Ubuntu 32-bit, 32-bit PAE, 64-bit Kernel Benchmarks

Coming up in our forums was a testing request to compare the performance of Linux between using 32-bit, 32-bit PAE, and 64-bit kernels. This is coming after Linus Torvalds has spoke of 25% performance differences between kernels using CONFIG_HIGHMEM4G and those without this option that allows 32-bit builds to address up to 4GB of physical RAM on a system. We decided to compare the performance of the 32-bit, 32-bit PAE, and 64-bit kernels on a modern desktop system and here are the results.

For this comparison we used Ubuntu 9.10 on a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 notebook running an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 processor, 4GB of system memory, a 100GB Hitachi HTS7220 SATA HDD, and a NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M.

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