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Windows 11 WSL 2 performs well enough vs the latest Ubuntu 21.10 but not always

Ubuntu vs Windows 11

Both Ubuntu 21.10 and Windows 11 are arriving next month, with the public release dates being October 14 for the former, and about a week prior on October 5 for Windows 11. As such, a recent comparison by Phoronix between the two upcoming OSes was made that showed the two locking horns, but with Windows mostly losing big when it did.

Today, the performance of Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2) on Windows 11 has been tested against Ubuntu 21.10 and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. The hardware used in the test rig is the same as the one used last time which consists of:

  • AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

  • GeForce RTX 3090

  • 16GB RAM (8GB for WSL)

  • WD Black SN850 1TB (2x 275GB virtual disk for WSL)

  • Windows 11 Build 22454

The benchmark suite consists of various workstation and HPC workloads. It is observed that WSL 2 on Windows 11 for the most part does quite well against Ubuntu in moderately CPU intensive situations. However, it falls behind by quite a bit when the memory and I/O systems come into play or for heavy CPU workloads, as can be seen from the images below:

Windows 11 WSL2 vs Ubuntu in Renaissance HTTP requests

Windows 11 WSL2 vs Ubuntu in Renaissance memory database shootout

Windows 11 WSL2 vs Ubuntu in NAS parallel test CG class C

Windows 11 WSL2 vs Ubuntu in C-Blosc

But all is not bad for WSL 2 on Windows 11 as it even manages to trounce Ubuntu 21.10 and 20.04 LTS by a large margin in the Nginx web server benchmark.

Windows 11 WSL2 vs Ubuntu in nginx requests

Overall, in a total of 130 tests, Windows 11 WSL 2 is around 6-7% slower than Ubuntu 21.10 and slightly less so against Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Bear in mind though that the Windows 11 build tested here belongs to the Dev channel and the performance could be different from the public version of Windows that comes out next month.

Windows 11 WSL2 vs Ubuntu overall performance geomean

You can find the full performance review with a lot more tests on Phoronix's site linked below.

Source and images: Phoronix

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