Zombieload, RHEL 8.0, Linux 5.2 & GCC Happenings Dominated May


PHORONIX --

This month on Phoronix there were 316 original news articles and 25 featured/multi-page hardware reviews and benchmark articles. There was a lot of interesting happenings this month from the release of Linux 5.1 to the 5.2 kernel cycle then kicking off, MDS / Zombieload as the latest major Intel CPU vulnerability, GCC 9 saw its first stable release, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 was finally christened, and my personal favorite this month was the Intel Open-Source Technology Summit (OSTS) 2019 event.

Of the 330 original pieces of content written on Phoronix during May, all of which was written by your’s truly, here is a look back at the most popular articles in case you missed any of them. May was a very busy month but June will likely be at least as busy and just ahead of the super exciting July with AMD’s new product launches. There’s also work building around Linux 5.3, development is underway on Phoronix Test Suite 9.0, and much more. And next week on 5 June brings the 15th birthday of Phoronix.com! That date also marks 11 years already since the release of Phoronix Test Suite 1.0. A fun week ahead and I’ll try to have out a number of interesting articles to mark the occasion.

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Now the most popular featured articles included:

The Performance Impact Of MDS / Zombieload Plus The Overall Cost Now Of Spectre/Meltdown/L1TF/MDS
The past few days I’ve begun exploring the performance implications of the new Microarchitectural Data Sampling “MDS” vulnerabilities now known more commonly as Zombieload. As I shared in some initial results, there is a real performance hit to these mitigations. In this article are more MDS/Zombieload mitigation benchmarks on multiple systems as well as comparing the overall performance impact of the Meltdown/Spectre/Foreshadow/Zombieload mitigations on various Intel CPUs and also AMD CPUs where relevant.

Radeon RX 560/570/580 vs. GeForce GTX 1060/1650/1660 Linux Gaming Performance
If you are looking to soon upgrade your graphics card for Linux gaming — especially with the increasing number of titles running well under Steam Play — but only have a budget of around $200 USD for the graphics card, this comparison is for you. In this article we’re looking at the AMD Radeon RX 560 / RX 570 / RX 580 against the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 / GTX 1650 / GTX 1660 graphics cards. Not only are we looking at the OpenGL/Vulkan Linux gaming performance both for native titles and Steam Play but also the GPU power consumption and performance-per-dollar metrics to help guide your next budget GPU purchasing decision.

Benchmarking AMD FX vs. Intel Sandy/Ivy Bridge CPUs Following Spectre, Meltdown, L1TF, Zombieload
Now with MDS / Zombieload being public and seeing a 8~10% performance hit in the affected workloads as a result of the new mitigations to these Microarchitectural Data Sampling vulnerabilities, what’s the overall performance look like now if going back to the days of AMD FX Vishera and Intel Sandybridge/Ivybridge processors? If Spectre, Meltdown, L1TF/Foreshadow, and now Zombieload had come to light years ago would it have shaken that pivotal point in the industry? Here are benchmarks looking at the the performance today with and without the mitigations to the known CPU vulnerabilities to date.

GCC 9 vs. Clang 8 C/C++ Compiler Performance On AMD Threadripper, Intel Core i9
Since the release of the GCC 9 stable compiler suite earlier this month we have begun firing up a number of compiler benchmarks for this annual feature update to the GNU Compiler Collection. For your viewing pleasure today is looking at the performance of GCC 8 against GCC 9 compared to LLVM Clang 8 as the latest release of this friendly open-source compiler competition. This GCC 8 vs. GCC 9 vs. Clang 8 C/C++ compiler benchmarking was done on an Intel Core i9 7980XE and AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX high-end desktop/workstation systems.

A Look At The MDS Cost On Xeon, EPYC & Xeon Total Impact Of Affected CPU Vulnerabilities
This weekend I posted a number of benchmarks looking at the performance impact of the new MDS/Zombieload vulnerabilities that also included a look at the overall cost of Spectre/Meltdown/L1TF/MDS on Intel desktop CPUs and AMD CPUs (Spectre). In this article are similar benchmarks but turning the attention now to Intel Xeon hardware and also comparing those total mitigation costs against AMD EPYC with its Spectre mitigations.

AMD Radeon VII Linux Performance vs. NVIDIA Gaming On Ubuntu For Q2’2019
It’s been three months now since the AMD Radeon VII 7nm “Vega 20” graphics card was released and while we hopefully won’t be waiting much longer for Navi to make its debut, for the time being this is the latest and great AMD Radeon consumer graphics card — priced at around $700 USD. Here are some fresh benchmarks of the Radeon VII on Linux and compared to various high-end NVIDIA graphics cards while all testing happened from Ubuntu 19.04.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 Benchmarks Against RHEL 7.6, Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS, Clear Linux
Continuing on from the initial Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 benchmarks last week, now having had more time with this fresh enterprise Linux distribution, here are additional benchmarks on two Intel Xeon servers when benchmarking RHEL 8.0, RHEL 7.6, Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS, and Clear Linux. RHEL 8.0 is certainly delivering much better out-of-the-box performance than its aging predecessor but how can it compete with Ubuntu LTS and Clear Linux?

