With all of the attention on dual core processors lately, it has been real easy to overlook the one application that might benefit more from multiple cores than any other; Linux. OK, so technically Linux isn't an application, but the kernel has supported SMP for nine years almost to the date. The road to SMP has not been an easy one for Linux, but in the last nine years, and particularly since 1999, Linux has received quite the attention as a 2-8 processor core operating system. If you need a reference, just look at how many Linux machines hold SPEC benchmark records in web serving and number crunching.

But does any of this translate to great desktop performance for dual core processors? We are going to look at that question today while also determining whether Intel or AMD is the better suited contender for the Linux desktop. We have some slightly non-traditional (but very replicable) tests we plan on running today that should demonstrate the strengths of each processor family as well as the difference between some similar Windows tests that we have performed in the past on similar configurations. Ultimately, we would love to see a Linux configuration perform the same task as a Windows machine but faster.

Just to recap, the scope of today's exploration will be to determine which configuration offers the best performance per buck on Linux, and whether or not any of these configurations out perform similar Windows machines running similar benchmarks. It becomes real easy to lose the scope of the analysis otherwise. We obtained some reasonably priced dual core Intel and AMD processors for our benchmarks today, and we will also throw in some benchmarks of newer single core chips to give some point of reference.

The Test
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  • sweatshopking - Saturday, May 9, 2009 - link

    maybe we should take the linux tab off the top since nobody has updated since '05....
  • PrincessNybor - Sunday, June 21, 2009 - link

    I was just going to say the same thing. If Anandtech isn't going to cover Linux, then just remove the tab and call it a day. If you are going to even pretend to make Linux a priority, then perhaps at least ONE article per YEAR would be a nice way to start. No articles since 2005 is just embarrassing.

    Ryan offered that Ubuntu article well over a year ago, and has offered nothing but excuses since then. I realize you are all busy, and I don't fault him for anything besides not coming out and saying that Linux isn't a priority at Anandtech.
  • rossmcdonald - Thursday, September 11, 2008 - link

    Didn't AT talk about doing a linux for a month article many months ago?
  • Milleman - Sunday, September 14, 2008 - link

    Yepp! He/they did!
    What happened to that one? They've probably lost it down the drain somewhere. Or is M$ paying them to not favor any other O/S now...? Somehow it seems that AT lost all interrest in Linux. Bad move...
  • forkd - Monday, November 17, 2008 - link

    I agree, Anandtech wasn't a bad source of linux info 'til this article stopped everything.

    I'm not really upset but I am a little disappointed.

    At some point they should take the Linux tab off of the website.

    Years ago I subscribed to for information on products I was considering on purchasing. I quickly realized that most of the articles on things i looked for were out dated by years.

    Of course I never paid for my anandtech subscription so I can't complain about them leaning toward more profitable press.
  • Milleman - Sunday, June 15, 2008 - link


    Is this the latest Linux article from Anand, made 3 years ago...?
    Come on...
  • fstratzero - Saturday, March 22, 2008 - link

    I'd say testing linux is freaking hard to do. I'm a Gentoo linux user.

    And having complied tons of kernels over the years, performance can range greatly in what options you use in your kernel. I found that the CFQ scheduler can hurt performance since it tries to spread out cpu usage evenly between all processes.

    That and also with linux you could assign a single process to a single core. Alternatively you could "nice" the application ie lower priority and still have a really usable system.

    People in our forums will compile stuff on one cpu and use the other for playing games while having tons of crap running in the background, and report their seemingly invincible performance feeling.

    Although I don't know much about Suse, I'd say this review is pretty well done for people that don't "get under the hood." Yet if you do get your hands a little wet with nice and taskset, you can do just about anything and hardly feel a slow down.
  • orbatos - Sunday, November 5, 2006 - link

    Why no Shake vs. Shake, sure 3.5 isn't available, but 3.01(?) would be fine. Where's GIMP on windows? NewTek's LightWave® 3D 7.5b != ScreamerNet 7.5b , Why not go Blender vs. Blender or Maya vs. Maya? Who uses Mozilla Composer as an alternative to Dreamweaver as opposed to the myriad of other available web dev software? Outlook? what about Thunderbird on Windows? XMMS vs. iTunes doesn't make sense, they're different types of applications, try Rhythmbox. WinZip vs. Gzip doesn't make sense, try comparing a GUI tool. MS Office vs. OO.o, at least try the windows versions! If you're comparing workalikes as opposed to the same software, don't compare Nero vs. Nero, the Linux version is terrible.

    Suggestion: WaveLab is a do-all of audio manipulation, not the type of software that has direct analog under Linux, try looking at suites of software that can be used to the same effect all through a similar interface (e.g. JACK). Antivirus? ClamAV sounds decent, did you even look?
  • hojit - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    Has any one pointed out the mod15 error using the sil3112/3114 and the seagate hd's the hardware in the article seems to suggest a conflict on the amd system. I had this same issue and it killed all my speeds for things like transcoding and any thing hd intencive.
  • MarcusAsleep - Saturday, July 9, 2005 - link


    I was just wondering what kernel and kernel settings you were using. Since the article was on multi-tasking it seems especially relevent since the development of low-latency/preemptable options in recent years!

    Any clue?


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