Ryzen 7, Threadripper & Radeon RX Vega Generated A Ton Of Linux Buzz
As usual, here is a look at our most popular content for the past month on Phoronix. For August 2017 on Phoronix there were 274 original news articles and 31 featured articles/reviews. This is roughly in line with my aim of around 10 original pieces on Phoronix per day, every day, 365 days per year.
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With that said, the most popular featured articles this month included:
Radeon RX Vega On Linux: High-Performance GPUs & Open-Source No Longer An Oxymoron
The Radeon RX Vega is shipping today and for Linux gamers this is a serious AMD offering for being able to handle modern Linux games. But it goes beyond that in the RX Vega launch easily being the most successful launch ever for a GPU backed by open-source drivers on launch day. I've been spending the past several days testing the Radeon RX Vega 56 and RX Vega 64. The RX Vega 56 is a very competent graphics card for $399 USD while those wanting to reach peak performance for Linux gaming on a open-source system can find the RX Vega 64 for $499 USD. The open-source support for Vega isn't without some initial setup hurdles and some growing pains along the way, but it's looking very good for launch-day and the best DRM+Mesa support we have ever seen at-launch for the premiere of a new discrete GPU architecture.
AMD Threadripper 1950X Linux Benchmarks
Last week I was able to finally get my hands on a Threadripper 1950X system thanks to AMD for being able to deliver some Linux tests from this high-end desktop platform. The Threadripper 1950X as a reminder is a 16-core processor with 32 threads via SMT, 3.4GHz base frequency, 4.0GHz boost frequency, quad-channel DDR4 support, and support for 64 PCI-E lanes. Threadripper sits between the Ryzen 7 desktop processors and the AMD EPYC server/workstation processors, which are still soon to be tested at Phoronix. The Ryzen Threadripper 1950X will set you back $999 USD, but compared to the Core i9 7900X at the same price, has six more cores / 12 threads and a slightly higher base clock frequency of 3.4GHz vs. 3.3GHz but a lower boost frequency of 4.0GHz vs. 4.3GHz.
Continuing To Stress Ryzen
In direct continuation of yesterday's article about easily causing segmentation faults on AMD Zen CPUs, I have carried out another battery of tests for 24 hours and have more information to report today on the ability to trivially cause segmentation faults and in some cases system lock-ups with Ryzen CPUs.
Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Radeon Gaming Performance With Linux 4.13 + Mesa 17.2
In the past few days I have posted benchmarks showing how AMD's latest open-source Radeon Linux driver code is faster than their hybrid/proprietary driver for OpenGL and perhaps most excitingly is finally how AMD Radeon GPUs are beginning to really compete with NVIDIA GPUs on Linux and in some cases performing better against the GeForce competition than they do under Windows. This comes after years of work on their open-source driver stack and especially a lot of work done over the past year not only by AMD but also Valve and other open-source contributors to Mesa, their RadeonSI Gallium3D driver, their AMDGPU LLVM compiler back-end continues to be refined for compute and graphics, and the AMDGPU kernel driver. So here are the latest Windows vs. Linux gaming benchmarks on the Radeon side to see where things stand now with this latest code.
New Ryzen Is Running Solid Under Linux, No Compiler Segmentation Fault Issue
As a quick update to the AMD Linux "Performance Marginality Problem" affecting some early Ryzen processors under heavy load, today I received a new Ryzen 7 processor and indeed it's been running strong now for the past few hours under demanding load and has yet to hit the compiler segumentation fault bug.
AMD Ryzen 3 1200 & Ryzen 3 1300X Linux Performance
At the end of July AMD began shipping the Ryzen 3 entry-level Zen processors. While it may not be as exciting as a 16-thread Ryzen 7 or Threadripper, the Ryzen 3 1200 and Ryzen 3 1300X offer surprising value with being quad-core parts priced at just above $100 USD. With Linux users especially craving multi-core systems if running Arch or other distributions where you are frequently compiling your own packages, the Ryzen 3 CPUs can make for a low-cost but practical Linux system. Here are my initial benchmarks of these first two Ryzen 3 processors.
16-Way NVIDIA GeForce vs. AMD Radeon Comparison - August 2017
Last week were the benchmark results showing how the open-source Radeon Linux driver is becoming increasingly competitive with NVIDIA's driver and is very competitive OpenGL-wise with the Radeon Software Windows driver. Here are some more NVIDIA and Radeon benchmarks today under Linux with each vendor's latest drivers using sixteen different graphics cards.
