Multitasking Scenario 1: DVD Transcoding

Ripping DVDs on Linux is one of the applications Linux really does well at - if you don't mind getting past the pretty GUI of DVD Shrink or a similar application. Ripping DVDs in general is fairly common for any desktop regardless of OS, and checking mail while ripping a disc can inflict havoc sometimes. The following test attempts to mirror Anand's Windows benchmarks on Linux and is very comparable to the Windows alternatives.

  1. Open FireFox 1.0.4 and load all 5 web pages. We chose 5 pre-downloaded pages from various sites like AnandTech, CNN and ESPN
  2. Open XMMS and start playing a Nine Inch Nails CD ripped to Ogg
  3. Open Thunderbird for news
  4. Login to our news server and start downloading headers for our subscribed news groups
  5. Open dvd::rip
  6. Start backup of Star Wars Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. All default settings

Again the emphasis is not particularly whether or not one system is capable of finishing the DVD backup faster than the other, but whether or not the system is still useable while doing so. We might be pushing the load of our system a bit far - but a machine that can rip DVDs fast but can't play music at the same time is effectively useless to us. Like Anand's test, the vob files were already placed on the hard drive to eliminate the DVD drive bottleneck. We have instructed dvd::rip to reduce our vobs from 7.5GB with transcoding to 4.5GB.

Although the load from our other application is not substantial, the combination of several low intensity applications and the introduction of a maximum load application (dvd::rip) end up bringing our single core platforms to a halt. The results of this benchmark were eerily similar to Anand's Windows benchmark, and the same culprits are pretty much to blame. Even if Linux might have a leg up on Windows' scheduler, no amount of clever preempting can beat a second processor core.

The Hardware Multitasking Scenario 2: File Compression
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • 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?


Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now