Unlike Windows 11, Linux 5.16 is totally caught off guard by Alder Lake's big.LITTLE form

Tux Linux vs Windows 11

When Intel shared details of Alder Lake's architecture at its aptly named Architecture Day 2021 event, the company stated it had worked closely with Microsoft to make sure the latter's Windows 11 was working properly when paired with Alder Lake. The optimization was necessary since Alder Lake introduces the big.LITTLE (Intel calls it Big-Bigger or Performance Hybrid) design philosophy in the x86 space and hence the scheduler of an OS must know when, where, and how to distribute workloads.

Intel has also introduced its Thread Director feedback technology to aid in this process and recently those claims were validated as we found the 12th gen Alder Lake Core i9-12900K performing better on Windows 11 than Tiger Lake did when compared against Ubuntu and Linux.

As such, Phoronix decided to check the performance of Alder Lake on the new Linux 5.16 which has since been released with beta version rc1. However, the performance seems broken for now with the new kernel trailing far behind the previous releases.

First, we have a couple of coding and software development benchmarks for PHP and Python as well as a Git command completion test:

Performance of Alder Lake i9-12900K on Linux 516
Performance of Alder Lake i9-12900K on Linux 516
Performance of Alder Lake i9-12900K on Linux 516

After that, we have image encoding tests with formats WebP and AVIF, plus a JPEG decompression test:

Performance of Alder Lake i9-12900K on Linux 516
Performance of Alder Lake i9-12900K on Linux 516
Performance of Alder Lake i9-12900K on Linux 516

Phoronix speculates that the new Cluster Scheduler feature on Linux 5.16 may be to blame for this as the OS could be confused with the new big.LITTLE arrangement of the cores. The cluster scheduler technology can boost performance in situations where a pool of L2 cache is shared among a cluster of cores.

While this is still early days for the 5.16 kernel with the GA planned for next year, it is interesting to note that Windows 11 already showed positive signs quite early in its life cycle with the hybrid design.

Source and images: Phoronix

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