As a follow-up to this week's Btrfs RAID HDD testing on Ubuntu 14.10, I ran some benchmarks of Btrfs in RAID0 while benchmarking every major kernel release from Linux 3.10 to Linux 3.18-rc1.
With the same configuration as used in the previous article for modern Btrfs RAID HDD benchmarking, I put the two Samsung 250GB HD253GJ hard drives in a RAID 0 array with Btrfs on Ubuntu 14.10. I then used the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA to install Linux 3.10, 3.11, 3.12, 3.13, 3.14, 3.15, 3.16, 3.17, and 3.18-rc1 with their stock kernel configuration.
In comparing the open-source graphics driver performance of Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS and Ubuntu 14.10, the newer Ubuntu Linux release does offer up some performance improvements to the R600 and RadeonSI graphics drivers, but already in the latest kernel and Mesa Git code is faster performance. Here are benchmarks of Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS vs. Ubuntu 14.10 for several OpenGL benchmarks with different AMD Radeon graphics cards while also adding in the results of the Oibaf PPA and vanilla Linux 3.17 kernel.
Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS ships with the Linux 3.13 kernel, xf86-video-ati 7.3.0, and Mesa 10.1.3 as the important Radeon GPU driver packages provided out-of-the-box. With Ubuntu 14.10 is the Linux 3.16 kernel, xf86-video-ati 7.4.0, and Mesa 10.3.0. The kernel and Mesa upgrades over the past six months have been significant, especially for the newer AMD graphics processors, which is why we're running these comparison tests. With Ubuntu 14.10 not being a rolling-release distribution, the Oibaf PPA was then enabled for fetching the latest user-space driver code: xf86-video-ati 7.5.99 Git and Mesa 10.4.0-devel along with fetching the stable Linux 3.17 kernel, to look for open-source AMD GPU driver improvements already made beyond what's found in Ubuntu 14.10.
While we're most often looking at the OpenGL 3D performance of the Linux graphics drivers, in the tests currently being done of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS vs. Ubuntu 14.10 are also a number of 2D graphics benchmarks. In the article today are our 2D benchmarks between Ubuntu 14.04.1 and Ubuntu 14.10 for various AMD Radeon graphics cards and it shows off significant performance improvements.
In this article are graphics card tests going back to the Radeon HD 4870 and even going back that far are 2D improvements with Ubuntu 14.10. However, most interesting is the Radeon HD 7000 series and newer where GLAMOR is used for 2D acceleration rather than UXA. GLAMOR leverages OpenGL for 2D acceleration and with X.Org Server 1.16 the GLAMOR support went from being an independent library to a highly-optimized implementation within the X.Org Server. Ubuntu 14.10 uses X.Org Server 1.16.0 along with Mesa 10.3.0, Linux 3.16, and xf86-video-ati 7.4.0.
For those living by stable Mesa releases rather than the exciting, bleeding-edge Mesa Git code for open-source Linux graphics drivers, Mesa 10.3.2 is available this Friday night.
Mesa 10.3.2 has fixes for Nouveauy's GM107 Maxwell and GK110 support, a handful of Intel DRI driver fixes, and also a few R600g/RadeonSI driver fixes.
Mesa stable users interested in learning more can find the 10.3.2 release announcement by Emil Velikov, the new Mesa release manager. For those after the latest Git developments, Mesa 10.4 will be declared stable in December.
The performance of the upcoming Mesa 10.4 might be better out-of-the-box for R600g and RadeonSI Gallium3D driver users if a new patch is accepted to re-enable HyperZ by default.
HyperZ is an important performance-boosting feature that's been available in the open-source AMD Linux drivers for years but tends to often get flipped on/off every once in a while when bugs are reported about HyperZ causing corruption or stability problems by users. Currently in Mesa Git the HyperZ support is disabled by default in the R600g and RadeonSI drivers.
In celebration of Ubuntu 14.10's Utopic Unicorn release today, here's some fresh benchmarks of one of the most requested topics: 2D/3D benchmarks of different desktop environments. In this article is a look at six of the popular desktop offerings found in Ubuntu 14.10.
The desktops tested in their near-final state on Ubuntu 14.10 x86_64 included Unity 7.3.1, KDE 4.14.1, Xfce 4.10, LXDE 0.6.2, Openbox 3.5.2, and GNOME Shell 3.12.2. Tests are also being done of Kubuntu's PPA for Plasma 5 packages, but those results will be saved for its own article. Testing the MATE packages in Ubuntu 14.10 was also attempted but when logging into the MATE session it was endlessly spawning a bunch of new windows and just wasn't working right at least in the configuration attempted.
With Ubuntu 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" due for release today, here's some benchmarks showing how the standard Unity 7 desktop on Ubuntu 14.10 is comparing to the still-experimental Unity System Compositor and using XMir for running traditional Linux OpenGL games.
From a standard Intel Core i7 Haswell system with HD Graphics I ran benchmarks with the development snapshot of Ubuntu Utopic as of yesterday to see how well the stock Unity 7.3.1 environment is comparing to when it's run with unity-system-compositor installed and using Mir support with XMir for running a variety of standard OpenGL benchmarks as well as some 2D X11 benchmarks.
Emil Velikov, the new Mesa release manager, has issued a straw-man proposal to release Mesa 10.4 in early December.
In sticking to the three month release cadence of Mesa, Emil is proposing the Mesa 10.4 feature freeze and release candidate for 14 November with new release candidates to come weekly until the official release. Emil is tentatively thinking about the Mesa 10.4 release for 5 December.
With the Btrfs file-system continuing to stabilize while still adding more functionality and is generating continued interest from more Linux distributions and other open-source projects, I've found it time to run some fresh Btrfs RAID benchmarks to see how the next-generation Linux file-system is performing with its built-in RAID handling.
The Btrfs file-system offers built-in support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, and RAID 10 (1+0) modes though the support for RAID 5/6 is still considered most experimental. Besides RAID, a single Btrfs file-system can span multiple devices to yield a larger file-system. In this basic Btrfs RAID benchmarking from Ubuntu 14.10, I used two identical hard drives and tested Btrfs without RAID and then in RAID 0 and RAID 1 modes. For a separate article I'm also working on a RAID 0/1/5/6/10 comparison using for solid-state drives, which should be much more interesting, so just take this article as an introduction.