2 min read

Mac OSX 10.10 Yosemite beta vs 10.7.5 vs Ubuntu 14.04 on Macbook Air 2011

The new OSX will be released this fall but a Mac OSX Yosemite beta is already available online. I don’t care much about the “wow” effect around the new Apple products, so I tested this new Operative System comparing the old OSX Lion 10.7.5 and the current Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS for the stuff I care: the UNIX and the Web performance part, because I fear the upgrade OSX dilemma.
Phoronix already pointed out the improvements of the Linux drivers on the Macbook Air 2013, but I wanted to test on my computer for different use cases.
Here my results via Google Chrome 35 web browser which is available on all the OSes.


Macbook Air 4,1 2011
CPU: 1,6 Ghz Intel Core i5
GPU: Intel HD Graphics 3000 288 MB
RAM 2 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
	Some notes</p>
		The <strong><a href="http://www.babylonjs.com/">3D WebGL&nbsp;Babylonjs Train</a></strong> benchmark: crashed the OSX 10.10 OS after some seconds, worked on 10.7.5 but didn't load all the textures, worked fine on Ubuntu 14.04 but crashed Chrome the first time.</li>
		Ubuntu have LUKS partition encryption, but i5 cpu has the AES-NI flag so no big penalty for Ubuntu, otherwise +20% of cpu usage.</li>
		<strong>HTML5test.com</strong>: the Chrome browser (version 35) scored <strong>507</strong> everywhere but on Ubuntu I had to enable&nbsp;<strong>#ignore-gpu-blacklist </strong>under&nbsp;<strong>chrome://flags</strong> and restart the browser.</li>
		<strong>v8 v5 benchmark</strong>: is a bit&nbsp;unreliable but the 2nd run is a more "stable" result.</li>
		<a href="http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/performance/fishbowl/"><strong>Fishbowl</strong></a>: I've disabled water and audio, because I wanted to isolate better the 2D performance.</li>
  OSX 10.10 Yosemite OSX 10.7.5 Ubuntu 14.04 with LUKS encryption
javascript performance
v8 v5
14481 14498 14814
Fishbowl 750
~16 fps 23 fps ~38 fps
3D WebGL
Babylon Train
~10 fps 9 fps 18-23 fps 

What still doesn’t work perfectly on Ubuntu Linux

Everything just work, power management standby, special keys on the keyboard,.. but some areas 
  • Multitouch trackpad gestures: the problem isn’t MBA or Apple specific, some trackpad gestures can be recornized by the OS with tweaks. Natural and two finger scrolling works.
  • Scrolling: also known as "TheVerge.com benchmark", the scrolling is slightly flickering at the end of the animation, chrome://gpu is all green, I tried to enable the smooth scrolling in the Chrome flags but the issue persist. The Epiphany, the native gtk3 web browser, scrolls better, so this may be a Chrome implementation on Linux problem.


Probably the Macbook Air 4,1 2011 or the Chromebook Acer C720 are the best ultrabook and netbook I ever tried with Linux and OSX Yosemite probably will have some speed regression on older hw