The debates on whether GNU / Linux outperforms Windows and conversely they have been with us for many years and can end up twisting almost infinitely because we have two very different operating systems. However, today we are going to expose concrete numbers that represent a still photograph of a certain moment.
As is usual in this type of tickets, we are going to borrow the results from benchmarks conducted by Michael Larabel, the tireless boss of Phoronix and lead developer of the benchmarking of the same name.
Before starting to show the results, we are going to expose the environment in which the tests have been carried out, since there are many points to take into account both at the hardware level and the operating systems used.
Hardware used to compare Linux and Windows 10 performance
- Motherboard: ASUS PRIME X99-A
- CPU: Intel Core i9 7980XE
- RAM: 4 modules of 4GB of DDR4 RAM at 3,200MHz (16GB of RAM in total)
- Data Storage: 500GB Samsung 970 EVO NVME SSD
- Dedicated Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X 12GB of VRAM
Operating systems used with their most basic configuration
- Windows 10 Pro with NT 10.0 kernel and NTFS file system
- CentOS Stream with Linux 4.18 and the XFS filesystem
- Fedora Workstation 30 with Linux 5.2.17 and the EXT4 filesystem
- Manjaro Linux 18.1 with Linux 5.2.11 and the EXT4 filesystem
- Ubuntu 19.04 with Linux 5.3 and the EXT4 filesystem
- openSUSE Tumbleweed with Linux 5.3.1 and the btrfs filesystem
- Debian 10.1 with Linux 4.19 and the EXT4 filesystem
- Clear Linux with Linux 5.3.1 and the EXT4 filesystem
Linux and Windows 10 performance comparison results
The first test was done using the rendering component Intel Embree using the official binaries on all operating systems. Although at general levels all systems perform more or less evenly, Windows 10 Pro is defeated in all cases, while CentOS Stream and Debian 10.1 are vying for the top spot with openSUSE Tumbleweed’s competition. Knowing that Embree is a component of Intel, it is surprising to see Clear Linux not dominating and distributions more focused on stability defeat others oriented to equip next generation software.
With Open Image Demoise, another Intel renderer, Windows 10 Pro is the only system that is not capable of reaching 22 frames per second, although here it seems that distributions that make use of a more recent kernel are winning, with Manjaro 18.1 in the lead.
CentOS Stream is superior to other operating systems when using the rendering engine LuxCoreRender, with a result of 2.97 million samples per second in the DLSC scene and 2.74 million samples in the Rainbow of Colors and Prism scene. The positions of the rest of the systems vary a lot in each test, except that of Windows 10 Pro, which occupies the last place with results of 2.43 and 2.16 million samples per second respectively.
Employing GraphicsMagick we see that CentOS Stream and openSUSE Tumbleweed tie with a result of 338 iterations per minute, both being practically tied simultaneously with Debian 10.1, which obtained a result of 337. The rest of the tested distributions are below, although not significantly , which Windows 10 Pro cannot say as it is the only system that has not reached 300 iterations per minute (255).
With MP3 encoder Lick We see that, now, Clear Linux takes first place with a result of 8.59 seconds, followed by Debian 10.1 (9.34 seconds), Ubuntu 19.04 (9.35 seconds) and CentOS Stream (9.37 seconds). Windows 10 Pro is shown as the only system unable to get below 10 seconds, marking 11.26.
Now it’s the encoder’s turn SVT-AV1, which has been used on supported systems, so this time there are no Fedora Workstation 30 or CentOS Stream. Clear Linux is the clear winner of this test with a result of 5.63 images per second in “Enc Mode 4” and 53.87 images per second in “Enc Mode 8”. For its part, Windows 10 Pro improves its results here, finishing penultimate in “Enc Mode 4” with 5.07 images per second and third in “Enc Mode 8” with 47.29 images per second.
With SVT-HEVC, another encoder, we see how Clear Linux manages to detach itself slightly from the rest by obtaining a result of 92.24 images per second. Ubuntu 19.10 manages to mark just 90 images while the rest is quite even, although with Windows 10 Pro occupying the last place.
As a last plate of evidence we have an old and admired acquaintance of this portal: Blender. In the two tests carried out, it can be seen that CentOS Stream has been the fastest, although closely followed by the rest of the systems, especially in the Barbershop test. Windows 10 Pro is last in both cases, although staying close in BMW27 and somewhat off the hook in Barbershop.
After the great amount of tests, Michael Larabel has published the geometric mean of each of the systems tested, showing CentOS Stream as the winner followed by Debian 10.1 and Windows 10 slightly off the hook from the rest of Linux operating systems.
Conclusion: newer software does not mean better performance
It is curious to see that the systems that have best escaped the tests have been two more oriented to offer stability than last generation software, although CentOS Stream is a peculiar rolling release that is halfway between Fedora and RHEL, offering a platform of testing for future releases of the last mentioned distribution. The results obtained by Debian 10.1 are also noteworthy.
On the other hand, it is surprising to see Ubuntu not falling below its mother distribution and CentOS Stream, but it has also been surpassed by openSUSE Tumbleweed, Clear Linux and Manjaro Linux 18.1. Will having probably more items loaded by default hurt Windows 10 Pro and Ubuntu? We will see if Windows 10 Update 19H2 manage to reverse this situation.