Tag Archives: linux

Linux 5.5 Released With Many Hardware Support Improvements

Linus Torvalds has just released Linux 5.5 as stable. While there was an uptick in patches this week and some concern the Linux 5.5 cycle may be extended due to the downtime encountered around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, Linus did opt today to release the 5.5 kernel on schedule today rather than going for an extra release candidate.

Linux 5.5 brings many changes including Raspberry Pi 4 support, AMD Navi GPU overclocking, support for new and upcoming Intel platforms, enabling 5-level paging by default, an NVMe drive temperature driver that is convenient and better than the current user-space utilities, Chromebook Wake-On-Voice support, KUnit for in-kernel unit testing, and much more.

[Source: Phoronix]

Linux 5.6 “HWMON” Changes Sent In With Big AMD Improvements


Following the Linux 5.5 kernel release one of the first pull requests sent in is for the hardware monitoring “HWMON” subsystem updates. Dominating the HWMON interest this cycle is a long overdue SATA temperature monitoring driver and vastly improving the k10temp driver for AMD Zen desktop and server CPUs.

The SATA drive temperature driver for capable Serial ATA drives is long overdue. This generic driver allows reporting SATA drive temperatures via the kernel using existing HWMON infrastructure, unlike existing tools running in user-space and requiring root access just to read SATA drive temperatures… Way long overdue especially with Linux 5.5 having already merged its equivalent NVMe drive temperature driver. Plus now integrating nicely with all the Linux utilities polling the exposed HWMON sensors.

The other big item of HWMON for Linux 5.6 are the improved AMD CPU temperature and voltage/current reporting for Zen/Zen+/Zen2 processors. There is greatly expanded CPU temperature reporting and until now the mainline driver hasn’t supported any AMD power readings for Zen-based processors. That’s all been changing. I’ve personally been testing these changes a ton and happy to see them finally materialize for mainline.

Besides these two big improvements are also various other HWMON driver changes as outlined via the Sunday night pull request.

Linux 5.5 Ready To Shine With Navi Overclocking, Raspberry Pi 4 Support, Wake-On-Voice

Everything is aligning that the Linux 5.5 kernel is likely to be released this coming Sunday rather than being pushed off for another week of testing.

As it’s been two months since the Linux 5.5 merge window and already we’ve been quite busy talking about material on deck for Linux 5.6, here is a look back at some of the new features and changes of Linux 5.5…

[Source: Phoronix]

Linux 5.6 Is Looking Like It Will Be Spectacular With A Long List Of Features


Linux 5.5 is likely to be released later today and with that are many new features. But as soon as 5.5 is released it marks the opening of the Linux 5.6 merge window and this next kernel has us particularly exciting… It’s certainly shaping up to be one of the most exciting kernel cycles in recent times with many blockbuster features and improvements.

Among the work that’s slated to land with Linux 5.6 includes:

– WireGuard finally going into the mainline kernel for this secure VPN tunnel.

– Initial USB4 support thanks to Intel’s open-source developers.

– The FQ-PIE packet scheduler is being mainlined as another step to fighting bufferbloat on Linux.

– Improved AMD Zen temperature/power reporting. The k10temp driver is now in good shape for reporting the temperatures and current/voltage readings on the AMD Zen/Zen+/Zen2 processors. I’ve partially been testing a lot of the processors and overall it’s a big improvement over the limited temperatures exposed before and no power information.

– Also on the temperature front is finally having an in-kernel SATA drive temperature reporting driver that jives with the HWMON interfaces, doesn’t require root access to read, and no special user-space utilities as was previously the case.

– Btrfs Async Discard support for better TRIM/discard performance on SSDs with Btrfs.

– F2FS data compression support.

– A fix so ASUS TUF laptops with AMD CPUs will stop overheating on Linux.

– Open-source NVIDIA RTX 2000 “Turing” graphics support with hardware acceleration albeit dependent on firmware binary blobs that have yet to be published.

– AMD Pollock support was sent in as part of the graphics changes.

– AMD DP MST DSC support is all wired up.

– AMD Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is wired up for tapping the PSP / Secure Processor on Raven and newer APUs.

– Power management improvements for Radeon GPUs.

– Continued Intel graphics work on Tiger Lake and Elkhart Lake among other improvements.

– Intel SST Core-Power support.

– Faster memmove() performance for Intel Ice Lake.

– Intel MPX is finally being cleared in full.

– Obsoleting the Intel Simple Firmware Interface.

– Intel Virtual Bus introduction.

– An optimization for Intel’s IGC 2.5G Ethernet driver yielding ~7% better performance.

– Possible Intel server power management improvements.

– EXT4 Direct I/O optimizations.

– FSCRYPT inline encryption.

– Supporting more Logitech drivers with the input driver code maintained by the community.

– A new GRND_INSECURE random option.

– ARMv8.5 RNG support and other new ARMv8 features.

– Starting on AMD Zen 3 enablement though not too much at this point, but it’s a start.

– More Intel Jasper bring-up and other new hardware bits.

– More AVX/AVX2/AVX-512 optimizations within the kernel’s crypto code.

– Prepping for finally landing multipath TCP support.

– Potentially the inclusion of Western Digital’s Zonefs file-system for SMR drives.

– One item we haven’t seen queued yet but hopeful it could come at the last minute is the long-awaited AMD Sensor Fusion Hub driver.

– The time namespace for allowing per-namespace offsets to the system monotonic and boot-time clocks, with a container use-case in mind.

– There’s even a mainline driver now for keyboard/mouse support on the SGI Octane and Onyx2. Yes, the hardware from the late 90’s…

And I’m sure a lot more that I didn’t yet notice in Git, but will be closely following the pull requests as always as soon as the Linux 5.6 merge window opens up… Stay tuned!

Valve’s ACO Helps The Radeon RX 5600 XT Compete With NVIDIA’s RTX 2060


As shown yesterday the new video BIOS of the Radeon RX 5600 XT paired with the corrected SMC firmware on Linux yields impressive performance improvements that — similar to Windows — allows the card to compete better with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2060. For Linux users, activating the Valve-funded ACO compiler back-end for the Radeon “RADV” Vulkan driver helps turn up the competition even more.

I’ll have out complete RADV + ACO benchmarks shortly, but here are some initial findings so far when doing a third run of the RX 5600 XT that in addition to having the revised vBIOS in working order on Linux is with RADV_PERFTEST=aco set for enabling the ACO compiler back-end with RADV rather than the default AMDGPU LLVM back-end.

Tests were with Mesa 20.0 + Linux 5.5. Given the short turnaround time, ACO on the RX 5600 XT is being looked at while the other Radeon cards tested are at their default (non-ACO) configuration up against NVIDIA’s latest driver.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider with the revised vBIOS and enabling ACO now allowed the RX 5600 XT to come out just ahead of the GeForce RTX 2060! This also put the RX 5600 XT faster than the RX 5700, which was running without ACO and would have seen better results too on ACO, as we continue to show in our ACO vs. AMDGPU LLVM benchmarks.

Enabling ACO on the RX 5600 XT with Strange Brigade at medium quality settings boosted the FPS by 5%.

Or compared to the RX 5600 XT results with the original vBIOS, the video BIOS upgrade and switching to Valve ACO has boosted the RX 5600 XT performance by 16% for Strange Brigade with the ultra quality settings.

More ACO tests coming up shortly with the Mesa 20.0 feature freeze happening next week making for interesting tests on the roadmap.