Linux Hardware Reviews, Open-Source Benchmarks & Linux Performance

GNU Linux-libre 5.0-gnu Released As A Kernel Without Any Binary Blobs/Firmware

As usual, following yesterday's release of Linux 5.0 the GNU/FSF folks have put out their re-base of their version of the Linux kernel that strips out support for drivers depending upon binary-only firmware, the ability to load non-free (closed-source) kernel modules, and other functionality removed that isn't in strict compliance with open-source standards.

4 Hours Ago - Linux Kernel - Linux-libre 5.0
LunarG Contributes Their Vulkan SDK To The Khronos Group

It's always been a bit odd how the de facto Vulkan SDK is through LunarG rather than The Khronos Group, which could lead to confusion for those not familiar with the great folks at LunarG. But now it will be more clear with LunarG officially donating their Vulkan software development kit to Khronos.

5 Hours Ago - Vulkan - LunarG Vulkan SDK To Khronos
Intel Offers Up Royalty-Free Thunderbolt 3 To USB Promoter Group

Intel has announced they are contributing the Thunderbolt 3 specification to the USB Promoter Group and making it royalty-free for other hardware vendors to implement support for it. Plus it was also announced the USB4 specifcation is based on the Thunderbolt protocol.

8 Hours Ago - Intel - Plus USB4 Based On Thunderbolt
DiRT Rally 2.0 Linux NVIDIA vs. AMD Radeon 18-Way Steam Play Benchmarks

Dirt Rally 2.0 was released last week by Codemasters as the successor to 2015's Dirt Rally and another title on the EGO Engine. While Dirt Rally saw a native Linux port, Dirt Rally 2.0 hasn't seen any port announced by Feral Interactive (though they are currently porting DiRT 4 to Linux), but what's very exciting is this brand new Windows game runs great under Valve's Steam Play with Proton and DXVK! The experience for Dirt Rally 2.0 is quite great on Linux already thanks to Steam Play and with this being a benchmark-friendly game, here are some NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon benchmarks of this racing game on Linux.

10 Hours Ago - Linux Gaming
27 CPUs Benchmarked With AOM AV1, Intel SVT VP9/AV1/HEVC Video Encoders

With there being a lot of interest from when Intel recently open-sourced their SVT-AV1 video encoder and more recently their VP9 video encoder also under the "Scalable Video Technologies" umbrella, here are benchmarks from 27 different systems showing off their performance. Plus for kicks there are also some other CPU-based video encode benchmarks including AOM-AV1 and others.

11 Hours Ago - Multimedia - Twenty Seven CPUs
Enabling AMD Radeon FreeSync On Linux 5.0

One of the most asked questions in recent weeks has been how to enable the newly added support for FreeSync on Linux. Now with Linux 5.0 out there, here is a quick guide.

12 Hours Ago - Radeon - AMD FreeSync + Linux 5.0
Linux 5.0 Kernel Released With Long-Awaited FreeSync Support, Many New/Improved Features

Linus Torvalds has gone ahead and just issued the Linux 5.0 stable kernel for what originally began as the Linux 4.21 kernel cycle. The Linux 5.0 kernel cycle delivers on the mainline AMD Radeon FreeSync support, continued work on bringing up Intel Icelake and other new CPU features, Logitech high-resolution scrolling capabilities, network improvements, and much more.

3 March 07:49 PM EST - Linux Kernel - Linux 5.0
The Current Spectre / Meltdown Mitigation Overhead Benchmarks On Linux 5.0

With it being a little over one year since Spectre and Meltdown mitigations became public and with the Linux kernel today hitting the big "5.0" release, I decided to run some benchmarks of the current out-of-the-box performance hit as a result of the current default mitigation techniques employed by the Linux kernel. The default vs. unmitigated performance impact for Spectre/Meltdown are tested on an Intel Core i7 and Core i9 systems while there is also an AMD Ryzen 7 box for reference with its Spectre mitigation impact on Linux 5.0.

