Valentin Mihov's Blog

Random pieces of wisdom about technology

Ruby 1.9 vs. Ruby 1.8 real-life speed benchmark, no database

I am writing my blog with sinatra and I can proudly say that it runs with ruby 1.9.1 just fine. Unfortunately the hosting on heroku does not allow using ruby 1.9, so it runs 1.8 in production.

I decided that it will be great to make a benchmark of how the blog runs with the two interpreters. Here are the description and the result.


  • Machine: Apple MacBook Pro, 2.5 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB 667 MHz DDR2, 250 GB HDD, 5400 RPM, Mac OS X 10.5.7
  • Ruby 1.8.7 p72, 64 bit
  • Ruby 1.9.1 p0, 64 bit
  • Sinatra 0.9.2
  • rdiscount 1.3.4
  • haml 2.0.9
  • thin 1.2.2
  • mongrel 1.1.5
  • nginx 0.7.61 as reverse proxy

The logic behind the test

The page that I tested with was doing the following actions:

  • Open around 18 files from the filesystem and read their first 3 lines
  • Parse the lines using regex
  • Parse some dates from the data read from the files
  • Read 5 of the files in-memory
  • Render some HAML templates with content got from the read files

There is a git repository with the code. It is my blog.

The test candidates

I tested the following configurations:

  • 5 Thin instances running Ruby 1.8 behind nginx reverse proxy
  • 5 Mongrel instances running Ruby 1.8 behind nginx reverse proxy
  • 5 Thin instances running Ruby 1.9 behind nginx reverse proxy

I use thin because this is the only web server, that compiles against ruby 1.9 on my machine. I even had to compile it myself, because of the 64 bit interpreter that I have (also custom compiled).

The tests were performed with concurrency 10 and 1000 requests. Here is the command line I used:

# ab -c 10 -n 1000

The results

Setup Req/s ms/request
Ruby 1.8 + thin 19.55 511.599
Ruby 1.8 + mongrel 18.07 553.511
Ruby 1.9 + thin 42.86 233.336

Here are some graphs of the results

Ms per request Requests per second

As you see using ruby 1.9 boosts the performance of the application more than 2 times.

Here are links to the extended info generated by ab:

I will be glad to hear your comments about the test and your experience with ruby 1.9. For the real enthusiasts this site provides info about what gems are 1.9 compatible.