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AMD Ryzen "Renoir" CPU Frequency Scaling Governor Performance

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With 129 tests carried out while also looking at the CPU power consumption and temperatures during benchmarking, here is a look at how the CPU frequency scaling governor plays a role in the performance of the latest-generation AMD Ryzen 4000 "Renoir" laptops for Linux.

Running most Linux distributions on an AMD Ryzen 4000 series laptop will result in the CPUFreq "ondemand" governor used by default as a sane default for controlling the CPU frequency scaling behavior. But there is also the performance governor as the most performance-minded and quickest to ramp up CPU frequencies when needed, conservative for more conservative frequency scaling decisions, schedutil as the possible future default that leverages the Linux kernel's scheduler utilization data for making more accurate power management decisions, and powersave as an attempt to conserve power use over performance. Those different CPUfreq governors are being benchmarked in this article with the Lenovo Flex 5 with Ryzen 5 4500U processor.

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Graphics Stack and Input Devices: AMDVLK, FreeBSD, QMK and Gross Restarts

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  • AMDVLK 2020.Q3.1 Vulkan Driver Brings More Performance Tuning

    AMD has just issued their first new open-source AMDVLK Vulkan driver release in several weeks.

    AMDVLK 2020.Q3.1 is now shipping as their first tagged open-source Vulkan driver snapshot of the third quarter. Exciting with this update are several performance optimizations / tuning improvements. The Talos Principle, Doom: Eternal, and Mad Max have all seen focused performance tuning work while other titles may indirectly benefit as well.

  • FreeBSD Qt WebEngine GPU Acceleration

    FreeBSD has a handful of Qt WebEngine-based browsers. Falkon, and Otter-Browser, and qutebrowser and probably others, too. All of them can run into issues on FreeBSD with GPU-accelerated rendering not working.

  • Custom Keyboards with QMK

    The Quantum Mechanical Keyboard (QMK) firmware offers some powerful options for customizing your keyboard configuration.

    Most free software projects are targeted directly at users, however, a minority support other projects, and may be widely used without being well-known. A case in point is Quantum Mechanical Keyboard (QMK) Firmware, which provides the firmware for input devices – not just keyboards, its main focus, but also mice and MIDI sequencers. While unknown to most, QMK supports over 315 devices. The free software projects-turned-companies dependent on QMK include Atreus, Clueboard, and Ergodox EZ.

    QMK is part of the little-known free software keyboard community. This community focuses on mechanical keyboards in which each key is soldered separately from the rest and which emphasizes customization, including individual keybindings or definitions, and multiple layers or complete keyboard layouts. Recent keyboards have includedup to 32 keyboard layouts, which allows the same keyboard to be used for QWERTY or Dvorak users, or for different gaming shortcuts. Many of the keyboards developed in the community are minimalist keyboards, and an increasing number in recent years are ergonomic. The major division in the community is between those that run on an Atmel AVR or ARM controller and require QMK for flashing, and those that use single board controllers that are compatible with the Arduino IDE and the avrdude command for flashing firmware, such as Keyboardio. However, the main difference is in the software – in both camps, the goal is to customize keybindings and to create layers.

    QMK itself is noteworthy for its complete and clear documentation. Most of the work setting up is done from the command line, although an online configurator works on Chrome and Firefox.

  • Mike Blumenkrantz: Gross Restarts

    Now on a wildly different topic, I’m going to talk about indirect drawing for a bit, specifically when using it in combination with primitive restart, which I already briefly talked about in a prior post.

    In general, indirect drawing is used when an application wants to provide the gpu with a buffer containing the parameters to be used for draw calls. The idea is that the parameters are already “on the CPU”, so there’s no back-and-forth needed with the CPU for cases where these parameters may be derived in the course of GPU operations.

    The problem here for zink is that indirect drawing can be used with primitive restart, but the problem I brought up previously still exists, namely that OpenGL allows arbitrary values for the restart index, whereas Vulkan requires a fixed value.

