Windows 11 WSL 2 is almost as quick as running Linux natively

Windows Subsystem for Linux
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The performance of Ubuntu Linux run using the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2 (opens in new tab)) under the upcoming Windows 11 (opens in new tab) release was a close match to the performance of the distro run on bare metal, according to a new benchmark.

Following up in their benchmark comparing Windows 11 against Linux (opens in new tab), Phoronix tried to gauge the improvements of the WSL2 subsystems of the upcoming Windows release, by pitting it against native Ubuntu 20.04 (opens in new tab), and the upcoming Ubuntu 21.10 installations.

“Out of 130 tests in total, Windows 11 WSL2 Ubuntu 20.04 LTS managed to run at 94% the speed of bare metal Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on the same system,” observes Phoronix

Impressed by the performance, Phoronix makes it a point to highlight the CPU/system benchmarks where WSL2 delivered comparable performance to the natively-running Ubuntu installation.

Encouraging results

The benchmarks were conducted using the open source (opens in new tab) Phoronix Test Suite running on an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X (opens in new tab) system with the ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VIII HERO motherboard (opens in new tab) equipped with 16GB of RAM (opens in new tab), 1TB WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD (opens in new tab), and a GeForce RTX 3090 (opens in new tab) graphics card.

The tests revealed some interesting results. For instance, under heavy workloads, WSL2 showed some overhead compared to bare metal Ubuntu Linux as expected. However, for some HPC workloads like Rodinia, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS under WSL 2 performed almost at par as bare metal Ubuntu, and in some cases even came out ahead.

In the same vein, the performance of most moderate CPU workloads that aren’t I/O or memory intensive, the WSL2 Ubuntu performance was virtually the same as that of its bare metal counterpart.

“Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 overall has matured quite well and for most workloads is delivering acceptable performance atop Windows 11,” concludes Phoronix, pointing out that while the tests were done on a still-cooking Windows 11 “Dev” channel release (Windows 11 22454.1000) they’ll be repeated once Windows 11 is released in October.

Via Phoronix (opens in new tab)

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.