AMD's Linux Strides In H1'21 From FreeSync HDMI To PyTorch ROCm

Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 4 July 2021 at 12:36 PM EDT. 5 Comments
As part of our various Q2'21 and H1'21 Linux/open-source recaps, here is a look back at the most popular AMD Linux/open-source news so far this calendar year.

AMD's Linux graphics team continues making strides on current and future open-source GPU driver support, ROCm continues maturing, AMD continues hiring more Linux engineers on the CPU side of the house, and AMD's latest Zen 3 processors continue performing very well on Linux.

The most popular AMD Linux/open-source related news for H1'2021 on Phoronix included:

AMD Is Currently Hiring More Linux Engineers
It looks like thanks to AMD's increasing sales and continuing successes in the enterprise space with more HPC wins and the like, AMD is hiring more Linux engineers. AMD currently has several interesting job openings on the Linux front.

Chrome 89 vs. Firefox 86 Performance Benchmarks On AMD Ryzen + Ubuntu Linux
Given this week's launch of Chrome 89 and the recent Firefox 86 debut, here are some quick benchmarks for those curious about the current performance when using Ubuntu Linux with a AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and Radeon graphics.

dav1d 0.8 Released With More Optimizations - More AMD Performance
Dav1d 0.8 was released this weekend (and subsequently 0.8.1 too) as the latest major release for this CPU-based AV1 decoder hosted by the VideoLAN project. Dav1d continues to be about offering the best AV1 decode speed and with the v0.8 series are even faster results -- so here are some of our initial data points as well from some weekend benchmarking.

Radeon Vulkan Driver Adds Option Of Rendering Less For ~30% Greater Performance
If your current Vulkan-based Radeon Linux gaming performance isn't cutting it and a new GPU is out of your budget or you have been unable to find a desired GPU upgrade in stock, the Mesa RADV driver has added an option likely of interest to you... Well, at least moving forward with this feature being limited to RDNA2 GPUs for now.

AMD Ryzen 5000 Temperature Monitoring Support Sent In For Linux 5.12
Due to an unfortunate misalignment of the Ryzen 5000 series launch and the Linux kernel cycles, CPU temperature monitoring for Ryzen 5000 (Zen 3) desktop CPUs isn't landing until now with the Linux 5.12 kernel cycle.

The 11 Most Interesting Features For Linux 5.11 - Lots For AMD + Intel This Cycle
Linux 5.11 stable is expected to be released on Sunday barring any second thoughts by Linus Torvalds that could lead to an eighth weekly release candidate that would in turn push the official release back by one week. In any case, Linux 5.11 will be formally out soon and it's an exciting one on the feature front.

Quake II RTX Performance For AMD Radeon 6000 Series vs. NVIDIA On Linux
Last month with the Radeon Software for Linux 21.10 driver there was finally Vulkan ray-tracing support added to that proprietary Vulkan driver component, the first time that Vulkan ray-tracing has been available on Linux for any AMD Radeon 6000 series graphics card across the multiple driver options. Last month I posted some initial Vulkan ray-tracing AMD vs. NVIDIA Linux benchmarks while questions were raised how well the driver performs with NVIDIA's Quake II RTX port. Here are some initial benchmarks for those wondering.

AMD Proposing Redesign For How Linux GPU Drivers Work - Explicit Fences Everywhere
Well known open-source AMD Linux graphics driver developer Marek Olšák published an initial proposal this week as "a redesign of how Linux graphics drivers work."

AMD Publishes Security Analysis Of Zen 3 "PSF" That Could Possibly Lead To A Side-Channel Attack
AMD published a security whitepaper this week looking at their Predictive Store Forwarding (PSF) feature that is new to Zen 3 series processors. AMD is going to allow customers to disable this performance feature as they think it may be vulnerable to a Spectre-like attack.

AMD FreeSync HDMI Patch Appearing For Their Open-Source Linux Driver
While the AMD Linux graphics driver for some time has been supporting FreeSync over DisplayPort connections, FreeSync displays connected via HDMI have not been supported. But now we are finally seeing the start of patches at least as far as HDMI pre-v2.1 support is concerned.

Linux 5.11 Released With Intel Integer Scaling, AMD Performance Boost, RTX 30 KMS
What better way for open-source enthusiasts to celebrate Valentine's Day than with the stable release of the Linux 5.11 kernel... Linus Torvalds even changed the kernel codename for the occasion to being the "Valentine's Day Edition" kernel.

AMD Publishes Initial Open-Source Linux Driver Code For "Beige Goby"
AMD has published initial open-source Linux graphics driver code for a new GPU dubbed Beige Goby.

System76 Introduces Thelio Mira Computers - Powered By AMD Ryzen 5000 Series
System76 today introduced the Thelio Mira as their nwest desktop computer offering that is sized between the Thelio and Thelio Major while still packing quite a bit of compute potential.

Linux 5.10.20 Released - Fixes The Erroneous Record-Breaking AMD Clock Frequencies
Recent kernel point releases have reported erroneous maximum frequencies on AMD Zen 2 / Zen 3 CPUs in the area of 6GHz+ while now with the latest stable releases that is being fixed.

AMD Energy Monitoring Driver Slated To Be Removed From The Linux Kernel
As a surprise and big disappointment, the "amd_energy" driver that exposes AMD EPYC server CPU energy monitoring metrics under Linux for being able to calculate the per-core and package power consumption and more is now set to be removed from the mainline Linux kernel.

