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Graphics/Benchmarks

Graphics: RadeonSI NIR Backend, RADV Vulkan Driver, Direct Rendering Manager

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • RadeonSI NIR Backend Now Supports GLSL 4.50

    The experimental RadeonSI NIR back-end is taking a final step forward for Mesa 18.0.

    Up until today when using the RadeonSI NIR code-path the GLSL (OpenGL Shading Language) version was limited to 1.50 due to not having any tessellation shader support, but now it's supported up through 4.50 -- the GLSL version matching OpenGL 4.5.

  • RADV Vulkan Driver Now Supports VK_EXT_debug_report

    With the flurry of Mesa development activity with Mesa 18.0 being branched in a few days, the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver picked up support for another extension.

    Building off groundwork laid by Intel ANV, the RADV driver now implements VK_EXT_debug_report. At the moment it doesn't output any messages but can be easily added during development for usage with RenderDoc and other Vulkan debuggers.

  • The DRM Graphics Driver Changes Coming For Linux 4.16

    With being past the cutoff of new features to be merged to DRM-Next for targeting the upcoming Linux 4.16 kernel merge window, here is a recap of the prominent changes to the Direct Rendering Manager drivers for this next kernel cycle.

Retpoline Benchmarked

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Benchmarking Retpoline Underflow Protection With Intel Skylake/Kabylake

    Beyond the Retpoline support already found in the mainline Linux kernel, developers are working on Retpoline Underflow support that would be used for Intel Skylake and Kabylake CPUs. RETPOLINE_UNDERFLOW protects against falling back to a potentially poisoned indirect branch predictor when a return buffer underflows and this additional protection is needed for Intel Skylake/Kabylake processors. I ran a couple benchmarks.

  • AMD Retpoline Benchmarks From FX To Threadripper & EPYC

    For those curious about the performance impact of the Retpoline patches as found in the latest Linux 4.15 kernel, here are some benchmarks on an assortment of old and new AMD Linux systems.

Graphics: NVIDIA and Mesa

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • NVIDIA 340.106 Legacy Driver Released For KPTI Compatibility

    For those using the 340 series legacy driver for NVIDIA GeForce 8 and GeForce 9 series GPU support, the 340.106 driver has been released.

  • Mesa 18.0.0 release plan

    As you've know the Mesa 18.0.0 release plan has been available for a while on the mesa3d.org website [1].

  • Mesa 18.0 Will Enter Its Feature Freeze Soon

    The Mesa 18.0 feature freeze and release candidate will be issued in the days ahead.

    Emil Velikov quietly updated the Mesa3D release schedule a while back though now he's announced it to the mailing list. The original plan was to do the branching / feature freeze and RC1 on 19 January, but given the short notice, that might be kicked out until next week.

Graphics: AMDGPU, Mesa, Nouveau

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • GPU Voltage Control Support Coming To AMDGPU Driver

    Patches are being prepped to improve the OverDrive overclocking/underclocking support within the AMDGPU DRM driver and for allowing voltage controls.

  • Mesa 17.3.3 Is On The Way With Better Vega Support On Vulkan

    Mesa 17.3.3 should be released later this week with nearly three dozen fixes over the previous Mesa 17.3 point release.

  • Advanced DRI Configurator: A New Mesa GUI Project

    An independent open-source developer has announced "Advanced DRI Configurator" in what he's hoping could eventually replace DriConf for configuring Mesa parameters.

    Developer Jean Hertel has announced his initial work on trying to write a DriConf replacement. The Advanced DRI Configurator, or "adriconf" for short, is this young project written in C++ and GTKmm.

  • Red Hat Developer Manages Full Clock-Gating For Kepler With Nouveau

    In improving the power-savings of NVIDIA GeForce 600/700 "Kepler" GPUs running on the open-source NVIDIA "Nouveau" driver, Red Hat developer Lyude Paul has published a set of patches allowing for full clock-gating with these older graphics cards.

    Following lots of reverse engineering, rewrites, and tracing the behavior of the NVIDIA proprietary driver, Lyude has implemented all known levels of clock-gating for Kepler1/Kepler2 GPUs. Lyude was also working on Fermi GPU support, but its clock-gating is being handled differently and currently that code isn't yet ready.

16-Way GPU Comparison With NVIDIA GPUs Going Back To Kepler

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Graphics/Benchmarks

Last week I provided a fresh look at the NVIDIA GeForce vs. AMD Radeon Linux gaming performance using the latest drivers at the start of 2018. That testing included the latest NVIDIA and AMD GPUs, but for those curious how these numbers compare for older NVIDIA GPUs, here's a look with the Kepler and Maxwell graphics cards added to the comparison.

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Retpoline Backported and a New Benchmark

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • Retpoline Backported To Linux 4.9, Linux 4.14 Kernels

    Retpoline support for mitigating the Spectre vulnerabilities will soon be present in the Linux 4.9 and 4.14 stable kernels.

    Greg Kroah-Hartman has sent out the latest patches for the Linux 4.9 and 4.14 point releases, which now include the Retpoline support.

  • ADATA XPG SX6000: Benchmarking A ~$50 USD 128GB NVMe SSD On Linux

    While solid-state drives have generally been quite reliable in recent years and even with all the benchmarking I put them through have had less than a handful fail out of dozens, whenever there's a bargain on NVMe SSDs, it's hard to resist. The speed of NVMe SSDs has generally been great and while it's not a key focus on Phoronix (and thus generally not receiving review samples of them), I upgrade some of the server room test systems when finding a deal. The latest is trying an ADATA XPG SX6000 NVMe SSD I managed to get for $49.99 USD.

