Debian 7 Through Debian Testing Benchmarks With/Without Mitigations
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 22 January 2020. Page 1 of 9. 8 Comments

As part of our many Linux benchmarks in ending out the 2010s we ran tests looking at CentOS 6 through CentOS 8, seven years of Ubuntu Linux performance, and various other Linux distribution benchmarks and testing other important pieces of open-source software over time. One of the additional comparisons now wrapped up is looking at the performance of Debian GNU/Linux going back from the old 7 series through the current 10 stable series and also Debian Testing. Tests where relevant were done out-of-the-box with the default security mitigations and again with mitigations disabled.

The Debian GNU/Linux benchmarking comparison ended up looking like:

- Debian 7.11 + No Mitigations
- Debian 8.11
- Debian 8.11 + No Mitigations
- Debian 9.11
- Debian 9.11 + No Mitigations
- Debian 10.2
- Debian 10.2 + No Mitigations
- Debian Testing
- Debian Testing + No Mitigations

In the case of Debian 7, it never was back-ported with the relevant security mitigations. In the case of the other releases they were first tested out-of-the-box and then again after booting the system with "mitigations=off" to disable the relevant Intel CPU security mitigations.

In order to maintain hardware compatibility going back to the Debian 7 series on the old Linux 3.2 kernel, a vintage Intel system was used for testing: the Intel Core i7 990X with MSI X58M motherboard, 12GB of RAM, PNY CS1211 SATA SSD, and Radeon HD 5450 graphics. The Core i7 990X Gulftown processor is a six core / twelve thread processor from 2011 with a 3.46GHz base frequency and 3.73GHz turbo frequency, which played nicely going back to the Debian 7 series.

Via the Phoronix Test Suite dozens of benchmarks were carried out in looking at the Debian GNU/Linux performance over time.

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