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Linux Stress Testing and Benchmarking

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ASCII Moderator
Apr 6, 2002

Since this is an overclocking and benchmarking website, I thought it would be fitting to point out that Linux can be just as useful for benchmarking and stress testing as Windows is. I'm going to start this out merely as a link farm to various Linux applications, but in time, I can see this becoming a full-on HOWTO. I definitely encourage other members to give input, as I can always use all the help I can.​

Live CD

Phoronix Test Suite Live - a stripped down linux environment designed around the Phoronix Test Suite

stresslinux - stresslinux is a minimal linux distribution running from a bootable cdrom, usb drive, or via PXE​

lm sensors - monitor fans, voltages, and temps

hddtemp - monitor hdd temps

smartmontools - monitor hdd's using the SMART system built into the hard drive​

Benchmark Suites

Phoronix Test Suite - comprehensive testing and benchmarking suite

freebench - free memory, integer, and floating point benchmark

lmbench - portable benchmark suite

ltp - the Linux Test Project benchmark suite

nbench - BYTE Magazine's BYTEmark tests memory, integer, and floating point performance

xfbsuite - benchmark suite for X​

CPU tests

Kernel compile
You can benchmark your system by simply timing you kernel compile. As long as you use the same config file, this will give you a pretty good idea of how you're computer is scaling as you overclock. It will also give you an idea of stability because an unstable system will cause compilation errors. You will need to keep your own log of compile times for reference. This can be used to compare separate systems as long as the same architecture and config file are used. To time your source compile, simply enter the kernel source directory (i.e. /usr/src/linux/) and type:
# time make
when it is done, it will display the overall time it took to complete, which you can then throw in to a text document or spreadsheet to graph, if you'd like.​

CPUBurn - stress the cpu

gamut - loopable benchmark app (formerly Sstress)

Mersenne Prime (GIMPS) - Includes a stress test which is identical to it's Windows counterpart

super pi - calculates pi, same as it's windows counterpart

stress - places a configurable load on different parts of the system: CPU, memory, I/O, and disk stress

System Stability Tester - gui pi calculating program​

Memory Tests

Memtest86+ - can be added to your LILO or GRUB boot menu, so you do not need to have a floppy disk​

Graphics Tests

SPECviewperf 9 (32bit and 64bit)

Unreal Tournament 2003/2004 - You can use fly-by's and botmatches to benchmark

Doom3 - you can use timedemo's to benchmark​

Filesystem I/O

Bonnie - Performance test of filesystem I/O using standard C library calls.

Bonnie++ - Filesystem I/O tester

dbench - filesystem benchmark

iozone - filesystem benchmark

piozone - filesystem benchmark

tiozone - fully threaded filesystem benchmark​

Network Tests

netio - network benchmark

nepim - network test

netperf - network test

iperf - network test​

Program Benchmarks

bootchart - benchmark your boot process

contest - benchmark different kernels to see which performs best on your system

httperf - HP tool to test webserver performance

jmeter - benchmark the performance of http/ftp services and databases

MySQL Super-Smack - MySQL benchmark

pipebench - measures stdin/stdout communication

siege - http performance test

volanomark - java server benchmark​

Articles and HOWTO's

Last edited:
duh. i can't believe I forgot prime95. the package is sci-mathematics/gimps just for the record and i believe it is installed on most linux systems as mprime. and I'll let out a little secret, i mostly compiled the list from the gentoo apps-benchmark directory, hehe.
added super pi, merenne prime, and freebench.
added stresslinux.org as a live cd, and added memtest86+, net benches, and monitoring programs
"stress" should be under "cpu tests" not "benchmarking".

Quoting the project page:
stress said:
stress is not a benchmark. It is a tool used by system administrators to evaluate how well their systems will scale, by kernel programmers to evaluate perceived performance characteristics, and by systems programmers to expose the classes of bugs which only or more frequently manifest themselves when the system is under heavy load. Note that a primary design goal is simplicity and portability, so while stress runs on everthing from Linux to AIX to K42, it is not as sophisticated as tools like gamut or dbench.

Is gamut in your list?
i put stress under "benchmarking suites because it does more than just stress the cpu, but I see what you are saying, and i debated with myself before i placed it too.
and no, i hadn't heard of gamut before.
Mentioned on another forum:
AlphaDriven said:
There is a program that is called System Stability Tester which has linux x86 and amd64 ports. It calculates the Pi using the Borwein algorithm with two or more threads and it compares the results of all the threads after each step. In the case the results are not equal it warns you. You may have it to run continiously for hours and log the results of each step.

You may download the x86 static binary from here:

The amd64 binary from here:

And the sources from here (GPL v2):

Two nice screenshots are here:

From the description and screenshots, I'd say it's a gui variation of super_pi.
Website is Greek and a google search didn't locate any English language info, though the program appears to be in English.
that does look very interesting, thanks for pointing it out...and you're right, it does look a lot like superPI from the screenshots.
nvclock is an AWSOME program. A very very nice nvidia overclocking utility and it really works. I get huge performance benefits using it.
nvclock is good, but it actually isn't really needed anymore. I'm not sure exactly what driver version enabled this, but if you enable CoolBits in your xorg.conf, you can overclock you card directly in the nvidia X server settings.

place this in your video card's Device section in xorg.conf:

Option	"CoolBits" "1"
Im using the old driver in Ubuntu Dapper, I also think I may have made that post in the wrong topic. Well whatever. Apparently prime95 doesnt exist in the Ubuntu repos.
maddog39@maddog39-desktop:~$ mprime
bash: mprime: command not found
maddog39@maddog39-desktop:~$ sudo apt-get install mprime
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
E: Couldn't find package mprime
maddog39@maddog39-desktop:~$ aptitude search mprime
doesn't look like it is in the apt repositories. i just searched thry packages.debian.org to see if i could find it. you might need to get the source yourself and compile it. You can always just skip the "make install" step and simply run the program from the directory you extracted it to.
System Stability Tester, as mentioned in posts #11 and #12 of the current thread, is now hosted in sourceforge.net. You may find it here. Static Linux binaries for x86 and amd64 are also available. I hope it will have a web page and complete documentation soon.
Alphadriven said:
System Stability Tester, as mentioned in posts #11 and #12 of the current thread, is now hosted in sourceforge.net. You may find it here. Static Linux binaries for x86 and amd64 are also available. I hope it will have a web page and complete documentation soon.

thanks for the info.
Benchmarks and Diagnostics

So I have dozens of these machines, they are 1ghz via machines, with 256 megs of RAM, all of the machines are exactly identical as far as hardware inside. They come back to me with problems sometimes, and I figure out what is wrong..and fix it. So I've done memtest to see if there is bad memory, or smartctl -t long /dev/hda, to find out if there is physical damage to the hdd, or a file system check to see a fs corruption, or sometimes the hdd power cable isn't plugged in all the way and doesn't make contact, or the PSU is set to 220 instead of 110, etc etc etc etc.

But recently it seems like some machines pass all my tests, but they are just kind of sluggish, or not responsive. Is there an all in one test, to test the network, hdd performance(not test for failures, but performance/responsiveness), memory performance etc. I want to find a baseline for where a box should be, and if I find a box that doesn't come close to the baseline, figure out what's wrong. So is there an ALL IN ONE suite for testing all the hardware in a machine, something easy and manageable, without having to look at dozens of numbers. Again all of these machines are identical.

Is it possible RAM works, without errors, but is just slow over time? compared to identical hardware with faster RAM? Or same with hdd, or network etc? any help is much appreciated.

also, I tried to look at freebench, but it looks the domain is expired and turned into an advertising portal.