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HP World: Wizards and Windows: XP and Linux Go Head to Head on Two HP OmniBook 6000s

Feb 13, 2002, 03:04 (34 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jack Fegreus)
"With both laptop systems configured, lab personnel were ready to calibrate the OmniBook's base CPU, memory and streaming I/O performance under each OS. Technicians began with their CPU benchmark, which executes 34 numerically intensive kernels, both integer and floating point. The results here were very much in line with OpenBench Labs' first tests of the Linux 2.4 kernel near the beginning of the year.

At that time, HP found the performance gap between Linux and Windows 2000 to have been closed to about 18 percent from previous observations, which had been in the range of 20 to 25 percent. Once again, the difference between the geometric means for the 34 kernels was on the order of 18 percent, with Windows XP Pro clocking in at 240 and SuSE 7.3 clocking in at 203. Nonetheless, within a 95 percent confidence interval, performance was almost identical. This is a function of more variability in performance among the 34 kernels when run on Linux. The variability is especially prevalent on the high end since a number of kernels execute significantly faster on Linux than Windows XP.

On SuSE 7.3, technicians utilized a logical volume formatted with the Reiser File System (ReiserFS), which is a journaled, extent-based file system. In theory, a journaled file system should have an edge in performance when checking the file during boot-up and when issuing writes. Reads are supposedly more vulnerable to degradation due to fragmentation of the extents. Nonetheless, for small block transfers, Linux now held an advantage over Windows XP Pro. For sequential disk I/O, it was Windows XP Pro that rapidly converged on SuSE 7.3, which delivered throughput on the order of 15 MB per second as read sizes grew larger than 8 KB."

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