27
Aug 11

Linux Browsers Compared – Firefox Aurora, Opera Next, Chrome Dev

Web Browsers Compared

The browser war is once again at it’s peak. Google Chrome has shaken up the web browsers landscape on Linux in terms of speed and it’s agile release cycle. Older established players like Firefox and Opera have responded with their own faster release cycles. All of the browsers allow ends uses to preview and test  upcoming versions. Firefox now has the Aurora channel and Opera has the Next release channel to preview the future versions.

This review compares the current in-development versions of the Chrome, Firefox and Opera web browsers on Linux.  Is the new release cycle of Firefox and Opera helping them to match Chrome in speed and performance? Cutting the chase, lets find out.

Browsers Tested

  • Opera Next 12 pre-alpha amd64
  • Firefox Aurora 8.0a2 2011-08-25 amd64
  • Google Chrome dev  15.0.861.0  amd64

Test Methodology

  • All extensions disabled in each browser
  • Only one test was run at a time
  • All browser cache in a tmpfs ram disk

Test System

  • CPU   – AMD Phenom X6 1055
  • RAM –  8 GB DDR3 1300
  • Disk – Intel X25V  40 GB
  • Graphic Card – Zoatc Geforce GT 460 768Mb
  • OS Ubuntu 11.04 running Unity/ 2.6.38-11-generic #48-Ubuntu SMP

The Tests

V8 Benchmark Suite – version 6

V8 Benchmark Suite - version 6 - Higher is Better

Google  Chrome dev  is the stand-out winner in the benchmark, for obvious reasons.  This is the bench mark that developers of Google Chrome uses to baseline he V8 javascript engine and most likely Chrome is heavily optimised for  this benchmark.  Firefox and Opera fall way behind as a distant second and third respectively.

Sunspider

Sunspide 0.9.1 - Lower is better (ms)

This is another javascript benchmark.   Here the difference between Chrome and Firefox is not so dramatic as in the V8 benchmark, but tables are turned.  Firefox is significantly faster in this benchmark, interestingly even Opera is faster then Chrome.

HTML 5 Test Suite

HTML5 Suite - Higher is better

The HTML5 test suite indicates how well the browser can render HTML5.  Google Chrome with 342/450 leads the pack, with Opera coming last with 286/450. Firefox is in between with 314/450.

This will be a bench mark to watch out for in future. As HTML5 becomes more widespread in the future, the winner will be the one that has the best support for HTML5.

Acid3 Test

Sunspide 0.9.1 - Lower is better (ms)

Only Firefox Aurora misses out the perfect hunderd and could manage 97/100; while both Google Chrome dev and Opera Next came up with perfect 100/100.

Final Words

It is clear from all the benchmark Chrome remains the king of speed and performance on Linux.

These preview versions of the web browsers we have compared will be released before the end of this year, and Chrome will remain the leader for 2011.

What does Firefox and Opera have for 2012 that will beat Chrome ?


12
Jul 11

Intel X25-V vs Crucial M4-Read Only Benchmark – Ubuntu Linux 11.04

Results of read-only comparison between between Intel X25-V SSDSA2M040G2GC and Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 solid state disk drives (SSD).

Test System

Phenom II X6 1055, 8 GB DDR3 1600, 890 GX board SATA3 6 Gbps

Ubuntu Linux 11.04 default kernel – Ubuntu SMP Mon Apr 11 03:31:24 UTC 2011 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

Gnome Disk Utility Read Benchmark

Intel X25-V
SSDSA2M040G2GC
Crucial M4
CT064M4SSD2
Disk Capacity40 GB60 GB
SATA InterfaceSATA 2 - 3 GbpsSATA 3 - 6 Gbps
Minimum Read177.6 MB/s543.4 MB/s
Maximum Read282.3 MB/s554.7 MB/s
Average Read267.3 MB/s547.1 MB/s
Average Access Time0.1 ms0.1 ms
 

Crucial M4

Crucial M4 

Intel X25V

Intel X25V

 

hdparm Read Benchmark

Intel X25-V SSDSA2M040G2GC SSD:

~$ sudo sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sda

/dev/sda:

Timing cached reads: 6686 MB in 2.00 seconds = 3344.10 MB/sec

Timing buffered disk reads: 1408 MB in 3.00 seconds = 468.82 MB/sec

Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 SSD:

~$ sudo sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sdb

/dev/sdb:

Timing cached reads: 6726 MB in 2.00 seconds = 3363.65 MB/sec

Timing buffered disk reads: 552 MB in 3.00 seconds = 183.86 MB/sec

 


27
Dec 10

Benchmarked WD Green 1TB 64MB vs Seagate 7200.12 1TB 32MB on Ubuntu Linux

Results of read-only comparison between between Western Digital WD10EARS-00Y5B1 and Seagate ST31000358AS hard disk drives (HDD).

