SEARCH

How-To Geek

How to Benchmark Your Linux System: 3 Open-Source Benchmarking Tools

header

Linux’s command-line utilities can do anything, including perform benchmarks – but using a dedicated benchmarking program is a simpler and more foolproof process. These utilities allow you to perform reproducible tests across different systems and configurations.

These Linux benchmarking tools aren’t as popular, well-known, or polished as their Windows equivalents, but they allow you to easily compare different systems and evaluate their performance.

Hardinfo – CPU Benchmark

Hardinfo isn’t installed by default on Ubuntu, but it’s available in the Ubuntu Software Center – just do a search for “hardinfo” and install the System Profiler and Benchmark application. If you’re using another Linux distribution, search your package manager for the “hardinfo” package.

Screenshot at 2012-04-18 02^%56^%46

Once it’s installed, launch the System Profiler and Benchmark application from the Dash.

Screenshot at 2012-04-18 02^%58^%39

Hardinfo displays a information about your system, its hardware, and its configuration. Using the Generate Report feature, you can save a report and select the information – including benchmarks – you want to include.

Screenshot at 2012-04-18 03^%08^%34

Scroll to the bottom of the list and select one of the six CPU benchmarks to benchmark your CPU. Hardinfo will compare the performance of your CPU to other CPUs. The CPU benchmark can be useful if you’re trying to compare CPU speed between computers or determine the effects of an overclock.

Screenshot at 2012-04-18 03^%07^%05

GtkPerf – GTK+ Benchmark

GtkPerf is another benchmark tool you’ll find in Ubuntu’s Software Center and other Linux distribution’s package managers.

Screenshot at 2012-04-18 03^%16^%23

GtkPerf tests the performance of the GTK+ graphical toolkit, used by GNOME and Ubuntu’s default desktop applications. Using GtkPerf, you can measure the performance difference between different GTK+ themes, different GTK+ versions, and different versions of your X server and graphics drivers.

Screenshot at 2012-04-18 03^%18^%44

Start the benchmark and GtkPerf will perform GTK+ widget operations and time how long they take to complete.

Screenshot at 2012-04-18 03^%19^%35

The test is reproducible, so you can use GtkPerf to test the performance of GTK+ across multiple computers and platforms.

Screenshot at 2012-04-18 03^%20^%27

Phoronix Test Suite – Comprehensive Benchmarks

The Phoronix Test Suite – also known as pts – was created by the Phoronix website to run the reproducible tests used for the benchmarks you’ll find in Phoronix’s articles. It bills itself as “the most comprehensive benchmarking platform available for Linux.” You’ll find it in Ubuntu’s Software Center and other Linux distribution’s package managers, too.

Screenshot at 2012-04-18 03^%28^%44

The Phoronix Test Suite’s terms of use say your test results will be shared publically if you choose to submit them, and that enabling the anonymous reporting features will cause PTS to upload anonymous data – type Y to agree to them. After you do, you can select whether or not to enable anonymous reporting features.

Screenshot at 2012-04-18 03^%37^%02

The Phoronix Test Suit provides a menu of benchmarking and information options to select from.

Screenshot at 2012-04-18 03^%37^%54

To perform a single test, type 1. You’ll be presented with a list of 126 tests to choose from. If a test requires additional software, the test suite will automatically download it.

Screenshot at 2012-04-18 03^%39^%59

To perform a suite of tests, type 2. There are 54 different test suites, ranging from audio and video encoding to ray tracing and networking.

Screenshot at 2012-04-18 03^%41^%15

To perform a complex system test, type 3. The complex system test includes five tests: the Apache Benchmark for web page serving performance, C-Ray for ray tracing performance, RAMspeed (two different configurations) for memory performance, and PostMark for disk transaction performance.

Screenshot at 2012-04-18 04^%54^%18

The results can be uploaded to and compared on OpenBenchmarking.org.


How do you benchmark your Linux system’s performance? Leave a comment if you have any tricks to share.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 04/19/12

Comments (2)

  1. smilepiper

    I don’t benchmark my Linux system’s performance. The smartest trick I’ve figured out here lately is how to install games from dotdeb.com instead of the software center.

  2. sabrinakit

    Good to know about the How to Benchmark Your Linux System: 3 Open-Source Benchmarking Tools

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!