Firefox 68 Performance Is Looking Good With WebRender On Linux
With Firefox 67 having released this week, Firefox 68 is in beta and its performance from our tests thus far on Ubuntu Linux are looking real good. In particular, if enabling the WebRender option that remains off by default on Linux, there are some nice performance gains especially.

NVIDIA/AMD Linux Gaming Performance For Hitman 2 On Steam Play
While Hitman was ported to Linux by Feral Interactive, Hitman 2 that was released back in November of 2018 hasn’t seen a native Linux port. However, in recent months Hitman 2 has been running under DXVK+Proton with Steam Play for allowing this stealth video game to run nicely under Linux. More recently the latest Proton updates have worked around an issue that previously prevented our benchmarking of this game, so in this article is a look at the Hitman 2 Linux gaming performance with different AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.

LG’s 4K FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync Display For Just $219 USD
Now that the Radeon FreeSync support is in good standing with Linux 5.0+ and Mesa 19.0+ (or Mesa 19.1+ for RADV Vulkan support) as well as NVIDIA offering G-SYNC Compatible Linux support, if you have been desiring a FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync display but are on a limited budget, LG has an interesting 24-inch contender… A 4K FreeSync-supported display for just $219 USD?!?

And the most popular news articles:

Canonical Releases “WLCS” Wayland Conformance Suite 1.0
While Ubuntu is not currently using Wayland by default with its GNOME Shell desktop and it doesn’t look like they will try again until Ubuntu 20.10, the option is still available and they continue working in the direction of a Wayland Linux desktop future. One of their interesting “upstream” contributions in this area is with the Wayland Conformance Suite.

Linux’s vmalloc Seeing “Large Performance Benefits” With 5.2 Kernel Changes
On top of all the changes queued for Linux 5.2 is an interesting last-minute performance improvement for the vmalloc code.

Dell’s New WD19 Thunderbolt/USB-C Docks Should Be Playing Nicely On Linux
In addition to Dell releasing “budget-friendly” laptops with Ubuntu Linux on Wednesday, the company released new Thunderbolt and USB-C docks that should be working fine out-of-the-box on Linux.

MDS / Zombieload Mitigations Come At A Real Cost, Even If Keeping Hyper Threading On
The default Linux mitigations for the new Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) vulnerabilities (also known as “Zombieload”) do incur measurable performance cost out-of-the-box in various workloads. That’s even with the default behavior where SMT / Hyper Threading remains on while it becomes increasingly apparent if wanting to fully protect your system HT must be off.

Spectre/Meltdown/L1TF/MDS Mitigation Costs On An Intel Dual Core + HT Laptop
Following the recent desktop CPU benchmarks and server CPU benchmarks following the MDS/ZombieLoad mitigations coming to light and looking at the overall performance cost to mitigating these current CPU vulnerabilities, there was some speculation by some in the community that the older dual-core CPUs with Hyper Threading would be particularly hard hit. Here are some benchmarks of a Lenovo ThinkPad with Core i7 Broadwell CPU looking at those mitigation costs.

Arch-Based Antergos Linux Distribution Calls It Quits
The Arch-based Antergos Linux distribution that aimed to make Arch Linux more accessible to the Linux desktop masses is closing up shop.

x86 FPU Optimizations Land In Linux 5.2 That Torvalds Loves But Worries Of Regressions
As part of the first week of changes for the Linux 5.2 merge window, a patch series providing some x86 FPU optimizations were merged though there is some concern there could be regressions on older hardware.

systemd Clocks In At More Than 1.2 Million Lines
Five years ago today was the story on Phoronix how the systemd source tree was approaching 550k lines so curiosity got the best of me to see how large is the systemd Git repository today. Well, now it’s over 1.2 million lines.

Hands On With The Atomic Pi As A $35 Intel Atom Alternative To The Raspberry Pi
After a successful Kickstarter campaign and honoring those obligations, the Atomic Pi recently hit retail channels (albeit sold out currently) as a $35 Intel Atom powered single board computer to compete with the likes of the Raspberry Pi.

GCC 9.1 Released As Huge Compiler Update With D Language, Zen 2, OpenMP 5, C++2A, C2X
GNU Compiler Collection 9.1 was released today with a D language front-end joining the family while on the back-end is now the long-awaited Radeon GCN GPU target (although not too useful in its current form), Intel Cascadelake support, initial AMD Zen 2, C-SKY CPU support, OpenRISC CPU support, and many other features throughout this massive open-source compiler.

See you in June!