Image: Microsoft

Windows 11 appears to be slipping behind Linux in the performance department.

Phoronix has shared a couple of tests pitting Windows 11 Pro against various Linux distros (e.g., Clear Linux and Ubuntu) on an Intel machine and found that Microsoft’s operating system couldn’t beat them in various tests, including SVT-AV1 and LuxCoreRender, a physically based and unbiased rendering engine.

While Windows 11 was able to best Linux in some benchmarks such as LAME MP3 encoding, a mean of the test results has indicated that the latest version of Windows has lost the performance lead over its open-source alternative. Clear Linux tops the chart with a score of 55.95, while Windows 11 Pro sits at the very bottom with a mean score of 51.80.

Test system:

  • Intel Core i9-12900K CPU
  • ASUS ROG STRIX Z690-E GAMING WiFi motherboard
  • 2x 16 GB DDR5-6000 memory
  • 500 GB WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD
  • AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT GPU

In more positive news for Windows users, Puget Systems shared its own tests for Windows 11 last week that suggest the operating system’s performance is steadily improving versus its predecessor. Windows 10 is beaten now by its successor in select tests, including Photoshop and Lightroom Classic under certain hardware configurations.

Windows 11 22H2, the next major version of the OS, is rumored to release in late September or October. Some of the new features that users can expect include app folders in the Start menu, system tray updates, and a new task manager app.

Image: Phoronix

Last year when the Intel Core i9 12900K “Alder Lake” processor launched, Windows 11 was outperforming Linux to much surprise in general but explainable due to some late Linux kernel patches around Intel’s hybrid architecture. Back in February I looked at the situation again and Linux started outrunning Windows 11 on the i9-12900K with the latest Linux kernel at the time. But with a few more months having passed and for the Intel Alder Lake hybrid processors to mature under Windows and Linux, how do things stand now?

Source: Phoronix (via Neowin)

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13 comments

  1. It should have a long time ago. But Linux got fat. Like windows, now it's a race in optimization. But for a long time apps with native Linux versions and native windows versions were always faster on Linux.
  2. It should have a long time ago. But Linux got fat. Like windows, now it's a race in optimization. But for a long time apps with native Linux versions and native windows versions were always faster on Linux.
    Linux seemed faster when you could strip down the userspace - but when you actually want a responsive, full-fat user interface and all the userspace trimmings, well, that takes resources.

    Linux is still generally faster if you have work to get done. But only marginally so on modern platforms with comparable optimizations. When it comes to UIs, the experience is still rather solidly uneven.
  3. "Last year when the Intel Core i9 12900K 'Alder Lake' processor launched, Windows 11 was outperforming Linux to much surprise in general but explainable due to some late Linux kernel patches around Intel's hybrid architecture. Back in February I looked at the situation again and Linux started outrunning Windows 11 on the i9-12900K with the latest Linux kernel at the time." The real reason Linux was lagging behind with Alder Lake was because Win11 had already been updated to support the new hybrid architecture. Now that the Linux kernel has been updated as well, performance is ahead of Win11 as would normally be expected.
  4. It should have a long time ago. But Linux got fat. Like windows, now it's a race in optimization. But for a long time apps with native Linux versions and native windows versions were always faster on Linux.

    I think there are multiple things going on here.

    Linux tends to excel in being relatively light weight (I agree, it has become heavier than it was, but still compared to Microsoft products it is relatively lightweight) I mean, even today, I can have a full, clean install of Linux with all of the software I regularly used installed, and only have it take up a handful of GB on my drive, and rarely use more than 2GB of RAM.

    Linux also tends to have a really good scheduler and handle things well in that regard.

    Where Linux falls down is timely support for new hardware. It is better today than it has ever been, but there is still this element within the Linuxb community that considers running current gen hardware to be "bleeding edge". New hardware tends to suffer from drivers and software that doesn't fully take advantage of it for longer than under Windows, and that probably constitutes the biggest difference.

    All of that said, this benchmarking shows what is possible under linux, when you have a true cross-platform native code base designed to compare apples to apples. The reality is - however - that most of the software that people want great performance out of that runs on Linux desktops was not exactly optimized for Linux desktops. It was either poorly ported from Windows, or is using various wrappers to make one API or another work. This is not a recipe for excellent performance.
  5. All of that said, this benchmarking shows what is possible under linux, when you have a true cross-platform native code base designed to compare apples to apples. The reality is - however - that most of the software that people want great performance out of that runs on Linux desktops was not exactly optimized for Linux desktops. It was either poorly ported from Windows, or is using various wrappers to make one API or another work. This is not a recipe for excellent performance.
    If MS realy wanted they could also make a faster more streamlined version of windows but that would be against their current business model.

    One of linux biggest issues imo is that there are too many versions but very few are solid and/or userfriendly enough for general use.
  6. One of linux biggest issues imo is that there are too many versions but very few are solid and/or userfriendly enough for general use.
    And the ones that are solid, and the ones that are user-friendly... usually aren't the same ones.

    In general, Linux expects users to know what they're doing when hitting update - and doing this on many distros can eventually result in a broken install, especially if skipping too many, or updating right as updates are released.

