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Graphics/Benchmarks

Qt Quick on Vulkan, Metal, and Direct3D

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Development
Graphics/Benchmarks

Now that the first beta of Qt 5.14 is getting closer, it is time to start talking about one of the big new features. We cannot possibly cover all the details around the graphics stack improvements and the road to Qt 6 in one post, so in part 1 and 2 we will describe the background and take a closer look at what 5.14 will ship with, and then dive into the technical details and future directions in another set of posts later on.

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Also: Linux Drivers Entries Suggest two APU AMD Lines in 2020

Intel's Gallium3D Driver Is Running Much Faster Than Their Current OpenGL Linux Driver With Mesa 19.3

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Graphics/Benchmarks

Last month I did some fresh benchmarks of Intel's new open-source OpenGL Linux driver with Mesa 19.2 and those results were looking good as tested with a Core i9 9900K. Since then, more Intel Gallium3D driver improvements have landed for what will become Mesa 19.3 next quarter. In taking another look at their former/current and new OpenGL drivers, here are fresh benchmarks of the latest code using a Core i7 8700K desktop as well as a Core i7 8550U Dell XPS laptop.

This month so far Intel's new Gallium3D OpenGL driver has seen OpenGL 4.6 support added, an optimization to help the Java OpenGL performance (one of the deficiencies noted by our earlier rounds of benchmarks), and other performance work.

For some weekend benchmarking fun I tested the Core i7 8700K desktop and Dell XPS 13 laptop with Core i7 8550U graphics while comparing the OpenGL driver options. The driver state for both the i965 and Iris Gallium3D drivers were of Mesa 19.3-devel Git as of this week and also running with the near-final Linux 5.3 kernel.

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The Sandy Bridge Core i7 3960X Benchmarked Against Today's Six-Core / 12 Thread AMD/Intel CPUs

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Graphics/Benchmarks

Complementing our recent AMD Ryzen 5 3600X Linux benchmarking, with recently having out the Intel Core i7 3960X Sandy Bridge Extreme Edition, here are benchmarks showing that previous $999 USD six-core / twelve-thread processor compared to today's Ryzen 5 3600X (and previous-generation Ryzen 5 2600X) as well as the Core i7 8700K.

As some Friday benchmarking fun, this article offers a fresh look at how the once high-end Core i7 3960X compared to today's AMD Ryzen 5 processors at six-cores / twelve-threads and also having in the similarly core/thread count Core i7 8700K.

Besides the Core i7 3960X having cost a great deal more ($999~1059 USD compared to the Ryzen 5 3600X at $250 USD), the i7-3960X has a 130 Watt TDP compared to the Zen 2 mid-range processor at 95 Watts. The i7-3960X carries a 3.3GHz base clock with 3.9GHz turbo frequency compared to the 3600X at 3.8GHz and boosting up to 4.4GHz.

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Graphics: NVIDIA, Mesa and AMD

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • NVIDIA 430.50 Linux Driver Brings Color Fix For Pre-Turing GPUs

    While the NVIDIA 435 series is now stable, for those sticking to the previous NVIDIA 430 driver series that is their current "long-lived" driver branch, a new version is available.

    NVIDIA 430.50 was released on Wednesday as the latest Linux driver release in this driver series supported for an extended period of time. The only listed change for the NVIDIA 430.50 Linux driver is fixing the display color range handling for pre-Turing GPUs. When limiting the color range via the NVIDIA-Settings GUI, the output pixel values will now be properly clamped to the CTA range.

  • Mesa 19.2-RC3 Released While Final Release Expected Around Month's End

    The third release candidate of the belated Mesa 19.2 is now available while a fourth and likely final RC is expected next week while the stable release of this quarterly Mesa3D update should be out at month's end.

    Mesa 19.2-RC3 back-ports the new support for DriConf in Intel's Vulkan driver (for a workaround with GfxBench), various NIR fixes, a GLX segmentation fault is fixed, a few RADV and RadeonSI fixes (including Navi/GFX10 fixes for RadeonSI), and the Intel glthread crash fix for KDE's KWin.

  • AMDGPU Driver Looking To Re-Enable Performance-Boosting "Bulk Moves" Functionality

    AMD developers are looking at finally re-enabling the LRU bulk moves functionality in their AMDGPU Linux kernel graphics driver that has the ability to help with performance.

    The LRU bulk moves patches were posted back in August of 2018 with the ability to help improve OpenCL and Vulkan performance for Radeon graphics. But prior to the release of the Linux 5.0 kernel that functionality was disabled for bugs.