Graphics: Intel, NVIDIA and More

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  • Intel Async Page-Flipping Support Revised For Benefiting Skylake Graphics And Newer

    Over the past several months there has been work on Intel's Linux kernel graphics driver for async page-flipping to yield better performance. That work was revised against today for hopefully making it into a kernel release in the near future albeit too late for Linux 5.9 but regardless nice to see this work moving forward.

    Asynchronous page-flipping is about being able to avoid an extra blit that occurs per-frame when flipping while full-screen applications like games are running at a resolution equal to the screen resolution. Basically if no scaling is necessary, the overhead of an extra blit per-frame can be avoided prior to page flipping, which in turn is good for full-screen gaming performance.

  • FFmpeg Adds H.265 Tile Encoding Support For VA-API With Intel Icelake+

    The latest FFmpeg multimedia library code can see faster H.265 video encoding with the Video Acceleration API when running on Icelake and newer Intel graphics.

    Tile encoding is now exposed for FFmpeg's H.265 VA-API encode path. The number of tiles can be configured by the user but a best effort will be made to use a sane default for the number of tile rows and columns in splitting up the video encode workload. With tile encoding the aim is to offer greater parallelism/efficiency of the process.

  • NVIDIA 450.56.02 Vulkan Beta Driver is out for Linux

    NVIDIA continue expanding their Linux driver support, with a fresh Vulkan Beta Driver going live today.

  • Mike Blumenkrantz: Memory

    Last week was my birthday (all week), and I decided to gift myself fewer blog posts.

    Now that things are back to normal, however, I’ll be easing my way back into the blogosphere. Today I’m going to be looking briefly at the benefits of code from a recent MR by Erik Faye-Lund which improves memory allocation in ntv to let us better track all the allocations done in the course of doing compiler stuff, with the key benefit being that we’re no longer leaking this entire thing every time we compile a shader (oops).

    Mesa internals use an allocator called ralloc, and this was first added to the tree by Kenneth Graunke way back in 7.10.1, or at least that was the earliest reference of it I could find. It’s used everywhere, and it has a number of nice features that justify its use other than simple efficiency.

Sabrent USB 3.2 Enclosure + Sabrent Rocket Q 2TB NVMe SSD On Linux Performance

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For those looking at an NVMe PCIe M.2 solid-state drive enclosure for connecting to USB 3.1/3.2 systems, Sabrent offers a nice option with their EC-TFNB enclosure that is constructed out of aluminum, 100% tool-free, and runs well. I recently bought this Sabrent USB 3.2 enclosure along with the Sabrent Rocket Q 2TB NVMe solid-state drive, which offers nice performance for a PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD and the 2TB capacity can be found for just about $250 USD.

I bought this Sabrent USB 3.2 enclosure and 2TB NVMe solid-state drive to serve as another local Steam cache. While the Phoronix Test Suite's Phoromatic makes caching on the LAN transparent for benchmark test files, etc, Steam games are the exception. Not to mention with the sizes of today's games, it's always much easier having an external drive for the Steam data. In replacing a SATA 3.0 2TB SSD that has begun failing, I picked up the Sabrent EC-TFNB enclosure and for going with that was the Sabrent Rocket Q 2TB.

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The Small DRM Drivers See Another Round Of Updates For Linux 5.9

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In addition to this week bringing an AMDGPU pull request with new GPU support and initial Intel DG1 graphics card support as material for DRM-Next to in turn land with Linux 5.9 in the weeks ahead, there was also another DRM-Misc-Next pull with further material to these smaller drivers.

DRM-Misc-Next is where core DRM subsystem changes tend to be sent in from as well as for the channel for smaller Direct Rendering Manager driver changes like the various embedded display drivers.

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Graphics: Panfrost Gallium3D, Navy Flounder and WiFi Display Support

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  • Panfrost Gallium3D Driver Enables Working FP16 Support

    The Panfrost Gallium3D driver providing open-source OpenGL driver support for Arm Mali Midgard and Bifrost hardware has another feature tacked on as of Friday night.

