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Graphics/Benchmarks

Benchmarking The Performance Overhead To Linux's Proposed FGKASLR Security Feature

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Graphics/Benchmarks

One of the security improvements being worked on in recent months by Intel's open-source team has been FGKASLR. But how is the performance overhead compared to just traditional KASLR? Here are benchmarks looking at the performance impact of FGKASLR on top, just KASLR, and then no address space layout randomization.

FGKASLR is being worked on by Intel for improving Linux security with this Function Granular Kernel Address Space Layout Randomization. Rather than just randomizing the position in memory of the kernel, this FGKASLR patch series enables randomization at the function-level and used on top of KASLR. The reordering of kernel functions is done in memory at boot time. FGKASLR isn't anything specific to Intel CPUs but a common security feature that just happens to be worked on by Intel's large open-source team as one of the leading organizations contributing to the Linux kernel.

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Graphics: OpenGL 3.1 and AMDGPU

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Zink GL-On-Vulkan Driver Approaching OpenGL 3.1 Support

    Zink is the generic OpenGL over Vulkan driver that has been in development as part of Mesa's Gallium3D code. It was just earlier this month that Zink achieved OpenGL 3.0 support and now it looks like OpenGL 3.1 will soon be flipped on.

    Thanks to relying upon Gallium3D, Zink has already much of OpenGL 3.1 support in place for a while but has been blocked by NV_primitive_restart and ARB_uniform_buffer_object. These remaining extensions should be wrapped up soon.

  • Opengl 3.1

    Not really, but I didn’t get around to blogging on Friday because I was working until pretty late on something that’s Kind Of A Big Deal.

    Not really, but it’s probably more interesting than my posts about unhandled ALUs.

  • AMD Publishes AMDGPU UVD Firmware For Southern Islands

    Recently AMD posted UVD video decode support for GCN 1.0 with the AMDGPU driver, one of the long holdouts for letting the AMDGPU DRM driver approach feature parity with the longstanding Radeon DRM driver that is the default for GCN 1.0/1.1 era GPUs. That AMDGPU UVD GCN 1.0 decode support is going into the Linux 5.9 kernel later this summer after years ago Radeon driver developers largely dismissed the efforts of porting the UVD decode capability for these original GCN graphics cards over to AMDGPU.

    One of the reasons that this wasn't possible previously was AMD hadn't published the necessary firmware binaries for GCN 1.0 UVD that were compatible with the AMDGPU driver and just for the older Radeon DRM driver. But hitting linux-firmware.git today are those firmware files.

AMD EPYC 7F72 Performance On A Linux FSGSBASE-Patched Kernel

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Graphics/Benchmarks

Slated for Linux 5.9 is finally mainlining the FSGSBASE patches that have been floating around the kernel mailing list for years. Testing last week showed the tentative x86/fsgsbase patches helping Intel Xeon Linux performance but with AMD also supporting this instruction set extension going back to Bulldozer, how is it looking on the likes of AMD? Here are some benchmarks.

In continuation of the Intel benchmarks last week and our various articles in recent times of the FSGSBASE wiring up for the Linux kernel, this article is quite straight-forward in providing some metrics for the AMD impact. For this round of testing an AMD EPYC 7F72 server was used. Assuming the upstream developers don't have second thoughts and not send the support in for Linux 5.9, I'll be back with more desktop/server tests when the 5.9 cycle gets underway in August.

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Kernel and Graphics: RISC-V, Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX), AMDGPU, Freedreno Gallium3D and LuxCore

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • RISC-V UEFI Linux Support Under Review

    Western Digital's Atish Patra sent out the set of 11 patches on Thursday for adding UEFI support to RISC-V. The patches are still marked as a "request for comments" but should be working when using the latest U-Boot and OpenSBI development code. QEMU has been tested for this UEFI support for both 32-bit and 64-bit RISC-V. Some issues with the EDK2 code on RISC-V are still being worked out.