Test System

Phenom II X6 1055, 8 GB DDR3 1600, 890 GX board SATA3 6 Gbps

Linux Mint (Ubuntu 10.10) – Kernel  2.6.35-23-generic #41-Ubuntu SMP Wed Nov 24 11:55:36 UTC 2010 x86_64 GNU/Linux

Gnome Disk Utility Read Benchmark

WD Green 1 TB WD10EARS-00Y5B1 Seagate 7200.12 1 TB ST31000358AS
Disk Capacity1 TB1 TB
Disk Cache64 MB32 MB
Rotation Speed less than 7200 rpm (variable)7200 rpm
Advanced FormatYesNo
Minimum Read48.7 MB/s67.6 MB/s
Maximum Read117.6 MB/s133.5 MB/s
Average Read86.9 MB/s107.8 MB/s
Average Access Time14.7 ms13.7
wd-green-1tb

Western Digital Green 1 TB

st-7200-12-1tb

Seagate ST7200-12 1 TB

hdparm Read Benchmark

Western Digital WD10EARS-00Y5B1 hdd
$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sda
/dev/sda:
Timing cached reads: 6714 MB in 2.00 seconds = 3358.17 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 326 MB in 3.01 seconds = 108.40 MB/sec

 

Seagate ST31000358AS hdd
$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sdb
/dev/sdb:
Timing cached reads: 6786 MB in 2.00 seconds = 3394.21 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 374 MB in 3.01 seconds = 124.25 MB/sec

Temperature

The Seagate ST31000358AS  hdd is cooler on my test set-up with temperature going up to +10 C above ambient, while the Western Digital Green WD10EARS-00Y5B1 hdd going up top +13 C over the ambient temperature.

Conclusion

The Seagate drive is significantly faster than the WD Green drive of the same capacity. The Seagate drive though is faster, but is  noisy –  when the spindle spins the noise can be annoying at time. WD Green is whisper  quiet and consumes less power. The WD Green hdd is slightly warmer in operation compared to the Seagate 7200.12.

My recommendation is the WD Green HDD WD10EARS-00Y5B1, the speed is adequate for a average desktop, low power and silent. If you are looking for performance use this WD Green WD10EARS-00Y5B1 with a SSD as a boot disk.


25
Dec 10

OlivePad VT-1000 – 7 inch Android 2.2 Tablet Hands-on Review

P1020052 (Modified)

OlivePad VT1000

OlivePad VT1000 is a seven inch Android 2.2 Tablet computer from India based Olive Telecom.

OlivePad has been selling for a  few months now, but it has not been able to create the interest Notion Ink has been able to generate  on its yet to be released Adam tablet.   I had been on a hunt for a decent Android Tablet for many weeks and never came across the OlivePad until one day saw one on eBay India.   This led me to Olive Telecom’s website where I found out that OlivePad is available on retail at Croma stores across India.  I picked up my OlivePad from the new Croma Store on the Outer Ring Road in Bangalore for INR 23999 (cheaper than the online prices at eBay.in).

This review is based on my hands on experience of using the OlivePad in the last three weeks.  My familiarity with Android devices which includes a Samsung Galaxy S phone running Android 2.2, a Samsung Galaxy 3 that my wife owns.  In between I also used a ten inch Chinese Apad ZT180 tablet running  Android 2.1.

Lets begin the review  with the Quick Specs of the Olive Pad VT1000.

OSAndroid 2.2 Froyo
Processor ARM11 600MHz
Chipset Qualcomm MSM7227
Battery Li Polymer 3240 mAh
Screen 7 inch 800x400 LCD with Capacitive Touch screen
Connectivity 802.11bg wifi, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR, GPS, GSM, 3G
Memory 512 MB RAM
Storage 512 MB built in Flash, and my unit came bundled with a 16 GB micro-SD card
Camera Rear 3 mega pixel, front VGA
Audio microphone, stereo speakers, 3.5 mm stereo audio out
Others G-sensor, e-compass, ambient light sensor.

Hardware and Build

Design

The Olive Tab is rectangular with glass in front with a shiny black plastic in the rear. The sides are aluminum. The sides are not tapered like the Galaxy Tab which makes it look thicker. Nevertheless it’s comfortable to hold. The key here is the 7 inch form factor that is small enough to hold with hone hand. At 380 gm it’s not comfortable holding it for  long duration. However, its much comfortable using the OlivePad tablet  with the leather diary  styled jacket.

Processor Speed and Responsiveness

OlivePad comes with a 600 MHz ARM11 processor. The Tablet is  very responsive and I do not find any perceptible real world difference between the Galaxy S and the OlivePad in terms of responsiveness. However, ARM11 on paper appears slower compared to Cortex A8 chips being used in most recent Android Tablet, and not to mention the upcoming dual core Cortex A9 chips like the Nvidia Tegra2. Bottom line, the ARM11 chip in the OlivePd is adequate to give a very good user experience.

Storage and Memory

The SIM card and the SD card slots can be accessed from the side.OlivePad came bundles with a 16 GB microSD card. The internal flash is just 512 MB, which just leaves 173 MB for user applications. I wish OlivePad had at least  1 or 2 GH internal flash storage. With Froyo apps can be moved to the SD card, but still a lot of junk accumulates in the internal flash storage. The RAM is 512 MB is  adequate and at par with most of the high end Android tablets or phones.

