AMD Zen 2 "Znver2" Optimizations With LLVM Clang 10 Bring Some Improvements

Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 29 January 2020 at 03:22 PM EST. 6 Comments
With LLVM Clang 10 having added a Zen 2 scheduler model tuned for the latest AMD CPUs over the existing "znver2" tuning that had just copied the Zen 1 scheduler, here are some benchmarks looking at the LLVM Clang 9 vs. 10 compiler performance on AMD EPYC when making use of "-march=znver2" optimizations.

On the AMD EPYC 7742 2P server running Ubuntu 19.10 with the Linux 5.5 kernel, I carried out benchmarks earlier this month comparing the LLVM Clang 9.0.1 performance to that of LLVM Clang 10.0 after the Zen 2 (znver2) improvements landed and around the time of the LLVM 10.0 branching.
Clang 10 AMD EPYC Rome Tests Znver2

Both Clang 9 and Clang 10 Git were built the same in their release modes. As usual with compiler optimizations/tuning when looking at the performance across dozens of workloads, the results are mixed:
Clang 10 AMD EPYC Rome Tests Znver2

GraphicsMagick and PostgreSQL saw some big wins when using LLVM Clang 10 and also some smaller improvements in some of the video encode and compression tests. To no surprise, Clang 9 was building faster than Clang 10 given that newer compilers add more optimization passes and tuning thus taking longer to compile code in an effort to produce faster binaries. If ignoring the timed compilation results and then the multiple libgav1 tests, Clang 10 overall is looking good with just a few losses.
Clang 10 AMD EPYC Rome Tests Znver2

Out of 73 C/C++ benchmarks tested between these Clang compiler builds, Clang 10 did lead nearly 60% of the time.
Clang 10 AMD EPYC Rome Tests Znver2

If taking the geometric mean of all those benchmark results, Clang 10.0 Git and Clang 9 were neck-and-neck with this AMD Zen 2 targeting.

See all of these benchmarks in full via this result file.
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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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