Linux Hardware Reviews, Open-Source Benchmarks & Linux Performance

Linux 5.11 Is Looking Like A Wild And Bumpy Ride On AMD CPUs So Far

A few days ago I noted nice AMD EPYC performance improvements with PostgreSQL when running on Linux 5.11 compared to prior kernels. I've confirmed that for even more AMD EPYC servers now that the PostgreSQL uplift is there, but other workloads are unfortunately regressing for both Ryzen and EPYC. Here's the start of an exciting Christmas benchmarking adventure looking at this change with Linux 5.11...

6 Hours Ago - AMD - PostgreSQL
Windows 10 Competing Well Against Ubuntu 20.10 On The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

Earlier this month we were a bit surprised to see Windows 10 performing close to Ubuntu 20.10 on the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X. With prior AMD Ryzen (and Intel Core) desktop CPUs we normally are used to seeing Ubuntu Linux exhibit healthy performance advantages over Windows 10 in most workloads. But with Zen 3 the Windows vs. Linux performance is much closer and thus led us to also running Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu benchmarks on the higher-end Ryzen 9 5950X to reproduce the earlier findings.

23 December 10:35 AM EST - Operating Systems
DNF/RPM Copy-On-Write Eyed For Fedora 34 To Speed Up Package Installation

Fedora 34 is shaping up to be another exciting Fedora Linux release on the feature front. Among the material to look forward to in this spring 2021 Linux distribution release is routing all audio through PipeWire by default, enabling systemd-oomd by default, an independent XWayland package, and more. The latest proposal involves making use of DNF/RPM copy-on-write support atop Btrfs with Fedora 34.

23 December 08:03 AM EST - Fedora - Btrfs CoW
AMD S2idle Support For Linux Getting Squared Away

Just in time for the upcoming AMD Ryzen 5000 series mobile processors, it's looking like the S2idle support is finally coming together on Linux for increased power savings.

23 December 06:51 AM EST - AMD - AMD S2idle S0ix
Microsoft Adds SPIR-V To DXIL Library In Mesa - With A Focus On WebGPU Support

Microsoft continues pushing new code into Mesa 21.0 as its efforts around Mesa continue to ramp up principally around GPU acceleration within Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) as well as allowing the likes of OpenGL and OpenCL to function under Windows 10 in the absence of native GL/CL drivers by using Mesa to translate the APIs for consumption by Direct3D 12 drivers.

22 December 06:22 PM EST - Microsoft - SPIR-V To DXIL
The Fastest Linux OS For AMD Ryzen Zen 3? It's Still Intel Clear Linux

As we have shown with prior AMD Ryzen and EPYC processors, the Linux distribution generally offering the fastest out-of-the-box performance is Intel's Clear Linux platform. Given there aren't many other distributions as aggressively optimizing their default package set and engaging in features like AutoFDO, PGO, and various out-of-tree patches in the name of modern Intel x86_64 Linux performance -- and in turn, AMD performance benefits as well -- Clear Linux really shines with modern hardware. Testing of the latest Clear Linux with a Ryzen 9 5900X continues to delivering promising performance compared to the likes of Fedora, openSUSE, Manjaro, Debian, and Ubuntu.

22 December 10:00 AM EST - Operating Systems
Intel Pursuing AVX-512 Optimized Crypto Algorithms For The Linux Kernel

Intel engineers have posted the initial Linux kernel patches providing AVX-512 optimized versions of common crypto algorithms. The AVX-512 optimized versions do pan out and promise to offer huge speed-ups but are disabled by default at this stage over the negative CPU frequency/performance impact that running AVX-512 can have on CPU cores / shared threads.

21 December 06:44 PM EST - Intel - AVX-512 Crypto
Arm Begins Adding ARMv8.7-A Support In LLVM Clang 12

Back in September Arm began talking about their "2020 extensions" for the A-profile architecture. Initial support for these new additions as ARMv8.7-A is beginning to land in the LLVM compiler stack.

21 December 03:29 PM EST - Arm - ARMv8.7-A
Running BSDs On The AMD Ryzen 5000 Series - FreeBSD vs. Linux Benchmarks

Over the past nearly two months we have been running a lot of Linux benchmarks on the AMD Ryzen 5000 series, but what about the BSD operating systems with these Zen 3 desktop CPUs? Recently I got around to trying out a few of the BSDs on a Ryzen 9 5900X desktop as well as running some FreeBSD 12.2 vs. Ubuntu Linux benchmarks, including with Linux on OpenZFS and Clang.

21 December 11:23 AM EST - Operating Systems
Radeon RX 6800 XT Seeing Some Slight Gains With Linux 5.11

While the Linux 5.11 merge window is only half-way through with prominent pull requests like the DRM / graphics driver updates already have been merged some of the testing has already begun at Phoronix of this new kernel. With the Radeon RX 6800 XT "RDNA 2" graphics continuing to mature, we are seeing slight uplift in some benchmarks when moving from Linux 5.10 stable to Linux 5.11 Git.

21 December 07:56 AM EST - Linux Kernel - Linux 5.11
Fedora Shifting Their Git Repositories To "Main", Some To "Rawhide"

The Fedora Project is the latest open-source software project working to migrate their Git repositories off using the existing default branch name of "master" and instead using "main" but for some repositories will be "rawhide" where it better aligns with the usage in Fedora Rawhide packages to their development development.

21 December 05:55 AM EST - Fedora - Fedora Git
Linux 5.11 XFS Will Flag File-Systems In Need Of Repair

The main feature change for the XFS driver code in Linux 5.11 is adding a new "needs repair" feature flag. When the XFS code marks a file-system as needing repair, it will refuse to mount until the xfs_repair operation is run on it.

20 December 09:40 AM EST - Linux Storage - "Needs Repair"
LLVM Adds Additional Protections For Arm's SLS Speculation Vulnerability Mitigation

Revealed earlier this year was the Arm Straight Line Speculation (SLS) vulnerability. SLS was a Google discovery for modern ARMv8 CPUs where speculative execution past unconditional changes in control flow could lead to information disclosure via side-channel analysis. Arm recommended compiler-based mitigations to insert speculation barriers after vulnerable instructions, which GCC and LLVM began adding opt-in protections right away. This weekend some additional SLS functionality was added for LLVM.

20 December 09:06 AM EST - Arm - Straight Line Speculation