A Quick Bit about the Operating Systems

The only truly free operating systems that we are running for these benchmarks are the two Fedora Core 2 distributions. Linux savvy readers may criticize our lack of Gentoo or some other non-RPM based distribution. Unfortunately, we had difficulties running our new hardware platform on Gentoo and Debian. Undoubtedly, when we revisit 64-bit operating systems in two or three months, we will have better luck.

Fedora Core 2 has a funny name, but we formerly knew it as RedHat. RedHat used to be the Linux choice of novice and experts alike, but has since faded into more of a server OS than a home user solution. Fedora, Red Hat's "free" attempt to recapture their market from Mandrake, tends to have excellent support, since RedHat is still the goliath in the Linux community as far as driver support is concerned (inventing RPM had something to do with this). For this reason, we have high expectations for Fedora.

SuSE, on the other hand, feels like it has been around forever. The German RPM based distribution was the first to have full blown AMD64 support, although we should be warned that this support does not come free. The Professional version of SuSE 9.1 (which we used in this analysis) carries a $90 price tag. Unfortunately, you can't even try the Personal version of SuSE 9.1 without forking the $90 because the Personal edition does not ship with a x86-64 kernel. Update Apparently, you can find Free ISOs for the x86-64 Pro version, but the Pro version we used direct from the SuSE website retails for $89.95.

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  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, July 12, 2004 - link

    tsadowski: Its actually pretty clean. I wouldnt compare it to Gentoo at all. Thats probably also why it has an RPM repository - so you CAN work with it out of the box.

  • tsadowski - Monday, July 12, 2004 - link

    I find it interesting that you test Fedora Core 2 and expect it all to just work perfectly. Is Fedora not the bleeding edge code, hack it yourself, hobbyist version of RedHat? Not unlike Gentoo? To expect it to just work "out of the box" without some hacking is foolish at least, and at worst perhaps an intentional attempt to slander Fedora/Redhat? I have played around with Fedora Core 1 and while I wouldn't say that it is the best distro I have ever used. I wouldn't bad mouth it without acknowleging it's hackerish, homebrewish nature either!
  • jspaleta - Monday, July 12, 2004 - link

    along with the flags, the specific versions that you compiled would be good to know. Actually since its compiled I would be interested to know if you had to install/compile any additional build requirements beyond what is available in Fedora Core as well.

    I would also be interesting if you could rerun the
    lame encoding benchmark against the lame build currently available in the stable x86_64 fc2 rpm.livna.org repo, as a comparison.

  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, July 12, 2004 - link

    #8, 14: lame and mplayer are compiled. I will get the exact flags and details posted soon.

    #8 again: SuSE gives you two options for installing the drivers - manually, as we did or via YAST. I just chmod 0 /usr/X11R6/bin/X, ctrl-alt-backspace and then run the driver. You can also hit F2 during startup and tell it to go into "failsafe" mode.

    #10: Thanks Matt, id like to work closer with MS to get that. I have a feeling Intel's compiler will show up for x86_64 soon, being as nocona is available now.

  • jspaleta - Monday, July 12, 2004 - link

    I would like to know from where the reviewers
    got fedora binaries for memcoder, mplayer and lame for fedora core. These untilies do NOT come as part of Fedora Core, are not built by the Fedora Core buildsytem, and can be obtained from a number of different repositories. I would personally like to know if different builds of mplayer/mencoder/lame from different locations experience different results.

  • lopri - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link


  • Term - Monday, July 12, 2004 - link

    Out-of-the-box the video-drivers for Linux from NVidia have Fast Writes disabled, but you have enabled it right?

    damn good article btw
    // Term
  • Possessed Freak - Monday, July 12, 2004 - link

    Errors on graphs:

    Why are the key color orders reversed. Shouldn't red/64bit be on top in the key?

    Why does the order of the OS's change seemingly randomly in the graphs? I thought it might deal with performance, but I could not see a relation.

    Regardless, good article.
  • LostInSpace927 - Monday, July 12, 2004 - link

    I am thinking someone needs to a little research before typing an article.
    "Unfortunately, you can't even try the Personal version of SuSE 9.1 without forking the $90 because the Personal edition does not ship with a x86-64 kernel."
    I downloaded SuSE 9.1 free od charge from www.linuxISO.com.
    All the longer it took me to find this was a few seconds googling.
  • Matthew Daws - Monday, July 12, 2004 - link

    To say that there is no 64-bit compiler for Win64 is slightly untrue: a CPUID.com article uses a beta VC++ 8.0 from the "Microsoft DDK for Windows Server 2003" CD. Sadly, it produces awful code from C++ and cannot optimise less common FPU functions. So, in that sense, there isn't a compiler capable of compiling a whole application: simple benchmarks are possible though (and show 5-35% speed increase, due to more registers mainly).

    Thanks for a good article! --Matt

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