The AMD Zen 2 / Zen 3 Performance Fix For Linux 5.11 Has Landed
Just in time for the expected Linux 5.11 stable release on Sunday, the AMD frequency invariance performance regression I've been noting and writing about since Christmas day has been resolved with the previously covered fix having been merged today.

Linux 5.12 Corruption, GNOME 40, AMD Milan, Rust In Linux-Next Made For An Exciting March
There was a lot to get excited about over the course of the past month when it comes to our open-source and Linux area of focus.

Mesa's Radeon "RADV" Vulkan Driver Makes First Steps Towards Ray-Tracing
There still is much work left to be completed but Mesa's Radeon Vulkan driver "RADV" has made its first baby steps towards ray-tracing support with Radeon RX 6000 "RDNA2" series hardware.

PyTorch 1.8 Released With AMD ROCm Binaries
PyTorch 1.8 was released on Thursday as the newest version of this widely-used machine learning library. Exciting many will be easier AMD Radeon ROCm support with Python wheels now provided for that Radeon Open eCosystem support.

QEMU 6.0 On The Way With LTO Support, AMD SEV-ES Guests, Multi-Process Experiment
This week marked the hard feature freeze for QEMU 6.0 along with the tagging of QEMU 6.0-rc0. The QEMU 6.0 release should happen around the end of April for this important piece of the open-source Linux virtualization stack.

The most popular AMD/Radeon Linux hardware reviews and benchmark articles so far this year included:

AMD Radeon RX 6800 vs. NVIDIA RTX 30 Linux Performance Heating Up
Given the open-source Radeon driver progress for RDNA2 over the past three months since the Radeon RX 6800 series were launched, here is a look at how the Radeon RX 6800 series and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series is currently competing on Linux when using the latest Linux drivers from the respective vendors.

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT Linux Performance
At the start of March AMD announced the Radeon RX 6700 XT as their new RDNA2 graphics card starting out at $479 USD. Tomorrow the RX 6700 XT is going on sale while today marks the embargo lift on reviews. We have been testing the Radeon RX 6700 XT over the past two weeks and have up our initial Linux support experience and gaming benchmark results to share.

Linux 5.11 Is Now Looking Great For AMD Zen 2 / Zen 3 Performance
Not only is the AMD "CPU frequency invariance regression" from that new support with the in-development Linux 5.11 kernel on course to address the performance shortcomings I outlined last month, but with the patched kernel for a number of workloads the performance is now ahead of where it was at with Linux 5.10.

Benchmarking AMD Ryzen 5 5500U Linux Performance With A $450 Lenovo Laptop
The AMD Ryzen 5 5500U with six cores / twelve threads within a Lenovo laptop at $449 USD is quite a steal. This is also my first time benchmarking the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U after waiting months on Ryzen 5000 series laptop availability. Here are some initial benchmarks of the Ryzen 5 5500U under Ubuntu 21.04 Linux against various other Intel/AMD laptops.

Windows 10 Build 21370 vs. Ubuntu 21.04 Linux On AMD Ryzen 5900X
Last month when carrying out tests of Windows 10 vs. Linux on the Intel Core i9 11900K "Rocket Lake" processor we were very surprised to see Windows 10 frankly performing so well compared to Ubuntu and picking up more wins than usual. That unexpectedly strong showing for Windows 10 might be due to Intel's P-State behavior with Rocket Lake or other power management tuning or there the lack of on Linux at this time. But it led me to wondering if the latest Windows 10 updates spelled out anything different on the AMD Ryzen side... So here are some benchmarks of the latest Microsoft Windows 10 against Ubuntu 21.04 on the same AMD Ryzen 9 5900X system.

Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 21.04 On The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X
Earlier this month were benchmarks looking at Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 21.04 on an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X desktop to which Ubuntu came out roughly 8% faster than the Microsoft OS on average. But what about the difference for HEDT systems? Given the more radical performance difference we have seen in the past with Windows vs. Linux for Threadripper systems, here are some recently conducted benchmarks on that front with the 64-core Threadripper 3990X.

NVIDIA RTX 30 Series vs. AMD Radeon Linux Gaming Performance For April 2021
With recently receiving the rest of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 "Ampere" line-up we had no access to previously for testing, the past few weeks were busy with testing/re-testing these new graphics cards as well as prior GeForce RTX 20 series hardware and relevant AMD Radeon graphics cards for offering a current look at the 1440p and 4K Linux gaming performance.

GCC 10 vs. GCC 11 Compiler Performance On AMD Zen 3
After recently looking at the early LLVM Clang 12 compiler performance on the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, in today's benchmarking is a look at how the GCC 11 compiler performance is looking in its near final state compared to GCC 10 under a variety of build CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS configurations on the AMD Zen 3 desktop.

Updated Portal 2 Vulkan Rendering Code Yielding Great Radeon Results
Valve on Monday rolled out a new Portal 2 build that improves its new Vulkan renderer support. For those interested here are some fresh benchmarks of Portal 2 with OpenGL and Vulkan on the open-source AMD Radeon Linux drivers.

Radeon RX 6800 Series Linux Performance Nearly Three Months After Launch
Given the daily progress and changes made to the open-source AMDGPU Linux kernel driver and the Mesa drivers providing the open-source OpenGL (RadeonSI) and Vulkan (RADV) support, here is a look at how the Radeon RX 6800 series performance is currently for the latest Linux graphics driver code compared to the performance seen back on the November launch day for the Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT graphics cards.
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Michael Larabel

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 20,000 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, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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