  • Intel Begins Volleying Open-Source Patches Around Intel AMX

    Intel updated their instruction set extensions programming reference guide that along with other additions now details the Intel AMX (Advanced Matrix Extensions) coming with Sapphire Rapids Xeon CPUs next year.

    On top of AVX-512 and DL-BOOST and the company's other efforts for making Xeon better optimized for handling modern AI workloads, Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX) aims to further enhance their AI performance for both training and inference workloads. AMX consists of "tiles" as a set of two-dimensional registers for representing a larger memory image and accelerators that can operate on said tiles. Initial AMX features are for BFloat16, TILE, and INT8 while new accelerators can be introduced later on.

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  • AMD Queues Its First Batch Of AMDGPU Changes For Linux 5.9: Sienna Cichlid + More

    On Friday the initial batch of AMDGPU kernel graphics driver changes were submitted to DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 5.9 merge window happening in August. 

  •        

  • Freedreno Lands On-Disk Shader Cache Support In Mesa 20.2

    Freedreno Gallium3D is the latest Mesa driver implementing an on-disk shader cache. 

    Freedreno on Friday merged disk cache support for IR3, the driver's compiler and machine-specific IR for the shader ISA with this open-source Qualcomm Adreno graphics driver. 

    This addition for Mesa 20.2 comes after its review the past couple of weeks and also needing other changes in place for this shader cache support to land, which can help with game load times thanks to having the shader IR cached to disk and in some cases helping overall performance. 

  •        

  • LuxCore 2.4 Beta Brings Big Changes For This Open-Source Physically Based Renderer

    This leading open-source physically based renderer is about to get even better with the upcoming LuxCore 2.4 release. 

    The beta for LuxCoreRender 2.4 was issued a few minutes ago and it features improvements on many new fronts, several new features, and various fixes too. 

    [...]

    More details on the LuxCoreRender 2.4 changes building up via the beta1 announcement that also includes Linux / macOS / Windows binaries for this leading open-source PBR engine.

AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Performance On Windows 10 vs. Six Linux Distributions

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Graphics/Benchmarks

As part of our Ryzen 5 4500U and Ryzen 7 4700U Linux benchmarking there have been multiple requests for showing how various Linux distributions run and perform with these exciting Ryzen 4000 series mobile CPUs. Here are some benchmarks not only looking at six Linux distributions but also the performance of Microsoft Windows 10 as was preloaded on the Lenovo Flex 5 15-inch 2-in-1.

The Lenovo Flex 5 15-inch 2-in-1 laptop that I picked up for $599 USD was used for this round of testing. This laptop features the Ryzen 5 4500U 6-core CPU with Vega graphics, 16GB of dual channel memory, 256GB SSD, and 14-inch 1080p display. It's quite a nice budget laptop with very great performance for the price. The operating systems tested for this comparison included...

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EGMDE Is Still Being Hacked On As A Lightweight Mir Desktop

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GNU
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

A year and a half later, it turns out this lightweight Mir desktop is still being worked on by lead Mir developer Alan Griffiths. Through his recent experiments with EGMDE on the latest Mir code-base, there is now improved keyboard shortcut handling, optional support for workspaces, optional support for shell components, and other changes.

Griffiths outlined the latest EGMDE process on Ubuntu Discourse for those interested. He did note, however, "egmde is still not ready for use as a lightweight desktop."

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Direct: egmde: updated features

Also: Mike Blumenkrantz: Briefly Piglit

Mesa 20.2 RADV Driver Flips On ACO By Default For Quicker Game Load Times, Better Performance

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

As we have been expecting, as of a few minutes ago in Mesa 20.2-devel Git, the Radeon Vulkan "RADV" driver has enabled the Valve-backed ACO shader compiler by default rather than AMD's official AMDGPU LLVM shader compiler back-end.

With the last of the blockers cleared for reaching feature parity with the AMDGPU LLVM back-end, RADV is now defaulting to using ACO in place of the AMDGPU LLVM shader compiler that is currently used by RadeonSI, ROCm, and other AMD graphics driver components. RADV though being developed outside of AMD by the community and stakeholders at Valve / Red Hat / Google have the flexibility of changing the default to this AMD compiler back-end that was funded by Valve over the past year, merged for Mesa 20.0, and in good enough shape that it's now the default with next quarter's Mesa 20.2.

