Linux now faster than Windows 11 for Intel Core i9 12900K “Alder Lake” with latest kernel


Back in November, when the 12th Gen Intel Core “Alder Lake” processors were first released, I ran OS benchmarks and found Windows 11 to perform better than Linux with the flagship Core i9 12900K processor. Fortunately, thanks to kernel improvements since Linux 5.16, this is largely no longer the case. Here’s a fresh look at i9-12900K performance running Ubuntu 22.04 daily with Linux kernel 5.16 and 5.17-rc3 also tested and Clear Linux for Intel’s benchmark Linux platform.

While it’s sad to see Alder Lake running better overall on Windows 11 at launch compared to Linux, thanks to fixes around hybrid management and other kernel improvements since then Linux is comfortably on top with Linux 5.16 +.

As before, this test run was with an Intel Core i9 12900K processor at stock speeds with ASUS ROG STRIX Z690-E GAMING WiFi motherboard using the latest firmware at the time of testing, 2 x 32GB DDR5-4400 memory and using Gen12 ADL-S GT1 integrated graphics. Operating systems tested for this series that were properly installed and tested out of the box (unless otherwise stated with kernels) included:

– Windows 11 Pro x64 with all stable updates and drivers available since early February.

– Daily Ubuntu 22.04 LTS image as of February 7th. The system here was booted using the i915.force_probe option to have working graphics acceleration on the i9-12900K.

– Ubuntu 22.04 every day with then upgrade to stable Linux 5.16 via Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA.

– Ubuntu 22.04 daily with the use of Linux 5.17-rc3 from the main Ubuntu kernel PPA.

– Intel’s Clear Linux 35810 progressive release and its current kernel based on Linux 5.16.

Ubuntu 22.04 daily at the moment with Alder Lake has no graphics acceleration or proper mode setting (hence the low resolution on the 4K display shown) on its default 5.15 based kernel. And lacks performance improvements/fixes found in Linux 5.16+.

Ubuntu 22.04 LTS plans to use Linux kernel 5.15 by default since it is also a Long Term Support (LTS) release. At least for now, the current 5.15 kernel on Ubuntu 22.04 doesn’t contain any of the backports benefiting Alder Lake… Heck, even the default ADL-S graphics aren’t backported nor is the default i915.force_probe replacement to allow d have Alder Lake accelerated graphics by default. Assuming they go ahead with their plans to stick with Linux 5.15 as their default kernel, hopefully Canonical will at least grab those backports for better Alder Lake performance and then also enable ADL ready graphics. ‘use.

As the results are about to show, Ubuntu 22.04 with Linux 5.16+ is what puts performance now ahead of Windows 11 versus otherwise being behind Microsoft’s OS overall… Let’s look at them figures.


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