Tag Archives: GNU/Linux benchmarks

Intel Submits Final Batch Of Graphics Driver Changes For Linux 5.4 – Growing Tiger Lake


After having been submitting various feature updates to DRM-Next the past few weeks of new graphics driver feature code to introduce in Linux 5.4, a final pull request was sent in today with the remaining feature work slated for this next version of the Linux kernel.

As added earlier to Linux 5.4, the big focus at this stage for the open-source Intel Linux developers is on bringing up the “Gen 12” graphics support for Tiger Lake. With the Icelake / Gen 11 graphics support now in good shape, the developers have already been busy plumbing Gen 12 graphics that are at least a year out from being available through retail channels. This final Intel DRM feature pull for Linux 5.4 includes:

– Continued work on bringing up Tigerlake Gen 12 graphics.

– DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (DP MST) fixes.

– GuC and HuC improvements.

– Gen11 graphics fixes and improvements around cache flushes.

– Missing Comet Lake PCI ID has been added.

– GPU reset fixes.

The complete list of changes for this pull request can be found via the mailing list.

The Linux 5.4 cycle will be formally starting in September while the Linux 5.4.0 stable release should be out in November.

Systemd 243 RC2 Released – Phoronix


Released nearly one month ago was the systemd 243 release candidate while the official update has yet to materialize. It looks though like it may be on the horizon with a second release candidate being posted today.

Red Hat’s Zbigniew Jędrzejewski-Szmek has just tagged systemd 243-RC2 as the newest test release for this new version of this de facto Linux init system. Over the past month have been new hardware database (HWDB) additions, various fixes, new network settings, resolvectl zsh shell completion support, bumping timedated to always run at the highest priority, and other changes.

The systemd 243 official release will hopefully be out shortly for allowing sufficient time for it to land ahead of the autumn Linux distribution releases. Those wishing to give RC2 a whirl can do so via GitHub.

Intel’s New OpenGL Driver Is Looking Really Great With The Upcoming Mesa 19.2

Intel’s new open-source OpenGL Linux driver “Iris” Gallium3D that has been in development for the past two years or so is getting ready to enter the limelight. Months ago they talked of plans to have it ready to become their default OpenGL driver by the end of the calendar year and with the state of Mesa 19.2 it’s looking like that goal can be realized in time. With our new tests of this driver, in most games and other graphics applications the performance of this Gallium3D driver is now beyond that of their “classic” i965 Mesa driver.

Over the past year we’ve been looking a lot at the Intel Gallium3D performance and it’s been a remarkable journey from the performance starting out well below their decade old OpenGL driver to now mostly exceeding that classic Mesa driver and often times by wide margins. The Intel Gallium3D driver is also largely now to feature parity in terms of OpenGL extensions and other capabilities. With all of their bases covered, this summer for the upcoming Mesa 19.2 release we’ve been seeing a lot of performance optimizations land. Back in April is when they indicated they hope to have it become the default by end of year 2019 and viable by Mesa 19.2.

Given Mesa 19.2 is now branched and first release candidate issued, I decided to try out this new Intel OpenGL driver with its latest code as of yesterday for seeing just how viable it is in Mesa 19.2. Long story short, it’s very viable and I didn’t encounter any hangs or other problems and the performance is great with only a few regressions to note at this point.

Using an Intel Core i9 9900K with its Gen9 UHD Graphics 630, I ran benchmarks of the Mesa 19.2-devel code as of 20 August for both the classic i965 Mesa driver and this modern “Iris” Gallium3D driver. Linux 5.3 was used for the kernel version and Ubuntu 19.04 made up the rest of the software stack. Various OpenGL games and applications were tested for looking at the current performance difference between these drivers using the Phoronix Test Suite.

Blender 2.81 To Feature Intel Open Image Denoise & Eevee Renderer Improvements


Blender 2.80 made its hugely anticipated debut just under one month ago while already Blender 2.81 is looking interesting and will hopefully be out in November.

Some of the early work for Blender 2.81 that’s now outlined on the in-progress 2.81 release page includes:

– Intel Open Image Denoise support was added for denoising renders. Intel’s been recently talking up the Open Image Denoise capabilities and nice to see it getting adoption in the Blender space as a new option. Those wanting to learn more about this denoising library geared for ray-tracing can do so via their GitHub site.

– Eevee as the new real-time render engine option of Blender 2.80 is being further enhanced with new features.

Open Image Denoise and Eevee improvements are what is most promising at the moment but some other work also includes:

– OpenVDB Voxel Remesh support to create a new quad mesh based on the volume of a mesh.

– Brush curve presets.

– WebM support.

– Support for writing alpha values in WebM and VP9.

More details via the in-progress release notes. It will be exciting to see what else lands in this open-source, cross-platform 3D modeling software ahead of the November update.

Chromebooks Switching Over To The BFQ I/O Scheduler


On Chromebooks when moving to the latest Chrome OS that switches over to a Linux 4.19 based kernel, BFQ has become the default I/O scheduler.

BFQ has been maturing nicely and as of late there’s been an uptick in interest around this I/O scheduler with some also calling for it to be used by default in distributions. Google has decided BFQ is attractive enough to enable by default for Chromebooks to provide better responsiveness.

In our own tests, particularly with slower storage mediums, BFQ delivers good results on recent kernel releases. BFQ aims for low latency on interactive and soft real-time tasks while still being capable of achieving high throughput, among other benefits.

Below is a demo by BFQ developer Paolo Valente on the responsiveness of BFQ on Chromebooks.