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Benchmark Results: UNiGiNE Heaven

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS: Lucid Lynx Benchmarked And Reviewed
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While the actual games in our benchmarking suite are somewhat old when taking into account what is available for Windows, Linux does have the UNiGiNE benchmark. We'll be using the older Sanctuary and Tropics tests, along with Heaven, the latest benchmark.

The first round of testing in Heaven produced some pretty surprising results. The elder LTS, 8.04, bested the newer 10.04 by a serious margin. From these initial numbers, it became clear that there must be some sort of problem.

Since we were already running in Hardy, we decided to see if perhaps it was caused by the [Compiz-Fusion] Desktop Effects (DE). By setting them to 'normal' in Hardy (to match the default settings of Lucid), we could see if Compiz-Fusion was truly to blame.

Clearly, setting Desktop Effects to Normal in Ubuntu 8.04 LTS had little effect on performance. There was only a one-half frame per second difference between Hardy with, and Hardy without Desktop Effects.

So, the issue seemed to be with Nvidia's drivers. But could a change from 195.36.15 to 195.36.24 really matter that much? We continued to test the remainder of the graphics-intensive benchmarks on our Hardy test system (with DE disabled), but we had to set aside our Lucid results and repeat them with the newest Nvidia driver installed.

After manually installing Nvidia driver version 195.36.24, we began our testing again, this time with each OS using the same Nvidia driver.

What gives? The latest Nvidia driver added even less to the FPS score than enabling DE in Hardy took away. With two probable causes behind us, it became clear that something else was affecting our results.

But before we got into shared library versions and expanded filesystem testing, we thought to look at the actual desktop effects enabled by the normal setting in Lucid and compare them to what Hardy turns on. After installing Simple CCSM (Compiz Configuration Settings Manager), we quickly saw that some of the effects had different names in Lucid. Since the actual settings varied slightly, a Lucid test with DE disabled to match Hardy was in order.

Sure enough, there is something in the normal desktop effects settings in Lucid that brutalizes frame rates. However, Lucid beats Hardy with DE disabled using either version of the Nvidia driver.

We attempted to disable all of the effects from Simple CCSM manually. We first set the effect level to 'normal' in System/Preferences/Appearances. There were four effects in Lucid which we could not disable: Window Decorations, Move Windows, Place Windows, and Resize Windows. Every time you go to un-check these settings, they re-check themselves. After disabling everything else, frame rates were still far behind Hardy. The issue could very well be somewhere in one or more of those four settings. When all things are equal, Ubuntu 10.04 comes out ahead. Overall, we have to call Lucid the winner, especially considering that Hardy can't even use the graphics card out-of-the-box.

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  • 12 Hide
    ksa-_-jed , May 26, 2010 11:12 AM
    beriguuMy Logitech Wireless Wave keyboard and mouse didn't work with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop x64 on VMWare Workstation 7.01. It works in the beginning with text screen, but once it goes to GUI screen keyboard function is lost. ;_;

    Don't blame the OS blame Logitech because the don't support Linux with good drivers
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , May 26, 2010 6:40 AM
    My Logitech Wireless Wave keyboard and mouse didn't work with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop x64 on VMWare Workstation 7.01. It works in the beginning with text screen, but once it goes to GUI screen keyboard function is lost. ;_;
  • 0 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , May 26, 2010 6:40 AM
    There's lots of talk on the Phoronix forums about how Ubuntu + nVidia binaries don't play nicely, while some other distros don't have that problem. This was reflected in an Ubuntu vs. Arch bench-off: surprisingly, Arch only really thrashed Ubuntu in the games and everything else was about even. This might be behind those pitiful scores with the game benchmarks.
    Compiz also has a measurable, negative effect on game benches with nVidia, but not so much with ATI hardware/drivers. I'm not surprised that turning off desktop effects changed the game so much.