Graphics: Mir, Vulkan, Mesa

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Experimental XDG-Shell Support For Mir's Wayland Support

    Mir's Wayland support continues being hacked on and now being tackled is support for the XDG-Shell protocol.

    A proof of concept implementation for the XDG Shell protocol has been posted for Mir. The XDG-Shell protocol as a reminder is used for managing surfaces under Wayland compositors for dealing with window dragging, resizing, stacking, and other actions.

  • Vulkan 1.0.68 Published

    Coming just over one week since Vulkan 1.0.67 is now the Vulkan 1.0.68 graphics/compute programming specification update.

    Given the short time from Vulkan 1.0.67 to 1.0.68, this updated version does not introduce any new extensions. Vulkan 1.0.68 just has documentation fixes: correcting some typos and making other clarifications for helping developers understand expected behavior of some elements of Vulkan.

  • Intel's Mesa Driver Is A Step Closer To ARB_gl_spirv Support

    Igalia has sent out the fourth version of their patches for wiring in ARB_gl_spirv support into the Mesa OpenGL driver. This extension is the last main blocker from Intel having OpenGL 4.6 support and allows for SPIR-V ingestion support for better interoperability between OpenGL and Vulkan.

  • Mesa Gets Patches For EGL_ANDROID_blob_cache

    An Intel open-source developer has sent out a set of patches implementing the EGL ANDROID_blob_cache extension for Mesa.

Graphics: Weston, Trends and Benchmarks

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Some Of What's Coming For Wayland's Weston 4.0 Compositor

    Earlier this week ongoing Wayland/Weston release manager Bryce Harrington at Samsung laid out plans for Wayland 1.15 and Weston 4.0. There's been some push-back on the proposed dates to try to allow some more work to land in these upcoming six month releases to Wayland/Weston, but long story short, these next releases will be here in the near future.

    With Wayland itself quite mature, there isn't much that's exciting for end-users about Wayland 1.15. In fact, not many changes at all unless there's a last-minute rush of new work to land. As is the case these days, most of the interesting work is happening within the Weston compositor space as developers flesh out new functionality and prototype features that will hopefully be picked up by the other Wayland compositors that are becoming widely used on the Linux desktop.

  • Linux Graphics Trends Over The Past Five Years

    Yesterday I posted some Linux hardware statistics going back to 2011 using data collected by the Phoronix Test Suite and OpenBenchmarking.org. Those yearly metrics hadn't contained any GPU/driver data, but here are those numbers.

    The graphics numbers were omitted from yesterday's article as I had to make some tweaks to its parser and post-processor due to the wide assortment of graphics driver/hardware combinations, joining the ATI and AMD data, etc compared to the statistics collection on more basic/uniform hardware components. The sample set used was a maximum of 100,000 systems per year with the data being collected through the Phoronix Test Suite and OpenBenchmarking.org.

  • Phoronix Test Suite 7.8 M2 Released As "Folldal" Development Heats Up

    Just one week after Phoronix Test Suite 7.8 Milestone 1, the second development release of 7.8-Folldal is now available for testing.

    Phoronix Test Suite 7.8 M2 is heavier on the end-user facing changes as this quarterly development cycle heats up and also initial planning underway for Phoronix Test Suite 8.0 that in turn will ship this summer.

Benchmarking Ubuntu's Low-Latency Kernel & Liquorix Post-Meltdown

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Security
Ubuntu

The Ubuntu low-latency kernel is designed for, well, low-latency workloads like audio processing/recording. The lowlatency kernel compared to the generic Linux x86_64 kernel enables IRQ_FORCED_THREADING_DEFAULT, disables TREE_RCU in favor of PREEMPT_RCU, disables OPTPROBES, enables UNINLINE_SPIN_UNLOCK while disables the INLINE_*_UNLOCK tunables, enables PREEMPT support, changes to 1000Hz tick from 250Hz, and enables LATENCYTOP support.

The Liquorix kernel continues to be a bit more unique and among its alterations compared to a generic kernel is Zen interactive tuning, making use of the MuQSS process scheduler, hard kernel preemption, BFQ I/O scheduler by default, network optimizations, and more as outlined at Liquorix.net. Liquorix also defaults to CPUFreq on Intel CPUs and uses the ondemand governor rather than the other tested kernels defaulting to P_State powersave.

For these tests were benchmarks of 4.13.0-25-generic (the current default Ubuntu 17.10 kernel with KPTI patched), 4.14.13-041413-generic as the latest upstream stable kernel from the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA, 4.14.13-041413-lowlatency as the equivalent low-latency Ubuntu kernel, and then 4.14.0-13.1-liquorix as the latest Liquorix kernel via its Launchpad PPA. All of these kernels had KPTI protection present and enabled, none of them currently have the (currently out-of-tree) Retpoline support.

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Also: Ubuntu 17.10.1 ISOs available with corrupting BIOS fix

GCC 8.0 vs. LLVM Clang 6.0 On AMD EPYC

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Development
Graphics/Benchmarks

At the beginning of January I posted some early LLVM Clang 6.0 benchmarks on AMD EPYC while in this article is comparing the tentative Clang 6.0 performance to that of the in-development GCC 8.0. Both compilers are now into their feature freeze and this testing looked at the performance of generated binaries both for generic x86_64 as well as being tuned for AMD's Zen "znver1" microarchitecture.

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