1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer On Ubuntu Linux

Michael Larabel

Published on 24 October 2011
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 4 of 13 - 72 Comments

In terms of any "sweet spot" or an ideal level of Bulldozer Linux support, it is not there quite yet. Similar to how Microsoft Windows 8 will offer up measurable performance improvements for Bulldozer over Windows 7, the Linux support can also be optimized for this distinct AMD architecture.

The GCC and Open64 compilers have received optimizations for Bulldozer (available from the "bdver1" architecture flag) and the first bits of that work were committed in 2010. GCC 4.5/4.6 already have basic Bulldozer support in place, along with Open64, and it will likely receive more improvements going forward (e.g. it doesn't appear that the GCC patch for implementing the dispatch scheduler has yet to be merged to mainline). The article looking specifically at the compiler performance will go into more detail on what has been optimized within the leading open-source / Linux compilers for Bulldozer.

Outside of the compilers, there are still yet-to-be-merged kernel-level optimizations. Over the summer, there was the "Correct F15h IC aliasing issue" patch by AMD's Borislav Petkov that was meant to improve the Bulldozer performance in some workloads. Linus Torvalds criticized this work and it has yet to be merged mainline, but hopefully it will be a candidate for the Linux 3.2 kernel. I have also reached out to Borislav to find out about any other upcoming Bulldozer Linux patches, but am still waiting on hearing back from the AMD developer in Munich.

With the Linux 3.0/3.1 kernel, the "k10temp" driver supports reading the core temperature of the FX-8150. There's also a new driver that was merged this summer and its the "fam15h_power" driver, which is for taking advantage of new registers found on the Bulldozer CPUs that allow reading the estimated power consumption of the CPU itself without any external equipment. Unfortunately, as will be talked about in the overclocking article, this is not terribly accurate and when pushing the CPU hard it can provide wildly wrong results (e.g. 14W power consumption when overclocking her to 4.7GHz).

The Phoronix Test Suite already supports monitoring these drivers via their sysfs interfaces for automatic polling during the benchmarking process. There are various Bulldozer system detection improvements that have landed within Phoronix Test Suite 3.6-Arendal. Another note about the management Linux support for Bulldozer is that the Asetek/AMD FX water cooling system has a USB interface for controlling and monitoring the fan speeds of this CPU cooler. Unfortunately, there is no Linux software for this USB controller nor have I seen AMD/Asetek provide any technical documentation to allow a driver to be created.

Simply put, the Linux support is there for the AMD Bulldozer processors if you are using a recent Linux distribution, as long as your motherboard is compatible. Running the latest release of your Linux distribution is certainly recommended and expect for performance optimizations and other support improvements to still come down the pipe.

Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. A Walkthrough Of The New 32 System Open-Source Linux Benchmarking Test Farm
  2. Habey MITX-6771: Mini-ITX Board With Quad-Core J1900 Bay Trail
  3. OCZ Vector 150 SSD On Linux
  4. Noctua i4 CPU Cooler: Great For Cooling High-End LGA-2011v3 CPUs
Latest Linux Articles
  1. 17-Way Linux Graphics Card Comparison With Civilization Beyond Earth
  2. AMD Kaveri: Open-Source Radeon Gallium3D vs. Catalyst 14.12 Omega Driver
  3. 12-Way AMD Catalyst 14.12 vs. NVIDIA 346 Series Linux GPU Comparison
  4. AMD Catalyst 14.12 Omega Driver Brings Mixed Results For Linux Users
Latest Linux News
  1. Intel 2.99.917 X.Org Driver Released, 3.0 Release Finally Near
  2. Server-Side XCB Is Being Discussed For The X.Org Server
  3. Adreno A4xx Rendering With Freedreno Takes Shape
  4. Linux 3.19-rc1 Kernel Released Ahead Of Schedule
  5. Civilization: Beyond Earth Linux GPU/Driver Benchmarks
  6. X.Org Server 1.16.3 Released To Fix Security Issues
  7. Linux 3.19 Merge Window Closes Ahead Of Schedule
  8. MIPS R6 Architecture Now Supported By GCC
  9. LowRISC To Feature Tagged Memory & Minion Cores
  10. Intel Skylake Audio Support For Linux 3.19
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Speeding up systemd networking service
  2. FPS capped on Linux (AMD fglrx drivers)
  3. Major Performance Breakthrough Discovered For Intel's Mesa Driver
  4. Looking for an nVidia GPU, but not sure how well they are supported.
  5. Need some hand holding with upgrading xserver
  6. Are there an app using HSA ?
  7. The New SuperTuxKart Looks Better, But Can Cause GPU/Driver Problems
  8. XLennart: A Game For Systemd Haters With Nothing Better To Do