    What do you think is going on with 7zip, an ext4 issue?
  • 1 Hide
    jsowoc , May 26, 2010 7:04 AM
    With 10.10 planning btrfs and GnomeShell, it's a sure recepie for tragedy :-). Very nice article.
  • 0 Hide
    adamovera , May 26, 2010 7:11 AM
    @WheelsOfConfusion:
    RE: desktop effects - I'll be adding an ATI card to the mix a little earlier than I had intended in order to look at the desktop effects issue. Stay tuned.
    RE: Gaming FPS - The interesting thing is that the actual games didn't have that big of an impact from desktop effects. It was the unigine benchmarks that showed seriously significant drops in frame rates with them enabled.
    RE: 7z - I suppose it could be EXT4, but I believe EXT4 is the reason for the speed gains in all other comp/decomp tests, as well as the copy time tests. Comprehensive filesystem and archiving benchmarks under the same release should tell us whether or not it's an EXT4 issue.
  • 9 Hide
    apoq , May 26, 2010 7:28 AM
    Why no benchmark against Windows. You yourself said Ubuntu should be aiming to convert Windows users more than Mac users (and I whole heartedly agree with you). I love Ubuntu and I use most of the time, but every time I boot into Windows (7) I am left with the feeling of a way snappier OS. I think this is where Ubuntu is really lacking.
  • 0 Hide
    killerclick , May 26, 2010 7:43 AM
    Linux still doesn't have the software I need so I can't use it. However I've noticed a sharp decrease in stupid problems in the past three years (prolly thanks to Ubuntu). Currently my favorite distro is Mint but I remain a Windows user mainly because of a lot of software I own and am proficient in.
    As for the latest Ubuntu, why can't they have a bland business-like theme? Are the Phoenix Suns now paying them to use their colors?
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , May 26, 2010 9:28 AM
    For your Skype visibility issues, go to Skype settings and change theme to GTK+. Did the trick for me.
  • 2 Hide
    samspqr , May 26, 2010 9:30 AM
    looks nice, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions, like:
    * will it play 1080p24 H.264 videos smoothly, with GPU acceleration?
    * will it play vimeo/youtube high-res videos smoothly?
    given how good you say it is on the other fronts, I'll give it a try and see for myself (I'm currently on 8.04, so convincing me to spend an afternoon updating my systems is no small feat)
  • -4 Hide
    zybch , May 26, 2010 10:33 AM
    So, will this year be another "Year of Linux on the Desktop" like its been claiming for the past decade year in year out? Or will it remain a niche OS which people needing to do actual work on 'real' programs can continue to dismiss out of hand?
  • 1 Hide
    flightmare , May 26, 2010 10:52 AM
    You can set the minimize, close and maximize buttons to the right again in gconf-editor. Browse to apps/metacity/general and edit button_layout to your likings.
  • 12 Hide
    ksa-_-jed , May 26, 2010 11:12 AM
    beriguuMy Logitech Wireless Wave keyboard and mouse didn't work with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop x64 on VMWare Workstation 7.01. It works in the beginning with text screen, but once it goes to GUI screen keyboard function is lost. ;_;

    Don't blame the OS blame Logitech because the don't support Linux with good drivers
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 26, 2010 11:13 AM
    Skype in Lucid Lynx, Gnome: options-> choose style: GTK +
  • 1 Hide
    haplo602 , May 26, 2010 11:30 AM
    Adam, please have a look at Phoronix for their 10.04 tests. It seems there's some issue with X and the Nvidia drivers. Can you set up the same tests with an ATI card and compare Hardy and Lucid again ?
  • 0 Hide
    Regulas , May 26, 2010 11:47 AM
    apoqWhy no benchmark against Windows. You yourself said Ubuntu should be aiming to convert Windows users more than Mac users (and I whole heartedly agree with you). I love Ubuntu and I use most of the time, but every time I boot into Windows (7) I am left with the feeling of a way snappier OS. I think this is where Ubuntu is really lacking.

    Really, just the opposite here, Win 7-64 Ubuntu 10.04-64 on same machine.
  • 1 Hide
    nforce4max , May 26, 2010 12:01 PM
    I am not much of a Linux user but Mint is nice and comes preloaded with the basics which is nice. My K6-2+ rig is just to slow though. :( 
  • 5 Hide
    zoemayne , May 26, 2010 12:02 PM
    Thank you for this review
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 26, 2010 12:09 PM
    there is undoubtedly one thing in which ubuntu far ahead in cimparision with windows 7.
    If my PC is turn on for few hours i download some files,surf on internet later on PC is unusable sooooooooooo damn slow no problems with ubuntu
    After few months on windows i install/uninstall program system starts to compete with turtle in speed - boot slow, performance slow and of course i do maintainance - start up programs, services and still for me every half max one year reinstallation is a must.
    Again no problems in this matter with ubuntu
    Windows is just a big bin which takes everything and it doesnt matter how much RAM you have - takes it all
    And i have quit high-end ring - 4 gb ram and core2duo@3,4
    Windows for games and windows - only application - for daily use UBUNTU!
  • 1 Hide
    Stardude82 , May 26, 2010 12:13 PM
    Ubuntu doesn't include out of the box the wireless driver for the Mini 10 because of open source purity/licensing reasons. You have to use a wrapper and load the windows drivers which some people think is pure evil. Conversely, why Broadcom doesn't just provide open source drivers is also stupid.

    Windows 7 runs so well on the new Atom platform, I doubt Netbook remix will make much inroad. Both Canonical and Microsoft have released some slick pieces of software.
  • 3 Hide
    shubham1401 , May 26, 2010 12:17 PM
    Next time, Pls have benchmarks against Windows :) 
  • 0 Hide
    azhardware , May 26, 2010 12:24 PM
    beriguuMy Logitech Wireless Wave keyboard and mouse didn't work with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop x64 on VMWare Workstation 7.01. It works in the beginning with text screen, but once it goes to GUI screen keyboard function is lost. ;_;


    I had the same problem with my Dinovo Edge and Mini. Check out for a fix.

    Personally, I felt Lucid fell a little short again. Beriguu's issue with the keyboard is one thing. Another is my X-fi soundcard only playing out the left speaker, this seems to be a widespread issue. I know this is largly because creative won't release driver specs but it's just another reason why I can't run all my PCs on linux. I've got a great linux server running in the basement, dual boot on my main pc and vista on my home theater pc. I wish I could put linux on the last one though :( 
    And oh yeh, Bluray? Again, not really ubuntu's fault but I want my HD movies and until I can play them I won't be running linux for anything other than software development. Multimedia stuff will stay on windows :( 
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