    As it stands Linux Mint might be the closest. I still need to do a Pop!_OS build on metal to see how that goes too - it's not very happy as a VM guest.
  7. And the ones that are solid, and the ones that are user-friendly... usually aren't the same ones.

    In general, Linux expects users to know what they're doing when hitting update - and doing this on many distros can eventually result in a broken install, especially if skipping too many, or updating right as updates are released.

    As it stands Linux Mint might be the closest. I still need to do a Pop!_OS build on metal to see how that goes too - it's not very happy as a VM guest.

    I haven't had a update under Linux break anything for me since probably ~2005, and that's across several desktops, laptops and a quite a few servers.

    I do run all stable branch stuff though, greatly preferring the oldest supported and still compatible LTS release of Ubuntu for servers, and LTS branch derived Mint versions (all of them these days, but that wasn't always the case). There are some distributions that target bleeding edge software that could have more stability issues. Under some distributions you can also enable unstable or experimental package/dependency trees. If you do this, you generally get exactly what you are asking for. Unstable and/or experimental.

    Back in the early 2000's I ran Gentoo with the experimental branch packages, because the stable branch often didn't support my latest gen hardware (new hardware support was much slower at the time) and that was indeed a nightmare of constantly needing to fix something that broke in an update. But as previously mentioned that hasn't happened in a really long time, as I don't do such silly things anymore.

    For average desktop stuff, just about every major desktop environment is just as easy to use as Windows. Using applications, installing and removing programs, etc. is just as easy, and sometimes even easier than under Windows. IN a modern desktop environment you can do just about anything a typical user would expect to do, including set up network connections, configure displays, configure audio devices, etc. etc. all from the GUI. For more enthusiast stuff, yeah, it can get a little trickier in Linux than in Windows if you are inexperienced, but on the flipside, once you get comfortable with the command line under Linux, you'll wonder how you ever put up with Windows maze of GUI configuration options.

    Stability - again - hasn't been a problem for me under any distribution since probably 2005. I mean, sure, if you pick a distribution geared towards running bleeding edge packages you might run into issues, but at that point you are pretty much running a beta OS, so that is the experience you should expect.

    I just don't buy the "linux is difficult", "too many distributions", or "package updates break things" arguments anymore. This was definitely true 20 years ago, but today I just don't buy it.

    There are a bunch of distributions, but they are all pretty much just made up of different combinations of building blocks. Your choices tend to be which desktop environment you like, which package manager you like, and whether or not you are philosophically opposed to systemd.

    (I'm a I Like Gnome 2 and it's modern derivatives/workalikes like Mate and Cinnamon, current'y I'm running Cinnamon, I prefer the APT package manager originated by Debian, and while I don't really care for systemd, it has been easier to just go with the flow and deal with it as it is so ubiquitous these days)

    And honestly, if you know how to use a GUI, it really doesn't matter if you have KDE, or Gnome, or LXDE, or XFCE or Cinnamon or Mate or "insert less prominent desktop environment here". A GUI is a GUI and they generally just work the way they are intended to regardless of which distribution they are running in.

    Really I'd argue that the biggest issues facing Linux on the desktop today are:
    1.) Inability to run most commercial software (at least without messing around with WINE or other translation layers which is a pain and robs you of performance) This includes games.
    2.) Hardware compatibility often takes longer than with Windows where launch day full support is the norm. It's better than it ever has been, but still could use lots of improvement. As opposed to the old days, major components (CPU's drives, chipsets, etc.) generally work at or near launch, but performance is often not optimized as quickly as under Windows. Less major hardware (integrated sound chips, network chips, storage controllers, 3rd party USB controller chips, WiFI adapters, etc.) can still take a while before they work properly. Again, better than it has ever been, but the windows experience is better here, simply because a hardware manufacturer doesn't have a product, unless they can provide it with working Windows drivers, so it becomes a priority, whereas Linux is often an afterthought, requiring reverse engineering of drivers for support.

    I've been using Mint for some time now, but I have also use Ubuntu server for most of my servers, some Debian, etc. (For some of my VM's that require desktop output, but I want to keep it light, I'll run ubuntu server edition with a manually installed LXDE or XFCE desktop installed, remotely accessing them using x2go)

    There is very little about the current user experience I would change on my desktop in Mint under Cinnamon. I can't even imagine what you would do to make things "more user friendly". It's a computer. It works like a computer is supposed to work. Anything they could do to make it "easier to use" would probably be a detriment from the system dumbing it down too much. This has been the case for a good decade or so.

    I would want exactly what I have now, just with better more mature and better performing hardware support, and more commercial software and games running natively and optimized for performance, not just ****ty ports and/or running wrappers that run slowly.
  8. or "package updates break things" arguments anymore. This was definitely true 20 years ago, but today I just don't buy it.
    Most Linux package managers are better than Windows Update by a mile, and they cover a much wider range of stuff, and if you want to cover other stuff, you just drop in the associated repository info.

    Not to say an update couldn't break something - it certainly has the potential, but yeah, I haven't had anything break break in a really long time so long as you are using official repositories.

    Unlike Windows.. which seems to F something up every other month....