    The Panfrost driver has been working steadily on supporting new driver functionality in the OpenGL space, especially improving the newer Bifrost support, albeit not yet any open-source Vulkan driver for Arm Mali hardware at this point

  • AMD Sends In Navy Flounder Support, More Sienna Cichlid For Linux 5.9

    At the end of June was the first batch of AMDGPU changes queued for DRM-Next to in turn go into the Linux 5.9 kernel when that cycle opens up in August. On Friday a second batch of feature changes for this open-source AMD Radeon kernel graphics driver was submitted.

    That first pull request had Sienna Cichlid enablement as one of the Navi 2 GPUs. Also included in the PR was continued Arcturus enablement, UVD support for GCN 1.0 GPUs, continued tweaks to Renoir, BACO runtime power management for Vega 10, ASSR for content protection on eDP, and display updates.

  • Intel's IWD Daemon Has Been Fleshing Out WiFi Display Support

    Intel's IWD wireless daemon for Linux systems has been seeing work in recent days on integration around WiFi Display support, a.k.a. WFD / Miracast.

    The Intel-developed iNet Wireless Daemon has been seeing many WFD-related commits in recent days including a D-Bus API for registering of WiFi Display service handlers and other changes around WiFi Display / Miracast support.

    This also includes now shipping a sample/test app that streams an X11 screen using GStreamer to a WiFi Display device. This though is a very rough application primarily aimed at developers wishing to build WFD support built off the IWD interface.

Laptop Mode Tools 1.74

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Laptop Mode Tools version 1.74 has been released. This release includes important bug fixes, some defaults settings updated to current driver support in Linux and support for devices with nouveau based nVIDIA cards.

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Graphics Stack: Monado, VKMS, AMDGPU and Wayland

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  • Lighthouse positional tracking in Monado with libsurvive

    Many consumer VR headsets have been sufficiently reverse engineered to develop open source drivers. But the crucial feature of positional tracking ("6DOF" tracking) remains a problem for many. For Monado we began developing an extensible positional tracking framework with the comparably simple task of tracking the glowing sphere of a Playstation Move Controllers using a stereo camera like the Playstation 4 camera. The result of this work can be tried out by following the setup guide. As a next step we are expanding this tracking to the PSVR HMD, and have completed a prototype implementation.

    We also wanted to provide a means for users with HTC Vive (Pro) or Valve Index hardware to experiment with positional tracking. For this purpose we implemented a driver using the libsurvive library developed by Charles Lohr, David Berger and many contributors.

    The video below shows Monado with Libsurvive in action on the godot engine, running on a fully open source stack.

  • Melissa Wen: Increasing test coverage in VKMS - max square cursor size

    To develop my GSoC project proposal, I inspected the coverage of kms_cursor_crc on VKMS.


    As a first step, I decided to examine and solve issues that affected the test results in a general way. the instability. Solving the instability first (or at least identify what was going on) would make the work more consistent and fluid, since I would no longer need to double-check each subtest result and, in one running of the entire kms_cursor_crc test I could check the absent features or errors. However, in this investigation, some problems were more linked to IGT and others to VKMS. Identifying who is the “guilty” was not simple, and some false charges happened.

  • DC Display Support Continues To Be Worked On For Radeon GCN 1.0 With AMDGPU Driver

    On top of the recent UVD video decode for AMD Radeon "GCN 1.0" GPUs with the AMDGPU kernel driver to complement the existing Radeon kernel driver support, these aging "Southern Islands" graphics cards also continue to see patchwork on enabling "Display Core" (DC) display support with the AMDGPU driver option.

    A new round of patches were sent out today for enabling AMDGPU DC support for GCN 1.0 GPUs in this modern driver alternative to the classic "Radeon" DRM driver. DC is the display code used by modern Radeon GPUs and is shared with their Windows driver. GCN 1.0 supporting DC would allow usage of this unified code path and potentially supporting some new features or at the very least using this more properly tested code path. DC was formerly known as DAL prior to being upstreamed in the kernel and going through a major rework.