AMD/Intel Benchmarks: Building The Mainline Linux x86_64 Kernel With LLVM Clang

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Graphics/Benchmarks

With the upcoming LLVM Clang 9.0 compiler release there is an amazing achievement more than a decade in the making... The mainline Clang compiler can finally build the mainline Linux x86_64 kernel. The AArch64 state has been in better shape in recent years with multiple Arm vendors using Clang as their default compiler including to build the Linux kernel, but finally in 2019 the mainline Clang can build mainline Linux x86_64. There are a few caveats, but in this article is my experience in doing so with LLVM Clang and the Linux 5.3 kernel as well as running some preliminary benchmarks on AMD and Intel hardware.

It has taken years of work to address various GCC'isms within the Linux kernel to improve its code portability for different compilers. There's also been various features implemented in LLVM/Clang to help in building the Linux kernel. The most recent addition was finally supporting "asm goto" for satisfying Linux x86_64 kernel builds. LLVM Clang 9.0 will soon be released with this support and for today's testing I was using the Linux 5.3 development code as of earlier this week.

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‘Far Cry New Dawn’ Never Released For Linux, But It’s Matching Windows 10 Performance Anyway

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
Gaming

The takeaway is clear: same minimum framerates, and an average framerate only 2.6% lower than Windows 10. Effectively within margin of error, and certainly not discernible when we’re talking about 112 FPS versus 115 FPS.

(The eagle-eyed among you may even notice slightly lower frametimes on the Linux side when watching the benchmark video.)

When you step back and realize that Far Cry New Dawn was never intended to run on Linux, yet does so this smoothly, it’s a testament to how far Linux gaming has come.

My own benchmarks – albeit for different titles – back this up. And when games are released natively on Linux, the performance is often better than the Windows 10 counterparts. It’s not a consistent conclusion, but as Codeweavers and Valve continue to refine and improve what they’re doing, the outlook gets brighter and brighter.

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AMD "Trusted Memory Zone" Encrypted vRAM Support Coming To Their Linux GPU Driver

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

AMD Trusted Memory Zone support is a new feature being worked on for their open-source graphics driver that works in conjunction with the graphics hardware for being able to encrypt portions of the video memory.

Trusted Memory Zone (TMZ) support appears to be present going back to the original Vega graphics processors but this is the first time we're seeing it implemented on the Linux side. Trusted Memory Zone protects the contents of TMZ'ed pages from being read by the CPU (non-GPU) clients and fend off writes to the protected pages. AMD TMZ support is being used to offer secure buffer object support on Linux.

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Also: AMD Navi 14 Workstation Graphics Cards Discovered In Linux Driver Update

Kernel: Linux 5.4 and Intel Work

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • F2FS Will Have Faster Case-Insensitive Lookups With Linux 5.4

    F2FS has done a good job following EXT4 that spearheaded this modern case-insensitive directory/file feature that's optional and opt-in on a per directory basis. Like with F2FS' other following of EXT4 around this feature, it's now ported the look-up optimization from 5.3 to its driver. On the EXT4 side it has resulted in around 30% faster look-ups on large directories by introducing a temporary cache to avoid repeated case-folding.

  • How Intel's Clear Linux Team Cut The Kernel Boot Time From 3 Seconds To 300 ms

    Intel engineer Feng Tang spoke at this week's Linux Plumbers Conference in Lisbon, Portugal on how the Clear Linux team managed to boot their kernel faster. They started out with around a three second kernel boot time but cut it down to just 300 ms.

    Among the optimizations carried out to really speed-up their boot time were ensuring more asynchronous driver probing, only initializing a small amount of RAM at start and then after booted hot-plug the rest of it in parallel via systemd, optimized root file-system mounting, disabling unnecessary kernel modules, and similar approaches.

  • Intel's Gallium3D Linux Driver Now Exposes OpenGL 4.6

    But unlike the i965 driver with OpenGL 4.6 support back-ported to Mesa 19.2, for the Intel Gallium3D driver it isn't marked for back-porting so is likely a feature for next quarter's Mesa 19.3 with that being the version in development on Git master. The Intel Gallium3D support comes after all the heavy-lifting done for getting the SPIR-V extensions in place for the common Intel graphics code over the past two years. This Intel Gallium3D driver is now the second in Mesa supporting GL 4.6 and the first Gallium3D driver to do so.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Benchmarks On 11 Linux Distributions

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

Now that BIOS updates over the past month have resolved the early boot issue with Ryzen 3000 processors and thus the new AMD CPUs playing nicely with modern Linux distributions, here is the long-awaited benchmark comparison of the Ryzen 9 3900X + X570 system benchmarked across an array of different Linux distributions... In fact, 11 Linux OS releases in total were tested on this high-end 12-core / 24-thread desktop processor.

