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Graphics/Benchmarks

Network transparency with Wayland: Final report.

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Graphics/Benchmarks

The goal of this 2019 Google Summer of Code project is to develop a tool with which to transparently proxy applications that use the Wayland protocol to be displayed by compositors. Unlike the original X protocol, only part of the data needed to display an application is transferred over the application's connection to the compositor; instead, large information transfers are made by sharing file descriptors over the (Unix socket) connection, and updating the resources associated with the file descriptors. Converting this side channel information to something that can be sent over a single data stream is the core of this work.

The proxy program I have developed for the project is called Waypipe. It can currently be found at gitlab.freedesktop.org/mstoeckl/waypipe. (I am currently looking for a better stable path at which to place the project; the preceding URL will be updated once this is done.) A few distributions have already packaged the program; see here; alternatively, to build and run the project, follow the instructions in the README and the man page. My work is clearly identified by the commit logs, and amounts to roughly ten thousand lines of C code, and a few hundred of Python.

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Also: Vulkan 1.1.120 Released As The Newest Maintenance Release

Linux 5.3 Kernel Yielding The Best Performance Yet For AMD EPYC "Rome" CPU Performance

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

Among many different Linux/open-source benchmarks being worked on for the AMD EPYC "Rome" processors now that our initial launch benchmarks are out of the way are Linux distribution comparisons, checking out the BSD compatibility, and more. Some tests I wrapped up this weekend were seeing how recent Linux kernel releases perform on the AMD EPYC 7742 64-core / 128-thread processors.

For some weekend analysis, here are benchmarks of Linux 4.18 through Linux 5.3 in its current development form. All tests were done on the same AMD EPYC 7742 2P server running Ubuntu 19.04 and using the latest kernels in each series via the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA.

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Graphics: Radeon (AMD) Software for Linux 19.30 and Intel Code

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Radeon Software for Linux 19.30 Updated With Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS Support

    In addition to AMD releasing the Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 19.Q3 Linux driver, they also quietly released a new Radeon Software Linux driver release for consumer GPUs.

    This new Radeon Software for Linux release is still in the 19.30 release stream as was the case since the AMD Navi launch driver one month ago. But with this updated Radeon Software for Linux 19.30 driver they now are claiming official support for the Radeon RX 5700 (Navi) series.

  • Intel Volleys Another Batch Of Tiger Lake "Gen 12" Graphics Code

    While it remains to be seen if Tiger Lake will be able to ship on time in 2020 as the Icelake successor, the "Gen 12" Xe Graphics continue to be worked on with the company's open-source Linux graphics driver.

    At the end of June Intel sent out the very preliminary open-source Linux graphics driver changes for Tiger Lake that is coming with "Gen 12" graphics compared to Gen 11 with Icelake. Though so far at least there hasn't been too many changes to the driver side while today a third round of Tiger Lake enablement patches were sent out.

Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 19.Q3 for Linux Released

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Graphics/Benchmarks

On Wednesday marked the release of AMD's Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise driver package for Windows and Linux.

The Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 19.Q3 on the Windows side added more optimizations for workstation software, wireless VR visualization, and other bits to improve the AMD Radeon Pro support in the workstation software ecosystem. On the Linux side, the changes are a bit more tame.

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Also: AMDVLK 2019.Q3.4 Vulkan Driver Enables Atomic Optimizer For Navi

Blender 2.80 Performance With Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 vs. AMD EPYC 7742

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Graphics/Benchmarks

The Blender 2.80 release arrived at the end of July that unfortunately was too late for using that big new release in our launch-day testing of AMD's EPYC 7002 "Rome" processors but as a follow-up here are AMD EPYC 7742 performance benchmarks up against the Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 Cascade Lake as well as the AMD EPYC 7601 2P. Blender 2.80 performance is the focus of this article along with some other renderer benchmarks.

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Kernel: Greg K-H on Patch Workflow With Mutt, Building Linux Fast, and AMD Firmware Fix

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • Patch Workflow With Mutt - 2019

    Given that the main development workflow for most kernel maintainers is with email, I spend a lot of time in my email client. For the past few decades I have used (mutt), but every once in a while I look around to see if there is anything else out there that might work better.

    One project that looks promising is (aerc) which was started by (Drew DeVault). It is a terminal-based email client written in Go, and relies on a lot of other go libraries to handle a lot of the “grungy” work in dealing with imap clients, email parsing, and other fun things when it comes to free-flow text parsing that emails require.

    aerc isn’t in a usable state for me just yet, but Drew asked if I could document exactly how I use an email client for my day-to-day workflow to see what needs to be done to aerc to have me consider switching.

    Note, this isn’t a criticism of mutt at all. I love the tool, and spend more time using that userspace program than any other. But as anyone who knows email clients, they all suck, it’s just that mutt sucks less than everything else (that’s literally their motto)

  • Building The Default x86_64 Linux Kernel In Just 16 Seconds

    It's now been one week since the launch of AMD's EPYC Rome processors with up to 64 cores / 128 threads per socket and better IPC uplift compared to their previous-generation parts. Rome has outperformed Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs in their class while offering better power efficiency and way better performance-per-dollar. One of my favorite metrics has been how quickly the new EPYC 7742 2P can build the Linux kernel. 