3 March 05:48 PM EST - Software
Wine-Staging 4.3 Sees More Work Upstreamed While Adding In A Number Of New Patches

Building off the exciting Wine 4.3 release that brought the FAudio implementation, the Wine-Staging crew has outed their newest development release. Wine-Staging 4.3 has upstreamed a number of their patches into Wine while introducing some new work too and then re-basing their existing nearly 800 patches.

3 March 08:58 AM EST - WINE - Wine-Staging 4.3
Mesa State Tracker Adds FP64/INT64 Lowering For NIR Drivers

As a step towards getting the "soft" FP64 (and INT64) support working for Gallium3D OpenGL drivers, the Mesa state tracker has added FP64 / INT64 lowering support for the drivers utilizing NIR.

3 March 06:19 AM EST - Mesa - FP64 + INT64 Lowering With NIR
Habana Labs Posts Initial Thunk Library To Go With Their New Linux Kernel Driver

Back in January the startup Habana Labs posted an open-source Linux kernel driver for their Goya AI processor. That AI accelerator focused on speeding up deep learning inference workloads better than CPUs and GPUs will now see this new driver mainlined with Linux 5.1 while a user-space thunk driver has now been published.

3 March 04:39 AM EST - Hardware - hl-thunk
X.Org Server 1.19.7 Released With A Fix For The Two Decade Old SiS 6326

While X.Org Server 1.20.4 was just released a few days ago with XWayland improvements and more, for vintage computer enthusiasts there is now the X.Org Server 1.19.7 that was released independently to provide a six for helping out the SiS 6326. Yes, the graphics processor from 1998.

3 March 12:33 AM EST - X.Org - xorg-server 1.19.7
Fedora 31 Finally Planning To Gate Packages While Testing, More Stable Rawhide

As something that arguably should have been done long ago, developers drafting plans for Fedora 31 are planning to introduce single-package gating so packages don't actually land in Rawhide (the Fedora development repository) until they successfully pass their tests... This should help weed out broken packages in Fedora Rawhide and lead to a more usable experience for those living on Fedora's bleeding-edge while also helping along a smooth release process.

2 March 07:00 AM EST - Fedora - Fedora 31 Gating Plans
GNOME 3.32 Lands Long-Awaited Fractional Scaling Support

GNOME 3.32 already picked up a wealth of improvements, polishing, and fixing this cycle, but as we hit the final stretch ahead of the desktop's release in two weeks a big feature just squeezed in...

1 March 01:37 PM EST - GNOME - GNOME Fractional Scaling
NVIDIA Has Been Working On A New Fortran "f18" Compiler It Wants To Contribute To LLVM

NVIDIA for a while now has been working on the Flang compiler as an open-source Fortran compiler built atop the LLVM infrastructure and inspired by the Clang C/C++ compiler front-end. Recently though they began a ground-up rewrite of Flang using modern C++ and that effort is now known as f18 and they are looking to mainline this new Fortran compiler front-end.

1 March 01:11 PM EST - NVIDIA - NVIDIA F18
Systemd Lands Support For "XBOOTLDR" Extended Boot Loader

Systemd has just merged support for the "Extended Boot Loader" partition, a.k.a. "XBOOTLDR", that is their bootloader specification they hope will allow Linux distribution vendors to better support dual/multi-boot setups.

1 March 10:11 AM EST - systemd - systemd XBOOTLDR
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti OpenCL Benchmarks, 14-Way NVIDIA/AMD GPU Compute Tests

On Monday we published the initial GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Linux benchmarks focused on gaming but due to having only a limited amount of time with that new Turing GPU at the time, CUDA/OpenCL benchmarks were yet to be completed. Our initial GPU compute tests with that "TU116" graphics card is now complete and we have those Ubuntu Linux benchmark results for sharing.

1 March 09:06 AM EST - Graphics Cards
D9VK Forming As Direct3D 9 Over Vulkan Based On DXVK

Joshua Ashton, the developer who had been working on "DXUP" as a Direct3D 9/10 to D3D11 translation layer so that the output could be fed to DXVK for running on Vulkan is now developing the "D9VK" project.