  • Cage Wayland Compositor For Kiosk Use-Cases Updated With Direct Scan-Out, New Protocols

    Joining Sway 1.5 for an exciting week in the Wayland space is an update to Cage, the Wayland compositor designed for kiosk-like experiences.

    Cage is the Wayland effort for kiosk and full-screen, one-application usage environments. Cage is built off WLROOTS and has seen a lot of work over the past year into making it suitable for various kiosk setups.

The Linux Performance For AMD Rome vs. Intel Cascade Lake One Year After Launch

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The Xeon Platinum 8280 2P and EPYC 7742 2P servers were first re-tested using Ubuntu 19.04 as the software state around the time of the Cascade Lake launch and also what the software experience was like for the AMD Rome launch as the newest Ubuntu version at the time.

Following that was then testing using an Ubuntu 20.10 development snapshot for the very latest Ubuntu software packages. Additionally, the Linux 5.8 Git kernel was pulled in for the very latest Linux kernel code as of right now. Additionally, the GCC 10.1 code compiler was also used for the newest C/C++ compiler as of this year.

On both Ubuntu 19.04 and the "Ubuntu 2020" software stack, the CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS were set to "-O3 -march=native" but otherwise was a rather stock software setup except where otherwise noted. Both servers were similarly equipped with 32GB DIMMs populating all memory channels and at their respective optimal memory frequencies. A Micron 9300 4TB NVMe solid-state drive was used on both servers.

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The Linux Performance For AMD Rome vs. Intel Cascade Lake One Year After Launch

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With the Intel 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) processors having turned a year old in April and next month marking one year since the launch of the AMD EPYC 7002 (Rome) series, here are fresh benchmarks of the dual Xeon Platinum 8280 versus the AMD EPYC 7742 when testing the Linux software stack from early 2019 and then again using a bleeding-edge Linux software stack as of this month. This shows how the Linux software performance has evolved over the past year for both Intel and AMD on the server front as well as how the current top-end SKUs are competing right now.

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Android Leftovers

KDE Frameworks 5.73 Released with Many Changes to Breeze Icons, Kirigami and KNewStuff

KDE Frameworks 5.73 is a monthly update to the open-source software suite, but it packs a lot of interesting changes. For example, the Kirigami UI builder received a new FlexColumn component and now supports action visibility in the GlobalDrawer, along with optimizations to the mobile layout and to the accessibility of the Kirigami input fields. The Breeze icon theme saw a lot of changes too during the development cycle of KDE Frameworks 5.73, and it now comes with a bunch of new icons for Kontrast, kirigami-gallery, snap-angle, document-replace, SMART status, task-recurring, appointment-recurring, Overwrite action/button, and applications/pkcs12 mime type. Read more

Redo Rescue Backup and Recovery Live System Gets NFS Share Support, SSH Server

For those not in the know, Redo Rescue is a great, free and easy to use live Linux system based on Debian GNU/Linux that can help you whenever your computer is broken by letting you backup and restore an entire system in just a few minutes. For example, if your computer no longer boots after installing the recent BootHole patches for the GRUB2 bootloader, you can use Redo Rescue to repair the boot. Of course, there are a few other tools that can do the same, but Redo Rescue can also do bare metal restores by replacing the MBR and partition table, re-map original data to a different target partition and even verify the integrity of an existing backup image. Read more

Pocket P.C. design files released as open source (handheld Linux computer)

The Popcorn Computers Pocket P.C. is designed to be a handheld Linux computer with a 4.95 inch full HD display, a built-in keyboard, and a ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core processor. First unveiled in November 2019, the Pocket P.C. hasn’t shipped yet. It’s still up for pre-order for $199 and up. But the developers have already open sourced the hardware by releasing the latest design files. You can find the at the project’s GitHub page. Read more