    It used to be that building out the Linux kernel could easily take the time needed to enjoy a beverage or have a meal while now with the EPYC 7742 2P it's easy to build the Linux kernel in just 15~16 seconds! Up until the Rome testing I was never able to crack 20 seconds with any of the hardware at my disposal while now it's easy hitting 15 seconds. That is with a Linux x86_64 default "defconfig" build. As shown in the launch article, that easily beats the likes of a dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 and a big improvement as well over the Naples EPYC 7601 2P configuration. 

  • New Firmware update Reportedly solves Ryzen 3000 boot issues Linux

    We don't talk about Linux a lot, as the install base is small and not really the PC Gamers domain, however as it turns out Linux users have had Boot issues with Ryzen 3000. A problem that is now confirmed to be solved with the latest BIOS updates.

    AMD provided a solution for the Linux issues at hand as firmware updates with AGESA Combo-AM4 1.0.0.3abb should solve the problems (and various others on the Windows platform). The Linux issues had been named Systemd error, at least that is listed at the change log of the ROG Crosshair VII Hero bios.

Cooling The Raspberry Pi 4 With The Fan SHIM & FLIRC For Better Performance

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Graphics/Benchmarks

With the Raspberry Pi 4, a passive heatsink is an absolute minimum for running this new ARM SBC unless you want to deal with potentially drastic performance limitations based upon your operating conditions. However, if you will be enduring the Raspberry Pi 4 with significant load for any measurable length of time, an active cooler is almost warranted or otherwise a very capable passive cooler. In this article we're looking at the Raspberry Pi 4 performance with a Fan SHIM as an active fan designed for running on the Raspberry Pi off the GPIO pins as well as the FLIRC as a metal case that passively cools the device.

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Vulkan: SIGGRAPH 2019 News and NVIDIA Focus

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • NVIDIA Continues To Be Involved With Making Vulkan More Appropriate For Machine Learning

    NVIDIA engineers continue to be among those in the Vulkan technical sub-group working to advance machine learning for this API.

    Vulkan machine learning is being worked on for functionality like NVIDIA's DLSS, bots, character animations, and other functionality that can be tailored to machine learning in high frame-rate applications. There's also the benefit of Vulkan being an industry standard unlike CUDA and friends.

  • NVIDIA 435.17 Linux Beta Driver Adds Vulkan + OpenGL PRIME Render Offload

    NVIDIA this morning introduced their 435 Linux driver series currently in beta form with the release of the 435.17 Linux build. With this new driver comes finally the best PRIME/multi-GPU support they have presented to date.

    The NVIDIA 435.17 driver has a new PRIME render offload implementation supported for Vulkan and OpenGL (with GLX). This PRIME offloading is about using one GPU for display but having the actual rendering be done on a secondary GPU, as is common with many of today's high-end notebooks that have Intel integrated graphics paired with a discrete NVIDIA GPU.

  • Vulkan Video Decoding Coming In H1'2020, Ray-Tracing Progressing

    The Khronos Group has posted their material from the SIGGRAPH 2019 graphics conference and includes some interesting updates on Vulkan and their ongoing efforts.

    In addition to making Vulkan better for machine learning, ray-tracing and video decode are two other topics of interest to us.

Kernel: Graphics/Mesa, Audio and More

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • Intel's Linux Graphics Driver Developers Discover 3~20% Boost For Current-Gen Hardware

    Last week was the Intel Gallium driver one line patch to boost performance by 1%. Today's code churn within Mesa for Intel's open-source Linux graphics drivers were larger but also with a more profound performance impact with some workloads now being faster by around 20%. Making this more exciting is that today's round of driver optimizations apply to the very common and mature "Gen 9" graphics hardware.

  • Linux Finally Has A Fix For Crackling Audio Input On Recent AMD Systems

    Queued now for Linux 5.3 and also marked for back-porting to existing kernel stable series is a fix to address distorted and crackling analog audio input that has affected AMD systems for at least the past two years with certain Realtek audio codecs.

    Going back to at least early 2017 has been bug reports like this one making mention of "crackled" or otherwise distorted audio capturing on AMD systems. But it's been largely a mystery up to now what's been causing these problems under Linux with other common workarounds for audio troubles not working out.

  • TGSI To NIR Improvements Hit Mesa 19.2 For RadeonSI

    AMD Mesa lead developer Marek Olšák has landed a set of improvements to the TGSI-to-NIR pass today for Mesa 19.2 to enhance the RadeonSI driver's support for using this intermediate representation.

    The "tgsi_to_nir" code for going from the traditional Gallium3D IR to the increasingly used "NIR" has seen support for more operations and also basic compute shader support is now in place. Marek landed these improvements over the course of several commits today for the still-open Mesa 19.2 code-base.

Graphics: Wayland and Vulkan Latest

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Stepping Towards Better VR Headset Support On Wayland

    Sway and WLROOTS creator Drew DeVault on top of his several open-source projects has also been working on improving the VR infrastructure support on Wayland as part of contract work for Status.im. The secure communication company is looking to build a Wayland-driven VR workspace but for that the VR headset support on Wayland needs to be improved.

    One of the areas DeVault has been focusing on improving/implementing has been around DRM leasing support on Wayland, similar to the DRM leasing work done by Keith Packard a few years back when initially plumbing better VR head-mounted display support on the X.Org side for Valve. Drew recently proposed a new Vulkan extension for acquiring a Wayland display, similar to the existing Xlib display extension.

  • Vulkan 1.1.119 Already Released With Another New Extension

    It was just yesterday that Vulkan 1.1.118 was released with two new extensions while now this Monday morning Vulkan 1.1.119 was released as a third extension was accidentally left out of yesterday's weekly revision.

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