1 March 05:55 AM EST - WINE - D9VK
Intel's Clear Linux Already Forging Plans To Land GCC 9 & LLVM 8

While we have looked extensively at the performance of generated binaries of user-space applications built under GCC 9, soon we'll be able to benchmark a complete system image built under this annual compiler update to the GNU compiler as Clear Linux is planning a quick roll-out of the soon-to-be-released compiler.

1 March 05:32 AM EST - Clear Linux - GCC 9 + LLVM 8
Linux Lock-Down Kernel Patches Get Revived, Seeking Mainline Inclusion

An effort ongoing for a few years now has been the CONFIG_LOCK_DOWN_KERNEL patches to prevent user-space from being able to modify the kernel image with blocking the ability to load unsigned kernel modules, no writing to /dev/mem, restricting PCI BAR and MSR access, ACPI restrictions, and more. Some Linux distributions are already carrying this work in some form and enabling it with UEFI SecureBoot, but it hasn't been mainlined although could soon change.

1 March 05:22 AM EST - Linux Kernel - CONFIG_LOCK_DOWN_KERNEL
RadeonSI Driver Adding Displayable DCC For Raven Ridge

Delta Color Compression (DCC) support for scan-out surfaces will soon be supported by AMD Raven Ridge hardware in conjunction with the latest AMDGPU Linux kernel code and the RadeonSI OpenGL driver.

1 March 12:06 AM EST - Radeon - Raven Scanout DCC
Linux 5.0, Radeon VII, Intel Iris Driver & Other Exciting Milestones In February

While February is the shortest month, this year there wasn't any letdown of exciting open-source/Linux milestones. Besides the usual FOSDEM conference with the interesting mix of tech topics, AMD's Radeon VII release excited open-source Linux GPU driver fans, Linux 5.0 approached the finish line with a lot of new features, GCC 9 and Clang 8 are also approaching their respective finish lines, and a lot of other activities made this February quite exciting on the Linux/open-source scene.

28 February 09:00 PM EST - Phoronix - February 2019
AMDGPU Begins Staging 200+ Changes For Linux 5.2 Kernel

With the feature cut-off past for getting new Direct Rendering Manager driver changes into DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 5.1 merge window expected to open up this weekend, AMD developers have already begun staging their latest feature work for what in turn will target the Linux 5.2 kernel a few months down the line.

28 February 07:44 PM EST - Radeon - AMDGPU Linux 5.2 WIP
VDPAU Library 1.2 Released With HEVC 4:4:4 Support

While NVIDIA may be divesting from the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix (VDPAU) in favor of their NVENC/NVDEC APIs that are part of the NVIDIA Video Codec SDK, they do continue maintaining the VDPAU library (libvdpau) at least for the time being.

28 February 05:14 PM EST - NVIDIA - libvdpau 1.2
ASRock Rack EPYCD8-2T Makes For A Great Linux/BSD EPYC Workstation - 7-Way OS AMD 7351P Benchmarks

If you are looking to assemble an AMD EPYC workstation, a great ATX motherboard up for the task is the ASRock Rack EPYCD8-2T that accommodates a single EPYC processor, eight SATA 3.0 ports (including SAS HD), dual M.2 PCIe slots, dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports,and four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots all within ATX's 12 x 9.6-inch footprint. This motherboard has been running well not only with various Linux distributions but also DragonFlyBSD and FreeBSD.

28 February 10:35 AM EST - Motherboards
The Intel-Developed Vulkan Overlay Layer Picks Up New Features, Dump FPS To File

It was just one week ago that developers from the Intel Open-Source Technology Center contributed their new Vulkan Overlay later to Mesa 19.1 for providing various performance metrics/statistics of use to application/driver developers. This Vulkan overlay continues being improved upon as well as making it more applicable to gamers/enthusiasts.

28 February 08:02 AM EST - Intel - Mesa Vulkan Overlay