Recapping The AMD Kaveri Linux Experience
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 9 February 2014 at 03:06 AM EST. 15 Comments
Since last month's debut of the AMD Kaveri APUs there have been many Phoronix articles delivering Linux test results of the A10-7850K high-end APU. For those that unfortunately don't read Phoronix on a daily basis, here's a recap of some of our findings to date.

As written about on Kaveri's launch day, there's decent Linux support for this APU with Steamroller CPU cores and a "GCN" GPU. Here's some of our findings since then under Linux:

- When using the Catalyst drivers, the Ubuntu Linux performance is close to Windows 8.1 with regards to its Radeon R7 graphics performance.

- Kaveri is a decent performer on Ubuntu when compared to various Intel and AMD processors/APUs, including performance-per-Watt results.

- Kaveri's graphics can work with the latest open-source AMD Radeon Linux graphics drivers. Here's RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. Catalyst benchmarks of OpenGL.

- Kaveri's memory scaling performance can definitely take advantage of high-bandwidth memory modules, including the AMD APU loving DDR3-2400MHz memory.

- Kaveri supports a configurable TDP for tuning the heat output / power draw of the APU at the cost of performance. It works for the A10-7850K but is mostly intended for the lower-end Kaveri APUs.

- AMD Kaveri OpenCL benchmarks. AMD OpenCL on Linux works great for GPGPU but with the open-source driver there's still more OpenCL enablement to happen.

- Kaveri open-source driver performance improvements have already happened for those not wanting to use the Catalyst driver.

- The GCC 4.9 compiler doesn't yield much for Kaveri over the current GCC 4.8 stable series.

- Kaveri is running great with binaries compiled by LLVM's Clang C/C++ compiler.

- I've also done some bdver3 compiler tuning benchmarks to see how Steamroller does with GCC "-march=" flags.

- HPC Challenge benchmarks from this APU.

- The turbo/extreme modes of Kaveri's APU works under Linux for increasing the graphics performance.

- RadeonSI GLAMOR benchmarks on the A10-7850K show that the 2D performance of GLAMOR still needs to be improved for putting its performance on par with Catalyst for just not OpenGL but 2D too.

Having been running two AMD A10-7850K "Kaveri" systems for nearly one month, I'm quite pleased with this APU on Linux for low-end systems and those trying to be energy-friendly. The performance can't obviously dominate over top-end Intel CPUs, but the performance is decent for the price. The Radeon R7 Graphics are also decent for most Linux users and there's the choice between the open-source RadeonSI stack and the proprietary Catalyst driver.

Have any other AMD Kaveri Linux benchmarks you'd like to see soon? Let me know via @MichaelLarabel on Twitter. Questions and feedback can also be routed via the forums.

About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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