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Operating Systems - Mandrake 8.1 & Win2000 Pro Comparisons

The following observations were made available to us by the Author (RivieraCadMan) from a Post in the ExtremeTech.com User Forums.

Editorial: We edited for spelling, spacing, punctuation & text highlights for clarity. Enjoy!

From: RivieraCadMan, Author (Reprint on BuildOrBuy By Permission.) Mar-15 12:02 pm

I had to put a computer together for my friend and ran a few quick tests during the installation for those that had been asking about Linux performance questions.

Here's the configuration.

Athlon 1800+
A7V-266-E (Raid version)
256MB PC2100 DDR
(1) 40GB Maxtor 7200RPM UDMA 100 HD
(1) 8GB Maxtor 5400RPM UDMA 66 HD (original machine)
(1) Intel 56K voice/fax modem
(1) 64MB GeForce2 PCI Video (original machine)
(1) 24x ATAPI CD-ROM ACER (original machine)
(1) Internal Iomega Zip 100 Drive (original machine)
Enlight case with 350watt power supply

Cable Layout:
images/bullet2.gif40GB Maxtor (master) and Iomega Zip drive on first channel
images/bullet2.gif8GB Maxtor (master) and 24x CD-ROM on second channel

Testing Equipment:
1 Casio 5 lap stopwatch (Hey, cheap, but it works!)

Ok, I loaded this machine with Windows 2000 professional on the 40GB HD, and with Linux Mandrake 8.1 standard edition on the 8GB HD.

images/bullet2.gifWindows 2000 got the full install treatment along with MS Office and Corel WP.
images/bullet2.gifOn Mandrake I installed all the command shells and tools, KDE(2) (only), KOffice, Opera and Netscape, the configuration suite, the game package, all of the documentation, and the development suite and documentation.

First the Install. Install times are based on boot to a finished configured system.
Windows 2000 - Other then the blistering? speed of his 24x CD-ROM, Windows 2000
went in without a hitch. After several reboots and the driver installation for his hardware and office software we where up and running in 51min 42sec to a finished install.

Linux Mandrake - Mandrake installed much faster, but the install script (documented
on Mandrakes website) does not execute depmod -a for the Invidia driver which requires a quick jump to Bash before rebooting, otherwise installing either of the 3.4 modules will work. Once I was logged back in as root I installed the Intel modem tar.gz files then set more of the user preferences such as mouse speed and resolution, set up networking, and Kdevelope. Installation time clocks out at an awesome 39min 53sec after a second reboot into the standard user account in KDE.

Virgin Install Boot Times. This is the time between selecting the operating system
from lilo to the moment the Internet dialup networking dialog (or KPPP) starts on both OS's.

I did this 5 times per each OS and rounded the results.
images/bullet2.gifWindows 2000 clocks in at a very smooth 28 seconds.
images/bullet2.gifLinux Mandrake clocks in at a sluggish 1min 3sec. 

Tweaked install boot times. I won't go into detail, but I will tell you that I tweaked
and recompiled the Linux kernel giving it just the services that Windows 2000 has with the exception of some file system supports. KDE's new control panel is a dream for kernel settings! I'd trade it for make config or make menuconfig any day.

images/bullet2.gifWindows 2000 comes in at 23 seconds.
images/bullet2.gifLinux Mandrake still off the mark, but much better at 42 seconds.

Note: Since I was paying close attention to the kernel load I was surprised that I had never realized the amount of time it took for the Hard Drake to run through it's processes, so I removed it. Since there was a dependency with autoconfig I dropped it also, but the desktop became less responsive, and boot time actually lengthened to 48 seconds over five tries. (I'm going to do a little research on this.)

So I reinstalled the packages before running the final tries.


images/bullet2.gifFirst Install Times

  • Win2000 51min 42sec (1 try, but have performed the installation several times on other machines)
  • Mandrake 39min 53sec (1 try, but have performed the installation several times on other machines)

images/bullet2.gifVirgin Boot Times

  • Win2000 28sec
  • Mandrake 1min 3sec

images/bullet2.gifTweaked Boot Times

  • Win2000 23sec
  • Mandrake 42sec

    You should note that even though this is a hands down Windows 2000 win, Mandrake was running on a slower IDE drive and was set to automount the Win2000 partition as well as provide all the basic services that come with 2000.

Mandrake also had a much more robust software package installed. I doubt that Mandrake would be able to reach the 23sec mark, but I'm sure that I could get it in the 30sec range given equal hardware, and enough time to tweak a little further. I wanted to run this test using Black Box WM (my personal favorite), but I had to setup the machine last night so I didn't get the chance. On my personal machine I ran a Tweaked Boot Test using a heavily modified version of SUSE and KDE that I had built from scratch. Boot time is 27 sec after 5 tries, but there is little room for expansion. If I wanted to add a USB device, (which I don't use) or a different PCI card I would have to reconfigure the kernel to add the support.

[Edited for clarity...]

From: RivieraCadMan
Mar-15 2:11 pm

lol ... the trick to configuring windows is those loop back scripts that run on the task bar, and that added explorer junk integrated in the windows and desktop. I personally prefer 98SE, but I can understand because I use 2000 every day at work. To be honest, I was surprised at the speed from that fresh install myself. What I can't figure is that although Mandrake was on a slower disk and I installed more software then on 2000 in the initial install, mandrake still stomped 2000. Guess that's something else I'm going to have to look into.

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