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Testing Intel FSGSBASE Patches For Helping Elevate Linux Performance

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

After covering the Linux patches for FSGSBASE for years, it's looking like Linux 5.9 will finally land the support for this CPU capability present since Ivy Bridge on the Intel side and more recently on AMD CPUs with Bulldozer and Zen. Here are benchmarks looking at some of the performance benefits the Linux FSGSBASE patches can provide for an Intel Xeon Cascade Lake Refresh server.

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NVIDIA Patch and NVIDIA Driver 440.100

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Patch time! NVIDIA fixes kernel driver holes on Windows and Linux

    The latest security patches from NVIDIA, the maker of high-end graphics cards, are out.

    Both Windows and Linux are affected.

    NVIDIA hasn’t yet given out any real details about the bugs, but 12 different CVE-tagged flaws have been fixed, numbered sequentially from CVE-2020-5962 to CVE-2020-5973.

    As far as we can tell, none of the bugs can be triggered remotely, so they don’t count as RCEs, or remote code execution holes, by means of which crooks could directly hack into your laptop or server over the internet.

    However, as is very common with security bugs in kernel-land, they could let crooks carry out what’s known as information disclosure or elevation of privilege attacks.

  • Install / Uninstall NVIDIA Driver 440.100 On Ubuntu 20.04 / 18.04

    In this Tutorial I will tell you how to install the Latest stable version of NVIDIA Graphics driver 440.100 On Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and LinuxMint.

    Nvidia Linux Display Driver is a proprietary, yet freely distributed OpenGL video driver that aims to offer support for Nvidia graphics cards on any Linux kernel-based operating system.

  • Nvidia 440.100 Linux Graphics Driver Released with Support for New GPUs

    Nvidia released the Nvidia 440.100 proprietary Linux graphics driver with support for new GPUs better support for Pascal-based notebooks, and other improvements.

    The biggest new feature of the Nvidia 440.100 graphics driver is support for the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti with Max-Q Design, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 with Max-Q Design, and Nvidia Quadro T1000 with Max-Q Design graphics cards.

Kernel News: Security, Battery Life and Sway 1.5-RC1 Wayland Compositor

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • Linux To Begin Tightening Up Ability To Write To CPU MSRs From User-Space

    The Linux 5.9 kernel is slated to begin introducing new restrictions on allowing writes to CPU model specific registers (MSRs) from user-space.

    Via the Linux kernel x86 MSR driver, writes to arbitrary model specific registers from user-space is allowed -- assuming you have root permissions. But even with requiring root access, there are security implications and other issues in allowing any CPU MSRs to be written to from user-space without the intervention of the kernel via /dev/cpu/[CPU-number]/msr.

  • Intel Squaring Away "Hours of Battery Life" Feature For New Notebooks On Linux

    Intel's open-source Linux developers have got the Tiger Lake and Gen12 graphics support largely squared away at this point, but a few remaining features remain. One of the features new to Tigerlake/Gen12+ on the graphics side is HOBL, or "Hours of Battery Life", while the Linux support there is still being tidied up.

    As confirmed via patches earlier this month for implementing the support in Intel's DRM kernel driver, HOBL is for "Hours of Battery Life." This is a power-savings feature where supported laptops can take advantage of an optimized voltage swing table that uses less power in conjunction with motherboards and embedded DisplayPort (eDP) panels able to operate at the lower voltage.

  • Sway 1.5-RC1 Wayland Compositor Brings VRR / Adaptive-Sync, New Protocol Support

    The first release candidate of the Sway 1.5 Wayland compositor is now available for testing that continues to be inspired by the i3 design while being at the forefront of Wayland capabilities.

    [...]

    - Support for the wlr-foreign-toplevel-management protocol that can be used for creating custom docks and window switchers. This protocol exposes a list of opened applications and actions can then be performed on them such as maximizing windows or switching between these windows.

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