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SubjectSATA-performance: Linux vs. FreeBSD
Dear all,

I did some performance tests that made me really wonder:

My Hardware:
Asus P5LD2 board with Intel i945P chipset, ICH7R southbridge
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 at 1.86 GHz, 2 MB Cache
My Software:
OpenSuSE 10.2 with Linux kernel 2.6.18, x86-64 architecture
FreeBSD 6.2

1. HDD: Seagate ST3250820AS RPM 7200.9, 8 MB Cache, 250 GB, SATA-II
(Harddisk Drive)
2. SSD: Adtron AF25FB, 27GB, SATA Revision 1.0a (Solid State Disk)

What I did:
I wrote blocks of 1 MB size to file. Each 1 GB I made a fsync and took the
time. For those tests with filesystems I wrote files of 1 GB size, otherwise
I just wrote to the raw device.

Results: -1-

SSD(vfat 25GB) 41+/-2 MB/s at 4-10% 15+/-0 MB/s at 2% CPU
SSD(raw  25GB)  26+/-1 MB/s at 4-10% CPU 48+/-0 MB/s at 1% CPU
SSD(ext3 25GB) 39+/-5 MB/s at 10-15% CPU 34+/-0 MB/s at 14% CPU
SSD(ext2 25GB) 42+/-1 MB/s at 10-15% CPU 32+/-0 MB/s at 10% CPU

Test OpenSuSE (AHCI off) FreeBSD (AHCI off)
SSD(vfat 25GB) 22+/-4 MB/s at 6-19% CPU --
SSD(raw  25GB) 33+/-4 MB/s at 7-14% CPU 41+/-0 MB/s at 1% CPU
SSD(ext2 25GB) 27+/-6 MB/s at 6-14% CPU --

Question 1:
Can anybody explain to me, why writing to a SATA-I device with AHCI consumes
so much CPU time using Linux, while it takes almost no CPU time on FreeBSD
6.2 ? Especially comparing values of writing to the raw device?

Question 2:
Can anybody explain to me, why writing to a solid state disk (a kind of memory
that always has the same constant bandwidth) has such big standard errors in
writing rate using Linux (between 1 to 6 MB/s error) while FreeBSD gives an
almost constant writing rate (as one would expect it for a SSD) ?

Question 3:
Why is writing to a raw device in Linux slower than using e.g. ext2 ? And why
is Linux writing rate much lower (-12.5 % for the best case) compared to
writing rate of FreeBSD?

Question 4:
When writing to the SATA-II HDD Linux is around 10% slower than FreeBSD when
using ext3, but around as fast as FreeBSD when writing raw. Why?

How can I improve the speed of Linux,
Thanks for advices


PS: part of my testcode:

  int fd=open(fileName, O_WRONLY | O_CREAT | O_TRUNC, 0666);
  (void)gettimeofday(&start, 0);
  for (long bl=0; bl < blocksPerGigaByte; ++bl)
    write(fd, block, blockSize);
  (void)gettimeofday(&ende, 0);
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