With this week's launch of Fedora 21, here's a performance comparison of the new Fedora Linux release compared to the Arch-based Antergos rolling-release distribution, Debian GNU/Linux Jessie, openSUSE Tumbleweed, CentOS Linux 7, and Ubuntu 14.10.
These six Linux distributions were all tested with the same hardware that came down to an MSI X99S SLI PLUS motherboard with Intel Xeon E5-2687W v3 ten-core processor plus Hyper Threading. The system also had 16GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory, 80GB Intel SSD, and Radeon HD 7850 graphics.
All six Linux distributions were tested with their default installation settings and packages.
Today's Catalyst 14.12 for Linux delivers OpenCL 2.0 support, VA-API video decoding with H.264/VC-1/MPEG-2/MPEG-4 format support, and distribution-specific packages offered at AMD.com for Ubuntu and Red Hat. There's also many bug fixes, support for modern kernel versions / xorg-server, potential performance improvements, and a range of other work.
It's been a while since last running any open-source vs. closed-source Linux graphics driver benchmarks with AMD Kaveri APUs, but with being busy adding some Kaveri systems to the new Linux test farm, I ran some fresh Linux GPU driver tests on an AMD A10-7800 system. Here's results on Ubuntu 14.10 -- plus with Linux 3.18 and Mesa 10.5-devel -- while compared to the latest Catalyst binary blob.
Due out next week is a very significant update to AMD's Catalyst Linux graphics driver as they continue to work towards the unified AMD Linux driver strategy.
There hasn't been an AMD Catalyst Linux update in more than two months but it looks like the update due out next week will be worth the wait. This next AMD Catalyst Linux update due out on Tuesday, 9 December, will bring VA-API video decoding support (finally an alternative to using the ill-adopted, AMD-specific XvBA API), OpenGL ES 3.0 support, OpenCL 2.0, AMD FreeSync support on Linux, OpenMP 3.1 over HSA, and Linux packaging improvements. There's also 5K x 3K display support, frame pacing for Dual Graphics, and other enhancements for both the Windows and Linux graphics drivers. At least under Windows, there's very significant performance optimizations due out too.
Fedora 21 is due out in a few days and as such I've been busy extensively testing and benchmarking this first Fedora Linux update in a year. To not much surprise given the close package versions to Ubuntu 14.10, Fedora 21 isn't performing very differently from the Ubuntu Utopic Unicorn.
Most of the Linux distribution performance comparisons don't turn up much assuming the Linux kernel, compiler, and Mesa components are close to the same version. From there it mostly comes down to the defaults for the CPU scaling driver/governor, I/O scheduler, etc. With Fedora 21 compared to Ubuntu 14.10 and Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, the results are very close.