The Test
Testing our dual core Linux system will be done in the same manner as Anand's tests from several weeks ago. There are various test applications that are not exactly drop in compatible between Linux and Windows, but in many instances there are some extremely practical similarities in which it would make more sense to run a Linux application over the Windows alternative. For example, Apple's Shake will only run on Mac OSX or Linux - leaving Windows out in the cold.

Today's benchmarking will be a little different than Linux benchmarks we have done in the past. While we are still keeping strict usage controls and assuring that our benchmarks are 100% replicable, we are also looking more at the quality of performance rather than just the raw numbers. A fluid experience on a Linux machine that is slightly slower than a sporadic Windows alternative would be a design win for Linux - at least in our opinion. Naturally, since we have some very nice processors from Intel and AMD, we can do a slightly more traditional comparison of each of those processors against each other in the various scenarios. Using the applications list Anand set forward in his original benchmarks, we attempted to compile a list of commercial and FOSS Linux software to use for Linux.

Windows Application

Linux Application

Adobe® Photoshop® 7.0.1

The Gimp 2.3.1

No suggestions yet

Apple Shake 3.5c

Macromedia® Dreamweaver MX 6.1

Mozilla Composer 1.7.8

Microsoft® Windows MediaTM

MPlayer 1.0pre7

Encoder 9 Version (Video)

MEncoder 1.0pre7, CCE

Encoder 9 Version (Audio)

lame 3.96.1


XMMS 1.2.10

NewTek's LightWave® 3D 7.5b

ScreamerNet 7.5b

WinZip 8.1

Gzip 1.2.4

VC++ Compilation

GCC 3.3.4

Pro/E Wildfire

Pro/E Wildfire

Outlook 2003

Mozilla Thunderbird 1.7.8

Microsoft Office/Word/Excel 2003

OpenOffice 1.1.4

Firefox 1.0.2

FireFox 1.0.4

Nero Burning ROM 6


DVD Shrink

DVD Backup 0.1.1, dvd::rip



Macromedia® Director MX 9.0

No suggestions yet

SteinbergTM WaveLabTM 4.0f

No suggestions yet

Norton AntiVirus 2004

No Suggestions yet

Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta

No Suggestions yet

Some of the suggestions we have made above are more the subject of personal preference than absolutes. There are some loose alternatives for Shake on Windows, but there are also some loose alternatives for WaveLab and Director on Linux as well. The idea is that we want to construct a few multi-threaded benchmarks that emulate the usage of real Linux power users. Below are the seven benchmarks we have outlined our six benchmarks to use in this analysis and why we picked them. We won't be using all of the software from the list above, but the intention is that we will for future benchmarks.

  • Multitasking Scenario 1: DVD Transcoding - We will rip a DVD while using moderate usage from web browsing, music and newsgroups. This is very comparable to Anand's original Windows benchmark found here.
  • Multitasking Scenario 2: File Compression - We will compress some text files for backup while running a few base applications at the same time. This is also extremely comparable to Anand's original Windows benchmark found here.
  • Multitasking Scenario 3: Web Browsing - Here we attempt to utilize an extremely large load of web browsers while also doing some typical background applications. This is also very similar to Anand's original benchmark.
  • Multitasking Scenario 4: DVD Burning - Using the same benchmark as the DVD Ripping, we will now burn a DVD instead. Since the DVD burn is typically limited by the burn speed of the hardware, we will compress a file as our benchmark.
  • Gaming Multitasking Scenario 1: Heavy Downloading - We will use several BitTorrent clients at once while benchmarking Doom 3.
  • Gaming Multitasking Scenario 2: Compiling and Gaming - We will time the compilation of the Linux Kernel and GCC during a Neverwinter Nights session.

We tried to select benchmarks that were a combination of maximum load benchmarks with benchmarks that we can evaluate on quality. For example, compression and Doom3 are easy to quantify in time or FPS since they will utilize as much of the system as possible. Secondary operations like web browsing and playing music will induce load on the system and we will hopefully see really positive results on dual core configurations if the Linux scheduler is doing its job.

Index The Hardware
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  • juhl - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    I see that "Norton AntiVirus 2004" is listed with "No Suggestions yet" in the "Linux Application" column. I'd like to make a suggestion : ClamAV - ClamAV is a very capable free virus scanner that runs on Linux - check it out at
  • Hacp - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    He clearly stated that this test was based on the best bang for the buck. For all of you who wanted to see tests with higher end processors, you should have stopped reading the article and waited for one that met your needs. Don't complain and ask for stuff that the article was not designed to inform us about.
  • fishbits - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    Why bother to test the 840 D and draw no conclusions about it? And can you at least fix the price you quote in the one-sided swipe at the X2? I've given up on your explaining why the price of the 840 isn't also "paying through the nose," but at least fix the obvious error either in the text or the price list above it.

    "we have left a lot of not-so-subtle hints as to our feelings concerning performance between the two"
    Ah, you were talking about Windows and Linux there. Fits for CPUs too in this case.
  • semo - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    listen up

    everyone who needs the anandtech next gen console articles just email me. i printed them out to read in the bus/train and i can make some scans.
  • Avalon - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    You guys need to remember that this is Linux, so for everyone out there hollering that this article contradicts all the others out there that you read, all the others out there that you did read were most likely Windows based.
  • DrMrLordX - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    I agree that including only the X2 4200+ is a mistake. For ages, we saw benchmarks of new AMD cpus vs every Intel proc in the field, regardless of price. Kubicki shows up and insists on culling all AMD cpus from the lineup except one priced similarly(or even priced lower than) the Intel offerings in the test. I remember his initial, and rather controversial, article in which he did Linux benchmarks with a 3.6 ghz P4 vs a A64 3500+ Newcastle. Stupid! Where's the 4400+ and 4800+? If you don't have the hardware, DON'T DO THE REVIEW. If AMD has superior processors out at a much higher price, that's because AMD has better chips right now, and they damn well ought to be included in the review as well. Throw in an 840EE if you're so inclined.

    FURTHERMORE, where are the single-app tests and dual-app tests? All we have are contrived multitasking tests. This is about 1/3rd of the entire content of Anandtech's initial X2 review in a Windows environment. The Pentium Ds don't look so great when you put them into a scenario in which it's running one or two apps alone. Funny how Kubicki neglected to run any such tests in this article.

    This article has too little hardware, and too few tests. Thumbs down.
  • KristopherKubicki - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    Where do you see that? It should be 3.3.4

  • allanw - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    gcc3.4.5? That doesn't even exist! :)
  • xtknight - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    #39 - I meant why?
  • KristopherKubicki - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    xtknight: Yes.


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