    It's different, but I don't think it's any harder than Windows. It just isn't what most people are used to is all. A lot of folks are scared to death of the CLI... and the fact that all the various distros can't seem to get on board with a common design paradigm means each distro may as well be it's own thing, rather than a common, unified "Linux." But then again, that's part of the joy of Linux as well - that it is so diverse.

    I think people need to stop looking at all Linux as desktop replacements, and look at specific distros instead. Linux is a big big term - it's like "Automobile" -- that covers the entire gamut from AMD Gremlins to Lambos to Freightliner trucks.
  9. Most Linux package managers are better than Windows Update by a mile, and they cover a much wider range of stuff, and if you want to cover other stuff, you just drop in the associated repository info.

    Not to say an update couldn't break something - it certainly has the potential, but yeah, I haven't had anything break break in a really long time so long as you are using official repositories.

    Unlike Windows.. which seems to F something up every other month....

    It's different, but I don't think it's any harder than Windows. It just isn't what most people are used to is all. A lot of folks are scared to death of the CLI... and the fact that all the various distros can't seem to get on board with a common design paradigm means each distro may as well be it's own thing, rather than a common, unified "Linux." But then again, that's part of the joy of Linux as well - that it is so diverse.

    I think people need to stop looking at all Linux as desktop replacements, and look at specific distros instead. Linux is a big big term - it's like "Automobile" -- that covers the entire gamut from AMD Gremlins to Lambos to Freightliner trucks.

    Yeah, you can certainly screw things up by adding ****ty repositories, but with official ones (or even carefully selected 3rd party repositories) you are unlikely to have a problem.

    As far as the CLI goes, for most things you really don't NEED to use it. The GUI tools work, but most of the guides reference the CLI just because it often winds up being the simpler and more efficient way of doing things. Occasionally there is an advanced thing you cannot do from the GUI on a modern distribution, but it is honestly pretty rare. Even if the application you are using requires text file based configuration, you can use a GUI text editor to edit them if you want to.

    And most basic command line commands are going to be the same across distributions. Heck, even going from Linux to Unix (like a FreeBSD or something like that) 95+% of the commands are the same. Some (like package manager commands) will differ though. Configuration file locations may also differ.
  10. Heck, even going from Linux to Unix (like a FreeBSD or something like that) 95+% of the commands are the same. Some (like package manager commands) will differ though. Configuration file locations may also differ.
    Going between latest and latest stable distros... this is a nightmare. Debian? Ubuntu? Fedora? CentOS/RHEL 7??? If it's related to an installed application with a properly configured service / path, no worries - but OS inconsistency is enough to drive one nuts.
  11. Going between latest and latest stable distros... this is a nightmare. Debian? Ubuntu? Fedora? CentOS/RHEL 7??? If it's related to an installed application with a properly configured service / path, no worries - but OS inconsistency is enough to drive one nuts.
    Well, you could say the same thing if you wanted to run Windows Mobile vs Windows Home vs Server 2018... you could say "Well it's all windows?", but that isn't exactly true. And even within a single edition of one of those options, there are more than enough inconsistencies to drive me nuts with all the various different revisions that they can't seem to decide if they want to keep the legacy options, or update to something new, or half *** it and try to do both for a while.

    It would be perfectly fair to compare Unbuntu to Windows Pro, or Fedora to Windows Pro. But you can't really lump all of them together and just say "linux - it's a big mess". Each distro is it's own thing, and should be looked at on it's own merits. Linux just happens to be the core. At least any more than you can throw everything Microsoft makes together and call it a bad user experience, because Xbox works different than Server -- just because they all happen to use the NT core.
  12. It would be perfectly fair to compare Unbuntu to Windows Pro, or Fedora to Windows Pro. But you can't really lump all of them together and just say "linux - it's a big mess". Each distro is it's own thing, and should be looked at on it's own merits. Linux just happens to be the core. At least any more than you can throw everything Microsoft makes together and call it a bad user experience, because Xbox works different than Server -- just because they all happen to use the NT core.
    So, being my argumentative self, I wanted to argue against your point - but it coming from you, well, I figure you do have a point, and with some introspection, I do broadly agree.

    I think that the issue is still present, though - similar 'classes' of the same release levels - i.e., desktop environment-focused spins - have vastly different operation modes as well as risks exposed to users when performing routine tasks that would not be an issue on a Windows desktop.
  13. Windows Home is for joe user clearly. They have 'sanitized' the OS to such a degree that you need to know some pretty archaic command line calls (if they work) to get some advanced settings done.

    Windows Pro is better, the GUI tools to do policy edits and several other functions have not been deprecated as of yet and are still functional today. Better for power/Enterprise users. Not to mention easier to use power shell and other such tools.

    Windows for phones is... for phones never used it can't call it garbage without using it... but uhh... you get the idea.

    Windows for tablets... Again same as for phones... unless it is a full fat windows experience I don't know.

    Server OS's they are generally fine on. Once they start taking away tools though I will be pissed.


    You pretty much have the same thing with the various Linux flavors. Redhat is server side for the most part. The others are built with the intent of serving a segment of the home user market with a leaning toward power users/programmers. No problem there.

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