Screen

The screen at best can be called average.   It looks nice  and vibrant when looking straight, but at the slightest angle the colours start getting weird. It indicates a cheap TN panel. I am not saying that it is not usable, but this no iPAD IPS panel or the Galaxy S Super AMOLED display.  Fonts look good and crisp providing a good web browsing experience and reading eBooks is a good experience. I would suggest giving the bundled Aldiko reader the skip and installing FBReader or Cool Reader from the market.

Audio

Two speakers have been places on the top and the bottom side of OlivePad. The speaks are excellent for the form factor.  These are clear and loader than the average tablet speaker and better than some Netbook speaker. a +1 to Olive Telecom fro this.  This is a great when playing games and  I can even dare to watch YouTube videos without a headphone.

Continue reading →


01
Jul 06

Mac: CrossOver Wine to join the party with BootCamp & Parallels

CodeWeavers Inc. has been marketing a very competent set of products (CrossOver Office, Plugin) based on Wine Project for GNU/Linux. Recently the company announced that they will release a similar product for Intel Mac OSX. With this CodeWeavers will join the party of Windows on Mac with Apple’s Bootcamp & Parallel’s for Mac.

CrossOver Mac is Coming!CrossOver Mac — CodeWeavers’ latest Windows-compatability product — is on its way. Intended for Intel Mac OS X machines, CrossOver Mac will allow Mac users to run their favorite Windows applications seamlessly on their Mac, without the need for a Windows OS license of any kind. Below are answers to some of the questions we are receiving on the product.

CodeWeavers – CrossOver Mac

What is Wine ?

Wine is Not an Emulator – says it all. Wine project has created a set of core Windows API, foundation classes that will allow numerous windows applications to run natively on Linux, and perhaps now Intel Macs. Microsoft Windows being closed source, the Wine APIs are at best approximations, but are good enough to run 100s of Windows applications on Linux without having to install Windows or dual boot to Windows.

What is CrossOver ?

CrossOver is a commercial product based on Wine. It is easier to install and manage than the open source Wine. Let’s can CrossOver as Wine ++. On my Suse 9 I have used CrossOver Plugin. It allowed me to install and run Windows browser plugins like QuickTime, Windows Media… CrossOver can also run popular Windows applications like MS Office, Photoshop etc.

What will CrossOver Mac mean to us ?

On Intel Macs we have 2 options for running Windows Applications – dual boot with Apple’s BootCamp & Virtualization like Parallel’s. Read my earlier post on BootCamp & Parallels . At this point, let’s not debate why one would want to run Windows Apps on Mac. The fact that there are so many Windows on Mac products available can indicate that such a need exists.

CrossOver Mac is not yet available. If I go by my user experience on Linux, CrossOver Mac should be a very creditable alternative. The biggest USP for CrossOver is the ability to run Windows applications natively. So in an Intel Mac we could see Office 2003 run like a native Intel Mac application. We can have Windows media playing natively on Safari without Flip4Mac. We may be able to run Internet Explorer 7 on OSX for some nasty bank websites that only work with IE.

Lets Compare … BootCamp vs. Parallels Vs. CrossOver/Wine

BootCamp

  • It requires Windows a copy of Windows XP Sp2 to be installed in a dual boot setup.
  • Only supports Microsoft Windows.
  • All applications compatible with Windows XP can run at native speed.
  • Device Drivers for Mac hardware available from Apple.
  • Third Party hardware like printers, scanners work well
  • File Sharing between Mac OSX and Windows is a major problem. Some third part applications addresses this issues. Read this post.
  • Either Windows or Mac OSX Tiger can run at any one time.
  • BootCamp Beta available for FREE.

Parallel’s

  • Requires a copy of Windows ( 2000, XP…)
  • Can install other OSes like Linux, BSD (cross platform application developers should love this)
  • Problem’s have been reported on many usb devices
  • Can run OSX and Windows or other OS con-currently (how many you can run at a time depends on the amount of RAM you have)
  • Slight speed penalty on Windows or other guest OSes.
  • File sharing between Windows and OSX by using SMB file share.
  • Time limited fully functional demo available. Costs $49 to buy.

CrossOver

  • Only supports Microsoft Windows application.
  • It will not require us to buy or install MS Windows OS ( saves $$$$)
  • It should allow Windows application to be installed directly of Linux ( and later on Mac)
  • Wine runs lots of Windows applications, lots but not all. Most of the popular applications work on CrossOver/Wine.
  • Windows applications should be able to access Mac HFS+ drives natively. On Linux CrossOver lets all supported file systems to be accessed natively.
  • There may be some speed penalty on the Apps running on Wine/CrossOver.

Soon we shall know if CrossOver Mac will be as good as CrossOver Linux. At the moment all I can say is that the Windows on Mac market is getting crowded which is good for the users who will have more choices.

– Manas Kamal Bhattacharya

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