DragonFlyBSD 5.4 & FreeBSD 12.0 Performance Benchmarks, Comparison Against Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 5 December 2018. Page 1 of 7. 3 Comments

Coincidentally the DragonFlyBSD 5.4 release and FreeBSD 12.0 lined up to be within a few days of each other, so for an interesting round of benchmarking here is a look at DragonFlyBSD 5.4 vs. 5.2.2 and FreeBSD 12.0 vs. 11.2 on the same hardware as well as comparing those BSD operating system benchmark results against Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS, Clear Linux, and CentOS 7 for some Linux baseline figures.

DragonFlyBSD 5.4 introduced NUMA optimizations, upgrading from GCC5 to GCC8 as the base compiler, HAMMER2 file-system improvements, and many other enhancements built up over the past half-year.

FreeBSD 12.0 meanwhile has upgraded its default LLVM Clang compiler, improves support for Threadripper/Ryzen 2 processors, deprecates many of its 10/100 network drivers, ext2fs now provides full read/write support for EXT4, a lot of new hardware support, and other improvements. FreeBSD 12.0 should be officially announced within the next few days while for the purposes of this testing was using 12.0-RC3, which is effectively the final build aside from any last-minute fixes.

Testing of these BSDs and Linux distributions were done on the same system (obviously) and consisted of an Intel Core i9 7980XE (18 cores / 36 threads at stock speeds), ASUS PRIME X299-A motherboard, 4 x 4GB DDR4-3200 memory, 240GB Corsair Force MP510 NVMe SSD, and GeForce GTX TITAN X graphics card. The operating systems were kept "out of the box" as much as possible to represent the default experience users will see in their vendor-supplied state. Highlights of the operating systems tested:

DragonFlyBSD 5.2.2 - The previous stable release of DragonFly, which shipped with the GCC 5.4.1 compiler and was installed with HAMMER2.

DragonFlyBSD 5.4.0 - The newly-minted DragonFlyBSD update that switches over to GCC 8.1 and many other updates in the process, including more mature HAMMER2 support.

FreeBSD 11.2 - The stock 11.2-RELEASE setup with ZFS and using the default Clang 6 compiler.

FreeBSD 12.0 - The RC3 release was tested with its default Clang 6.0.1 compiler and ZFS file-system.

FreeBSD 12.0 + GCC8 - While the FreeBSD camp remains steadfast with using LLVM/Clang over GCC, for those wondering how the performance changes when switching over to GCC, a secondary run was used with GCC 8.2 installed.

CentOS 7.6 - The current community RHEL7 release with its Linux 3.10 based kernel, GCC 4.8.5 compiler, and XFS file-system.

Clear Linux 26670 - Intel's open-source Linux distribution that often sets the gold standard for Linux performance thanks to its many optimizations from patching of various packages to compiler tuning to a lot of tweaking for yielding incredible performance potential without much work/time by its users. Clear Linux 26670 relies upon Linux 4.19 and GCC 8.2.1 with the EXT4 file-system.

Ubuntu 18.04.1 - The current Ubuntu LTS release with Linux 4.15, GCC 7.3, and EXT4 file-system.

Coming up later this month will be a larger Linux vs. BSD server benchmark comparison done on dual-socket Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC hardware, which will include a more diverse range of distributions, with the purpose of this comparison on the Core i9 just to get an idea for the DragonFlyBSD/FreeBSD performance changes out of their new releases and a few Linux distributions for reference.

All of these BSD and Linux distribution benchmarks were carried out in a fully-automated and reproducible manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.



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