Last week was a look at eight Linux distributions on the AMD EPYC 7742 2P server while this is the desktop equivalent and pulling in more distributions given the more diverse Linux desktop ecosystem. The Ryzen 9 3900X was running at stock speeds on the ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VIII HERO WiFi motherboard with 2TB Corsair Force MP600 PCIe 4.9 NVMe SSD, and Radeon RX 560 graphics (not the focus of today's tests).

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AMD Ryzen 5 3600X & Ryzen 5 3400G Performance In Linux

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Graphics/Benchmarks

When we decided to tackle this article, we didn’t expect it to require as much follow-up testing as it had. In fact, we had considered this article to be a “quick one”, which seems laughable, looking back. Nonetheless, that’s the way testing goes sometimes, and it at least keeps the thermal paste gods pleased.

As we saw with the 3700X over the 2700X, the 3600X exhibits some huge performance gains over the 2600X in some cases. We usually expect a certain level of advancement from one generation to the next, but AMD has really impressed us with its Zen 2 architecture. Some improvements might be 8%, but some others could be as high as 40%. All of that extra cache sure doesn’t hurt.

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Games: CodeWeavers, gamepad and Cascade

  • Linux 5.4 To Fix Many Newer 64-bit Windows Games On Wine / Steam Play

    A kernel patch from CodeWeavers is landing in the Linux 5.4 kernel and will help some 64-bit Windows games run nicely under Wine (and the likes of CrossOver / Valve's Proton) with newer Intel and AMD systems. With the few x86 Assembly patches for Linux 5.4 is a UMIP addition by CodeWeavers' Brendan Shanks that ends up being quite important for running a number of Windows games under Proton/Wine on newer AMD/Intel Linux systems.

  • You may want to hold off on Linux Kernel 5.3 and systemd 243 if you use a gamepad

    Did you do a big system upgrade recently and notice you're having gamepad issues? You're not alone. Time to downgrade perhaps. To be clear this might only be an issue for the more bleeding-edge distributions which update more often, or those of you who are doing some manual updates to their system. The distributions that update more slowly like Ubuntu are likely unaffected right now.

  • Cascade – a turn-based text arcade game

    I wrote this game about 20 years ago. Glad to see it still compiled out of the box on the latest Linux distro! Download it from here. If anyone can remember the name or any details of the original 1980s MS-DOS game that I copied the idea from, please let me know in the comments.

GNOME's Sammy Fung and Bin Li

  • Molly de Blanc: Meet the GNOMEies: Sammy Fung

    Sammy is a freelancer, community organizer, and GNOME enthusiast from Hong Kong. For almost 20 years, Sammy has been using, GNOME and building community in Asia.

  • Bin Li: GUADEC 2019

    Thessaloniki is very peaceful place, every morning I liked to walk along the seaside to the venue. As usual, it was a great and enjoyable GUADEC, thanks to everyone who helped to make it. In core days I attended a lot of great talks in this year, I learned a lot of latest status of GNOME, and here are my favorite talks, “Managing GNOME Sessions with Systemd“, “State of the Shell“, “Packing up Boxes“, “Modernizing Desktop Linux Development with Containers“, “Is the Linux Desktop Really Dead?“. I also enjoy watching Lighting talks every year. In this year Britt Yazel’s lighting talks, I knew the GUADEC App was based on Connfa, and it’s also an open source project. This App is very convenient, I could check schedule at any time.

SUSE: YaST Development Sprint 84 and SUSE 'in Space'

  • Highlights of YaST Development Sprint 84

    The YaST Team finished yet another development sprint last week and we want to take the opportunity to let you all glance over the engine room to see what’s going on. Today we will confess an uncomfortable truth about how we manage the Qt user interface, will show you how we organize our work (or at least, how we try to keep the administrative part of that under control) and will give you a sneak peak on some upcoming YaST features and improvements. Let’s go for it!

  • Lunar Vacation Planning

    HPE, one of SUSE’s most important partners in High-Performance Computing and the advancement of science and technology, is now building NASA’s new supercomputer named “Aitken” to support Artemis and future human missions to the moon. HPE’s “Aitken” supercomputer will be built at NASA’s Ames Research Center and will run SUSE Linux Enterprise HPC (co-located where the Pleiades supercomputer – also SUSE-based – has been advancing research for several years). Aitken will run extremely complex simulations for entry, descent and landing on the moon as part of the Artemis program. The missions include landing the next humans on the lunar south polar region by 2024 (on the rim of the Shackleton crater, which experiences constant indirect sunlight for a toasty -300 degrees Fahrenheit).

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