Gentoo Optimizations Benchmarked – Part 2

Gentoo is a source based distribution which lets the user decide how to optimize their system in many ways and includes building for a specific CPU architecture. Linux Magazine benchmarks four such options; i486, i686, pentium3, core2, and throws in Ubuntu for good measure.

Testing method

The benchmarking system used is version 2.4.1 of Phoronix Test Suite (PTS), which is widely regarded as the most complete benchmarking tool for Unix systems. The tests themselves are broken down into categories, of which we use compression, cryptography, linux-system, mesa and x264. Low level hardware tests such as memory and disk benchmarking have been excluded.

There is one main issue with using PTS for this type of benchmark, we don’t want an even playing field. PTS builds the packages for most of its tests from source, so that each system will be running the same binaries. For our benchmarking, we want to have an uneven test – that is to say that we need each binary to be built differently in order to reflect each GCC optimization. Not only that, but we would like to build support for CPU instructions such as SSE.

To this end, there will be two sets of benchmarks used in this article. The first is PTS, where each package has been built with the specific -march CPU setting. The second will be, where possible, the Gentoo system binaries themselves, where not only have they been built with the appropriate -march setting, but also the respective USE flags for CPU instruction sets such as MMX and SSE. The Ubuntu tests system will run against the binaries from its default repositories. Hopefully between these two methods we can gain the most accurate comparison possible.

Whether an application uses CPU instructions or not is not restricted by the setting of GCC options. An application itself can still employ the use of SSE if it was programmed to, even though it was not built with the -msse GCC flag. This means that an i486 compiled binary can still use SSE instructions to improve performance. As such, we can expect some of the results to be very close. For example, the LAME MP3 encoder checks to see what instructions a CPU has and will use them whether built for an i486 or Core2 system. Due to Gentoo’s USE flags, we are able to disable SSE support checking in some of the applications (those which allow us to). In addition, all binaries built in the Gentoo system have NVIDIA’s VDPAU disabled.

Finally, we have tried to replicate the PTS tests for the Gentoo system tests, however this was not always possible. Each set of tests should be compared only with itself.

Let the games begin!

Audio Visual

Encoding Ogg Vorbis


Encoding MP3


Encoding FLAC


Encoding WavPack


Encoding FFmpeg


Encoding H.264


Here we see a slight performance increase when encoding with a more optimized system, however the margin is a lot smaller than one might have expected. Ogg encoding on the Pentium3 system yielded a 12% speed increase over the i486 system (in this test it was 2.5 seconds). Similarly, MP3 saw around 10% performance improvement over the i486 system.

A number of tests showed the largest jump from i486 to i686, with the exception of Ogg, where encoding time actually increased dramatically with the Core2 system. This test was re-compiled and run several times, which confirmed this result.

Generally, in order to reach full encoding potential the program itself must make specific use of additional instruction sets such as MMX and SSE. This is very apparent in the non-PTS FFmpeg Gentoo system test, where the i486 and i686 systems were not making use of these instructions.


7-Zip Compression


Gzip Compression


BZIP2 Compression


LZMA Compression


This set of tests shows that Core2 comes out on top every time, but only by a small margin over the i686 system. While the remainder of the systems were very close, GZIp showed the greatest improvement where the Core2 system had a whopping 40% performance increase over the i486 system. Once again, the most notable improvement came with the jump from i486 to i686. Ubuntu performed the worst in each test, closely matching the i486 system.




John The Ripper - MD5


John The Ripper - DES


John The Ripper - Blowfish


Interestingly, there was essentially no benefit at all when it came to cryptography. The non-PTS John The Ripper tests under Gentoo show may big an impact CPU instructions have on performance, where the i486 and i686 were not using any. The Pentium3 system showed a large jump, with Core2 jumping even higher, presumable thanks to SSE2 and SSE3 instruction sets. The Ubuntu system, although not compiled for a Pentium3 CPU, was still able to match the Pentium3 system in performance.



Urban Terror



Between the Gentoo systems there was really no benefit shown with the more optimised systems. This may be in part related to the use of NVIDIA proprietary driver, rather than one built entirely from source. If you really need those 4 extra frames per second in World of Padman, perhaps it is all worthwhile…

Linux System

The following series of tests is designed to show general performance of a Linux system. As such, the range of tests is quite varied. Some included in tests above have been removed to save duplication.















Minion Solitaire


The Apache tests shows a 6% performance increase over i486, HMMer shows 22%, Threaded I/O shows a 20% increase and dcraw a 25% increase. Clearly, the biggest advantage is seen with the jump from i486 to an i686 system, although i486 did win out in the Dbench test. From there on, the benefits are marginal.

These results also provide little proof that the more optimized system will provide greater performance. Sure, the Core2 system won out on the Bwfirt test, but it was by less than a second. Some of the other benchmarks are a little over the place, with P3 performing worse sometimes and better in others.

Next: What’s It All Mean?

Comments on "Gentoo Optimizations Benchmarked – Part 2"

Hello mates, how is the whole thing, and what you desire tto say on the topic of this post, in my view
its genuinely awesome in support of me.

