Openwall GNU/*/Linux - a small security-enhanced Linux distro for servers
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Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2006 14:51:20 +0300
From: Solar Designer <>
Subject: Re: best john optimized architecture?

On Tue, Jan 31, 2006 at 10:49:11PM -0800, Arias Hung wrote:
> which architecture that in the list of john supported architectures
> offer the highest combinations/s?

For DES-based Unix crypt(3) hashes, PowerPC G5 (with AltiVec).

For non-DES-based hashes, x86.

For LM hashes (which are DES-based), PPC/AltiVec and x86/MMX deliver
similar performance.

> I know this might be subjective as it might also depend on how much memory,

No, the amount of memory is completely irrelevant.

> This would be very interesting I think to see comparisons between linux-x86-mmx,
> Tru64-alpha, ppc32-altivec, ppc64, etc ...

Yes, I think I might dedicate a web page to that eventually.

Right now, if you want the absolute best performance per CPU, the choice
is between PowerPC G5 and the fastest x86's from either Intel or AMD.

Alphas deliver better DES performance per-MHz (speaking of 21264A), but
their clock rates are nowadays substantially lower than those of the
competition (it used to be the other way around some years ago).

For ppc32-altivec vs. ppc64, the former is generally faster (it's
effectively 128-bit for DES, 32-bit for the rest) - but it's just two
ways to build John for the same CPU (except that ppc32-altivec will also
work for a G4).

If you want best performance for the money, get some Celerons - for this
application, they are not any slower than "full" P3s or P4s.  For
example, a P3 Celeron Tualatin 1.4 GHz ($40 for the CPU) overclocked to
1568 MHz (112x14) does:

Benchmarking: Traditional DES [64/64 BS MMX]... DONE
Many salts:	515443 c/s real, 515443 c/s virtual
Only one salt:	472051 c/s real, 472051 c/s virtual

This is more than 50% of the performance of the fastest P4s that are
currently available.

> Also whether there are any noticeable differences in distro vs distro?
> linux-mmx-x86 vs freebsd-mmx-x86 vs netbsd-mmx-x86?


> or even OS vs OS
> linux-mmx-x86 vs windows-mmx-x86?

No, assuming that you would not use Windows 9x these days.

Alexander Peslyak <solar at>
GPG key ID: B35D3598  fp: 6429 0D7E F130 C13E C929  6447 73C3 A290 B35D 3598 - bringing security into open computing environments

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