Linux vs. BSD CPU Scaling Up To 20 Threads On The Core i9 7900X
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 28 July 2017. Page 1 of 6. 23 Comments

With Intel's recently-launched Core i9 7900X I have carried out some interesting BSD vs. Linux benchmarks when testing out various distributions and comparing each of them at 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 20 threads on this $999+ USD processor.

As a reminder, the Core i9 7900X has ten physical cores plus Hyper Threading, 3.3GHz base frequency, 4.3GHz turbo frequency, and natively supports DDR4-2666 memory. I ran these tests on each operating system with 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 cores enabled as toggled through the motherboard's BIOS. There was also the full run with 10 cores plus Hyper Threading for showing the full potential of the i9-7900X.

The system stayed the same throughout with the Core i9 7900X, MSI X299 SLI PLUS motherboard, 4 x 4GB DDDR4-3000 Corsair memory, and 240GB Corsair Force MP500 NVMe SSD. Tested operating systems included:

Ubuntu 17.04 - Tests with its Linux 4.10 kernel, GCC 6.3.0, EXT4 file-system.

Fedora 26 - The Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution is running right now with Linux 4.11, GCC 7.1.1, and EXT4 file-system.

Clear Linux - The Intel-developed performance-oriented Linux distribution has the Linux 4.12 kernel, GCC 7.1.1, and is also using EXT4 by default.

TrueOS Stable - The latest stable release of this FreeBSD-derived OS formerly known as PC-BSD. TrueOS stable right now is riding off FreeBSD 12.0-CURRENT, the LLVM Clang 4.0 compiler while GCC 5.4 is there for the non-C/C++ tests, and a ZFS file-system.

DragonFly 4.8 - DragonFlyBSD 4.8 with GCC 5.4.1 and the HAMMER file-system and its other default packages.

FreeBSD 11.1 - The newly-released FreeBSD 11.1 with LLVM Clang 4.0 and an install done using the auto ZFS configuration.

I was going to test more Linux/BSDs, but limited it to these six for this initial scaling comparison due to the immense amount of time already taken with cleanly installing each of these operating systems and then running them at 1/2/4/6/8/10/20 threads. All of the Linux and BSD benchmarks were done each time in a fully-automated and reproducible manner using the Phoronix Test Suite with various multi-threaded benchmarks. Each OS was kept to as close as a stock configuration as possible for showing the real-world/reproducible configuration of each operating system.

If there's enough interest going forward, I may still extend this comparison with a few more operating systems and maybe even Windows 10 with Bash for Windows / Ubuntu on WSL. Let me know in the comments what else you would like to see. And if you enjoy these tests, consider joining Phoronix Premium.

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