Linux 2.x kernels performances

This document compares the performances of 2.x Linux kernels at compiling a 2.4.25 kernel image with increasing levels of make parallelism.

MotherboardAsus TXP4-X (chipset i82430TX)
PCIAdvanced System Products, Inc ABP940-U / ABP960-U (rev 02)
Davicom Semiconductor, Inc. Ethernet 100/10 MBit (rev 40)
Ensoniq 5880 AudioPCI (rev 02)
Matrox Graphics, Inc. MGA 2164W [Millennium II]
SCSIQUANTUM XP34550S (4 GB, 7200 rpm, /dev/sda)
SEAGATE ST51080N (1 GB, 5400 rpm, /dev/sdb)
PIONEER CD-ROM DR-U24X (/dev/scd0)

The installed software distribution is Debian Woody.

Mounted partitions
/dev/sda2/98 MB
/dev/sda5swap131 MB
/dev/sda6/usr1497 MB
/dev/sdb/hd2 (contains /var and /home)1077 MB

The second extended file system is used on all partitions.

Tested kernels
Kernelcompiled withnoteconfig
2.0.40GCC sound, no USB, no network, no NTFS support .config
2.2.26GCC 2.95.4Build fails without CONFIG_MODULES .config
2.4.25GCC 2.95.4 .config
2.6.3GCC 2.95.4 .config

The measured kernel build was done in /home/marc/C/linux-2.4.25/: Elapsed time (in minutes) results of
for i in 1 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24; do echo $i >>~/dat; /usr/bin/time -a -o ~/dat make -j $i bzImage; make clean;done
result graph
In conclusion, performances were slightly better with each new major kernel, until kernel 2.6 arrived. Kernel 2.6 is really slow at swapping, but it produces a good quality MP3 output even under heavy swapping.

© 2004 Marc Mongenet, Creative Commons License, Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.
Last update and validation: 15-MAR-2006.