Athlon II X3 vs. Ryzen 3: How AMD's Performance Has Evolved & Performance-Per-Watt
Noticing I had an AMD Athlon II X3 425 system still racked up and hadn't been powered on in a long time, I decided to decomission it, but not before running some final benchmarks on that system. Having the recent AMD Ryzen 3 1200 / 1300X CPUs I decided it would make for an interesting comparison how the old Athlon II X3 compares to AMD's low-end CPU of today, the Ryzen 3 processors based on Zen. Here are those benchmarks that also include performance-per-Watt and overall AC system power consumption numbers.
More Benchmarks Showing How Gallium3D With RX Vega Smacks AMDGPU-PRO's OpenGL Proprietary Driver
Of the many interesting findings from this morning's AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 / 64 Linux review was how the open-source AMDGPU+RadeonSI driver stack with OpenGL actually outperforms AMDGPU-PRO driver, the hybrid Radeon Linux driver relying upon AMD's closed-source OpenGL driver that's also shared with the Windows OpenGL driver. Here are more benchmarks of the RX Vega 56 and RX Vega 64 showing the margins by which AMDGPU+RadeonSI can outperform AMDGPU-PRO.
Some Early AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X Linux Benchmarks
Yesterday along with the completely Linux-trouble-free Ryzen 7 (it indeed went overnight without any issues coming up via the kill-ryzen script), I finally got my hands on the AMD Threadripper. In particular, the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X that features sixteen physical cores yielding 32 threads via SMT, 3.4GHz base frequency, 4.0GHz boost clock frequency, and quad-channel DDR4 support. This Threadripper 1950X is a beast but will set you back $999 USD and has a 180 Watt TDP. I'll have my much more thorough AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X Linux review next week including many more benchmarks, performance-per-dollar, and system power use / performance-per-Watt metrics, but here are some very early results for those anxious to see this HEDT PC on Linux.
And the most popular news for August 2017:
AMD Confirms Linux Performance Marginality Problem Affecting Some, Doesn't Affect Epyc / TR
This morning I was on a call with AMD and they are now able to confirm they have reproduced the Ryzen "segmentation fault issue" and are working with affected customers.
Ryzen-Test & Stress-Run Make It Easy To Cause Segmentation Faults On Zen CPUs
With running a number of new Ryzen Linux tests lately, a number of readers requested I take a fresh look at the reported Ryzen segmentation fault issues / bugs affecting a number of many Linux users. I did and still am able to reproduce the problem.
Stratis Is Red Hat's Plan For Next-Gen Linux Storage Without Btrfs
Yesterday at Phoronix we were the first to broadcast about Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 deprecating Btrfs and since then it's become more clear what their "next-gen" Linux storage focus has become.
Red Hat Appears To Be Abandoning Their Btrfs Hopes
Red Hat has (again) deprecated the Btrfs file-system from their Red Hat Enterprise Linux product, but this time it appears it may be for good.
Oracle Reportedly Laying Off More Solaris & ZFS Staff
The mystery around the future of Solaris, ZFS, and SPARC continues with Oracle reportedly letting go of more developers and other staff members.
Firefox 55 Is Ready To Shine With Performance Improvements
Mozilla's Firefox 55 web browser is now deemed stable while Firefox 56 enters beta and Firefox 57 is the new nightly build.
Facebook Looking To Add Zstd Support To The Linux Kernel, Btrfs
Zstd (also known as Zstandard) is a lossless data compression developed by Facebook that has been open-source since last year. This BSD-licensed compression algorithm aims to offer compression similar to zip/gzip but with faster speeds both for compression and decompression. Facebook developers are now looking at adding this support to the Linux kernel.
NOVA: The Newest Linux File-System, Designed For Persistent Memory
It's been an interesting week for Linux storage with Red Hat deprecating Btrfs and Stratis being their next-gen Linux storage bet. Independent of that is now the announcement of NOVA, a new Linux file-system coming out of university research into file-systems for persistent memory.
Ubuntu 17.10 Continues Refining Its GNOME Shell Theme
Will Cooke of Canonical is out with another weekly update on the latest happenings for the Ubuntu 17.10 desktop as the "Artful Aardvark" release continues getting closer.
AMD Threadripper Is Looking Good, At Least Under Windows
AMD's embargo has just expired on the Threadripper performance figures. The Windows numbers at least are very positive.