macOS 10.12 Sierra vs. Ubuntu 16.04 Linux Benchmarks
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 28 September 2016. Page 7 of 7. 75 Comments

When running the PostgreSQL database server with the Macbook Air, macOS was much faster. Here with the Mac Mini and HDD storage, the mostly RAM test had macOS still running ahead while the on-disk tests showed similar performance between the operating systems. The fastest on-disk result was actually with the Clang-built binary on Ubuntu Linux.

And lastly the basic OpenGL test case...

Similar to the HD Graphics 5000 on the MacBook Air, the Iris 5100 graphics on the Mac Mini were fastest on Ubuntu 16.04 with its stock Mesa driver. It's nice to see at least the macOS Sierra OpenGL performance did improve over OS X 10.10/10.11.

Well, those are the results when testing macOS 10.12 Sierra and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on my two available modern Mac systems, the Haswell-based MacBook Air and Mac Mini.

For the most part the results weren't too unexpected. Overall, the performance of macOS Sierra and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS were relatively close on these two Apple systems. There were though a number of outliers where some tests prefer GCC to LLVM/Clang (but then again, also some tests that did better with Clang) and then a few cases that were outright interesting and could be worth exploring by those with more time available. Some of the more interesting results were the good PostgreSQL numbers out on macOS and good SQLite performance while struggling in the other disk/file-system tests due to the journaled HFS+ file-system. The timed compilation with ImageMagick also favored macOS over Ubuntu with GCC or Clang. Ubuntu Linux was also much faster in the OpenGL performance now for Haswell, at least with the limited test case available.

If you found these macOS Sierra vs. Linux benchmark results interesting, please consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium or making a PayPal tip (or at the very least to please not be an ad-blocker as that's the primary way Phoronix is able to continue), if you are not already a supporter, in order to be able to afford some newer Mac systems for comparison as well as investing more time in porting more test profiles for macOS benchmarking compatibility with Linux. If there's enough support, I could also arrange a macOS vs. Linux vs. BSD comparison while using a few Linux/BSD distributions.

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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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