Optimizing Kernel Performance

One of the primary reasons to recompile your kernel is to improve your overall system performance. Because the kernel is responsible for handling so many critical system features, ranging from scheduling other processes to filesystem interactions, inefficiencies in the kernel can have an impact on every other program the computer runs. For this reason, improving the efficiency of the kernel is very important, and actions you take to this end can have greater-than-average payoffs. This isn't to say, though, that you're likely to see a huge performance boost when you recompile a kernel. Such improvements are likely to be modest, and they probably won't even be noticeable without running benchmarks; however, they will impact just about every program you run. Kernel performance tuning is most important on systems that are very limited in one way or another, such as an old system with little RAM that you want to use as a print server. These options can also have a substantial impact on systems with multiple CPUs, unusually large amounts of RAM, or other exotic features, as well.

This section describes three types of optimizations you can perform: Setting CPU options, removing unnecessary drivers, and tuning device drivers. Each of these options works in a different way and can help improve performance in different circumstances.

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