Linux Hardware Reviews, Open-Source Benchmarks & Linux Performance


The Performance Cost Of Spectre / Meltdown / Foreshadow Mitigations On Linux 4.19

One of the most frequent test requests recently has been to look at the overall performance cost of Meltdown/Spectre mitigations on the latest Linux kernel and now with L1TF/Foreshadow work tossed into the mix. With the Linux 4.19 kernel that just kicked off development this month has been continued churn in the Spectre/Meltdown space, just not for x86_64 but also for POWER/s390/ARM where applicable. For getting an overall look at the performance impact of these mitigation techniques I tested three Intel Xeon systems and two AMD EPYC systems as well as a virtual machine on each side for seeing how the default Linux 4.19 kernel performance -- with relevant mitigations applied -- to that of an unmitigated kernel.

115 Minutes Ago - Software
Benchmarks Of The 24-Core ARM Socionext 96Boards Developerbox

Announced last October was a 24-core ARM developer box being worked on by Linaro/96Boards, Socionext, and Gigabyte. The specifications are appealing with twenty-four ARM 64-bit cores with the SoC on a micro-ATX sized motherboard, support for a PCI Express graphics slot, and onboard Gigabit Ethernet. Here are our first benchmarks of this Socionext 96Boards Developerbox.

29 August 02:15 PM EDT - Processors
The NVIDIA Jetson TX2 Performance Has Evolved Nicely Since Launch

Word this week of the NVIDIA Jetson Xavier Development Kit being up for pre-order reminded me of some benchmarks I had been meaning to do of seeing how the NVIDIA Jetson TX2 developer kit's performance has evolved since its launch a year and a half ago. There's actually a quite measurable improvement in performance with the latest software/drivers compared to it was at launch.

29 August 09:38 AM EDT - Computers
Nebulet: A Rust Microkernel Running WebAssembly In Ring 0

You should likely be familiar with WebAssembly as the binary format for executing code within web pages that can be nearly as fast as running native machine code -- and certainly much faster than JavaScript. A new research project has been exploring running WebAssembly in the CPU's Ring 0 -- yes, the highest privileged state of the processor -- in the name of better performance.

29 August 05:26 AM EDT - Mozilla - Ring 0 WASM?!?!
Clear Linux Rolling Out KDE Plasma Desktop Support, Plus Some Benchmarks Against GNOME Shell

The performance-optimized Clear Linux distribution out of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center started out with Xfce as its lone desktop option and then added and moved over to the GNOME Shell as the default desktop. While GNOME Shell remains the default desktop choice for this rolling-release Linux distribution, KDE components have begun appearing in recent days.

28 August 08:00 PM EDT - Operating Systems
Realtek USB3 Hubs Will See Firmware Updates Delivered On Linux Via Fwupd/LVFS

Linux firmware updating is on a roll with the fwupd updating utility and the Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) for the distribution of these firmware files recently seeing AKiTiO Thunderbolt device support and NVMe SSD firmware updating being the next big task. Richard Hughes of Red Hat has also revealed he's been working on USB3 hub firmware support in conjunction with Realtek.

28 August 06:57 PM EDT - Hardware - Realtek Firmware Updates
Intel To Develop Safety-Critical Linux OS Distribution

Imad Sousou of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center has announced their plans to develop a safety-critical Linux distribution. This Linux distribution will be geared for running on safety-compliant solutions from autonomous vehicles to drones and more.

28 August 05:07 PM EDT - Clear Linux - Safety Critical Linux
Oracle Solaris 11.4 Officially Released

Two years after Solaris 11.3 and Oracle opting for a "continuous delivery" model of 11.next updates instead of a "Solaris 12", Solaris 11.4 is out the door today.

28 August 12:37 PM EDT - Oracle - Solaris 11.4
The Tighter NVIDIA GeForce vs. AMD Radeon Linux Gaming Battle With 396.54 + Mesa 18.3-dev Drivers

Last week NVIDIA released the 396.54 driver that has a significant performance fix for OpenGL/Vulkan Linux performance due to a resource leak regression introduced at the start of the 390 driver series. With that updated driver (also as of yesterday back-ported to 390.87 too), there is a measurable boost in performance after running a few games on NVIDIA Linux systems. But at the same time, the Mesa 18.3-dev open-source graphics driver stack with RadeonSI/RADV continues improving on the open-source AMD front. Here is a fresh look at how the latest AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards compare using these latest drivers.

28 August 08:09 AM EDT - Display Drivers
wineSHOCK: The Automated Direct3D Game Benchmarks On Wine

Given Valve's now public Steam Play for Linux using the Wine-derived Proton and their ongoing relationship with Code Weavers to improve the experience for Windows games on Linux, it perhaps adds better context why this summer for GSoC there was the automated Direct3D game benchmarking work with mentorship by a CodeWeavers developer.

28 August 07:31 AM EDT - WINE - wineSHOCK
More Vega 20 Enablement Heading To Linux 4.20~5.0, No Longer Marked Experimental

While the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window just ended this past weekend and the development cycle for Linux 4.20 (or most likely to be called Linux 5.0) won't kick off until around the middle of October, AMD has already begun staging a ton of changes for this next kernel version. In particular, it looks like with this next kernel release their Vega 20 enablement will be in order.

28 August 05:28 AM EDT - Radeon - Vega 20
Benchmarks Of Intel's Latest Linux Microcode Update

With all of the confusion last week over Intel's short-lived CPU microcode license change that forbid benchmarking only for them to change it a short time later -- to a much nicer license in that the microcode files can be easily redistributed and don't curtail it in other manners (and also re-licensing their FSP too), here are some performance benchmarks when trying out this latest Intel microcode on Linux.

27 August 01:18 PM EDT - Software
The New & Improved Features Of The Linux 4.19 Kernel

The Linux 4.19-rc1 kernel is expected to be released today and with that marks the end of feature development on this next kernel version. Here is a look at the new and improved features to be found in Linux 4.19.

26 August 10:51 AM EDT - Software
FreeBSD DRM Is Causing A Load Of In-Fighting This Week

DRM is causing a lot of vibrant discussions this week on the FreeBSD mailing list... And no, it's not even Digital Rights Management but rather colorful commentary about their Direct Rendering Manager code and plans for FreeBSD 12.

26 August 07:01 AM EDT - BSD - DRM + FreeBSD
QEMU Merges Initial Support For nanoMIPS

Earlier this year MIPS rolled out the I7200 processor core built on the new "nanoMIPS" architecture. The open-source enablement of this new CPU ISA continues to settle down while the latest accomplishment is support for this new architecture in QEMU.

26 August 06:38 AM EDT - Virtualization - QEMU + nanonMIPS