My blog post … cheap car insurance in pa

WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for cheap car insurance comparison sites

I just like the valuable information you provide inn your articles.
I will bookmark your weblog and take a look at once more here
regularly. I am reasonably certain I’ll be informed majy new stuff right right here!
Good luck for the next!

Check out my blog :: cheap car insurance in pa

Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice at
the same time as you amend your web site, hhow coul i subscribe for a weblog site?

The account aided me a applicable deal. I had been a little bitt familiar of this your broadcast offered bright transparent concept

Take a lok at my web blog … cheap car insurance

Your means of explaining the whole thing in this article is in fact pleasant, every one can withouut difficulty understand it,
Thanks a lot.

Chesck out my web page: cheap car insurance in sc

Thhis is a topic that is near tto my heart… Best wishes!
Where are your contact details though?

Check out my webpage :: Cheap car insurance

you’re actually a just right webmaster. The website loading pace is incredible.
It kind of feels that you’re doing any unique trick.
Furthermore, The contents are masterwork. you have done a great job on this subject!

My webpage: cheapest car insurance companies

Very nice post. I just stumbled upon our weblog and wished to say that I have
truly enjoyed surfiing around your blo posts. After all
I will be subscribing too your feed and I
hope youu write again soon!

Feel free to visit my website … Cheap Car Insurance

Because the admin of this site is working, no hesitation very
soon it will be renowned, due to its feature contents.

Here is my page: classic car insurance companies

Ahaa, its pleasant discuussion regarding this
piece of writing at this place at this website, I have read
all that, so now me also commenting here.

My blog: Cheap Car Insurance

Hi i am kavin, its my first occasion tto commenting
anywhere, when i read this piece of writung i thought i could alsso make comment due
to thus good piece of writing.

Feel free to surf to my page cheap car insurance in nj

We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
Your site provided us with valuable info to
work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our whole community will be thankful to you.

Here is my webpage – classic car insurance companies

Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say
that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
After all I’ll bbe subscribing to yur rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

my web-site; cheap car insurance near me

Hi, I believe your wsbsite could be having browser compatibility issues.
Whenever I take a llook at your site in Safari, itt loks fine but when opening in Internet
Explorer, it’s got some overlapping issues.
I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Aside from that, wonderful

Feel free to surf to my weblog :: Cheap Car Insurance

Afer looking intoo a handful of the articles on your site, I honestly appreciate your technique of blogging.
I book-marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back
soon. Please visit my web sote too and let me know how
you feel.

Review myy web page :: cheap car insurance for teens

You are so awesome! I do not suppose I’ve read through something llike tis before.
So wonderful to find another person with unique thoughts on this
subject matter. Really.. thanks for starting this up.
This website is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with some originality!

Check out my web blog – very cheap car insurance

Hello, Neat post. There is an issue togethedr with your site in web explorer, could
test this? IE nonetheles is the market leader and
a large pportion oof other folks will omt your great writing due to this problem.

Feel free to visit my web page: cheap car insurance

Hi i am kavin, its my first occasio to commentkng anywhere, when i read this article i thought i could also make comment due to this brilliant article.

Have a look at my webpage :: cheap car insurance in michigan

Valuable info. Lucky me I found your website by chance,
and I’m shocked why this twist of fate did nnot took ppace in advance!
I bookmarked it.

My homepage … Cheap Car Insurance

Yes! Finally someone writes about cheap car insurance quotes tthe general.

If you would like too obtain much from this post then you have
to apply these methods to your won web site.

Feeel free to surf to my website: Cheap car insurance

Hello this is kinda of offf topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors oor if you have to manually code with HTML.

I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how
so I wanted too get advice from someone with experience.
Any help woulkd be enomously appreciated!

Feel free to surf to my blog post – cheap car insurance in michigan

Hmm it looks like your blog ate mmy first comment (it was extremely long) sso I guess I’ll just sum it
up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly
enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to
the wbole thing. Do youu have any recommendations
for beginner blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

My web blog: cheap car insurance in california

Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It inn reality was once a enjoyment account it.

Look advanced to far introduced agreeble from you! By the way, how can wwe be in contact?

Look into my homepage :: Cheap car insurance

I read this article fully regarding the resemblance of newest and previous technologies, it’s awesome

Feel free to surf to myy homepage … cheap car insurance in ma

Keep on working, great job!

Feel free to surf tto my web-site … cheap car insurance in pa

Just desire to say your article is as astonishing.
The clarity in your post is simply nice and i can assume you are an expert on this
subject. Well with your permission allow me to
grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post.

Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work.

Here is my weblog cheap car insurance in sc

I value the post. Keep writing.

Great blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

Right here is the perfect web site for anybody who
wishes to understand this topic. You realize a whole lot its
almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa).
You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject that’s been written about for years.
Great stuff, just wonderful!

BC?’s CPA in Bangalore Enabnl? Effective Running
of A Business opportunity ?ender. After r?aching my accointant and re?aying my conc?rns, the ne?xt
attribute worth addressing is communication. Studies ?urrentl? have shown which, about average, CPAs eadn 10% more than non-CPA

My web-site; boca raton Wealth management Firms

Please pay a visit to the web-sites we stick to, which includes this a single, as it represents our picks in the web.

Leave a Reply