Ryzen 5 2400G.

In other applications like LAME MP3 that are single-threaded we see the x86_64 CPUs performing better at least until seeing more IBM POWER9 support/optimizations in upstream programs.

Dav1d is another workload that could benefit from POWER9 tuning.

So at worst in software packages not being tuned for POWER, there were cases of the 4-core POWER9 processor falling behind the quad-core x86_64 parts like the Ryzen 3. In workloads that had been tested/tuned for POWER, the 4-core POWER9 processor was competitive with the Intel/AMD processors of similar core counts. Of course, the IBM POWER9 4-core at $375 USD is at a premium over the Intel/AMD processors of similar specs, but that is a cost to be had for processors manufactured in New York and open-source that to the extent when paired with the Raptor Blackbird or Talos II can allow a fully libre/open-source system down to the firmware. Additional Blackbird Linux benchmarks will be coming in soon.

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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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