Linux 5.6, Threadripper 3990X, $199 AMD Laptop Topped Reader Interest In February

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 March 2020 at 07:00 AM EST. 3 Comments
During last month on Phoronix were 276 original news articles and another 18 featured Linux hardware reviews / benchmark articles. Here is a look back at the most popular content and news stories for the month.

Before getting to the most popular topics of February, just the monthly reminder that if you enjoy seeing all the new and original content on Phoronix each and every day, you can show your support. Join Phoronix Premium for ad-free viewing, multi-page articles on a single page, and other benefits. PayPal tips are also accepted or at the very least to please not use any ad-blocker when accessing this site. Thank you for your support.

The most popular news on Phoronix for February included:

Linus Torvalds Just Made A Big Optimization To Help Code Compilation Times On Big CPUs
For those using GNU Make in particular as their build system, the parallel build times are about to be a lot faster beginning with Linux 5.6 for large core count systems. This landing just after the AMD Threadripper 3990X 64-core / 128-thread CPU launch is one example of systems to benefit from this kernel change when compiling a lot of code and making use of many GNU Make jobs.

Intel KVM Virtualization Hit By Vulnerability Over Unfinished Code
At least not another hardware vulnerability, but CVE-2020-2732 appears to stem from unfinished code within the Intel VMX code for the Linux kernel's Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) support.

A Quick Look At The Blender 2.82 Performance On Intel + AMD CPUs
With Blender 2.82 having released on Friday, this weekend we've begun our benchmarking of this new Blender release as the leading open-source 3D modeling solution currently available. Here are some preliminary v2.81 vs. v2.82 figures on different higher-end Intel and AMD processors.

Whoops, Linux 5.5 Missed Some "Critical" Intel Graphics Driver Patches
While Linux 5.5 is out in the wild now as the latest stable version of the Linux kernel, it turns out some Intel kernel graphics driver patches were overlooked and this can spell trouble for some users.

Google Announces The 200 Open-Source Projects For GSoC 2020
Google's Summer of Code initiative for getting students involved with open-source development during the summer months is now into its sixteenth year. This week Google announced the 200 open-source projects participating in GSoC 2020.

Western Digital Proposes Zonefs File-System For Linux 5.6
One of the last features to land today for Linux 5.6 ahead of the merge window closure is Western Digital's Zonefs file-system.

Arch-Based Manjaro 19.0 Released With Flagship Edition Using Xfce 4.14
Manjaro 19.0 is out today as this popular desktop-focused Arch Linux based distribution that is focused on its Xfce desktop spin but also offers other desktop options.

Intel Quietly Released A Redistributable, Lightweight ME "Ignition Firmware" Binary
Towards the end of last year Intel quietly released an "ignition firmware" for the Management Engine (ME) on their Cascade Lake platform that is also their first ME firmware release to be under a license permitting redistribution.

NetBSD 9.0 Coming Soon With 64-bit ARM, Updated ZFS, Hardware-Accelerated Virtualization
The second release candidate of NetBSD 9.0 is now available for testing of what should be the last test candidate before the stable NetBSD 9 unveiling in the very near future.

Mesa 20.0 Released With Big Improvements For Intel, AMD Radeon Vulkan/OpenGL
Mesa 20.0 is now released as the first quarter 2020 update to the Mesa 3D open-source graphics driver stack.

Linux 5.7 Staging Will Be ~28.7k Lines Of Code Lighter Thanks To Nuking WUSB + UWB
With the Linux 5.7 kernel cycle in two months there is some "spring cleaning" within the staging area that is leading to almost twenty-nine thousand lines of code being removed thanks to removing a deprecated feature.

Address Space Isolation For The Linux Kernel Is Still A Big Challenge In 2020
While there are many new features in the forthcoming Linux 5.6 kernel, the ongoing Address Space Isolation support is not one of them.

NVIDIA Posts Firmware Needed For Open-Source GeForce 16 Series Acceleration
As written about last week, in the works for the Linux 5.7 kernel this spring is open-source NVIDIA "Nouveau" acceleration for the GeForce 16 series. That code is currently sitting in the Nouveau development tree until landing in DRM-Next for Linux 5.7, but NVIDIA has now posted the necessary firmware binaries needed for enabling the hardware acceleration on these Turing GPUs.

Learn More About Systemd-Homed For How Linux Home Directories Are Being Reinvented
Coming with the imminent systemd 245 is systemd-homed that is making fundamental changes to Linux home directories. Systemd lead developer Lennart Poettering presented at FOSDEM 2020 last weekend on systemd-homed and that video recording is now up.

CPUs From 2004 Against AMD's New 64-Core Threadripper 3990X + Tests Against FX-9590
With having the initial AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X Linux benchmarks out of the way, I did some fun Friday night benchmarking with this 64-core HEDT CPU... Seeing how the 3990X performance compares to some CPUs used when starting out Phoronix back in 2004 as well as also for fun seeing how the Threadripper 3990X compares to the notorious AMD FX-9590.

An Open-Source Bootloader For Windows Lets You Run Off Btrfs, Other Possibilities
Quibble is a new open-source bootloader that supports booting Windows XP through Windows 10 and opens up new possibilities like booting a Windows installation off Btrfs.

LibreOffice 7 Continues Plumbing Its Vulkan Rendering Support
Landing last November in the LibreOffice development code was Skia drawing support to replace Cairo and in turn that opens up for Vulkan rendering of this cross-platform, open-source office suite.

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Moves Ahead With Python 2 Removal - But Sticks Around For Derivatives
With Python 2 having been end-of-life since the start of the year and Ubuntu 20.04 being a long-term support release, Ubuntu developers are working hard to ensure Python 2 isn't shipped as part of this next Ubuntu LTS release.

Linux 5.6 Can Boot The Original Amazon Echo, But It's Not Really Practical
As first to write about yesterday, Linux 5.6 Arm platform changes now support the original Amazon Echo. While this allows the first-generation Amazon Echo to run with a mainline Linux kernel and is exciting for hobbyists, it's not really practical at this stage or even in the long-run.

Apple Firmware Update For Magic Keyboards Decides To Change The Fn Key
Linux has supported the Apple Magic Keyboards since 2018 handling the Bluetooth connectivity and also needing some special handling for the numeric keypad. While that normally would be the end of the story, recent firmware updates to the Apple Magic Keyboard have caused problems.

And the most popular featured articles:

Linux 5.6 Is The Most Exciting Kernel In Years With So Many New Features
The Linux 5.6 merge window is anticipated to be ending today followed by the Linux 5.6-rc1 test release. This kernel is simply huge: there is so many new and improved features with this particular release that it's mind-boggling. I'm having difficulty remembering such a time a kernel release was so large.

Windows vs. Linux Scaling Performance From 16 To 128 Threads With AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X
As has been known for a while now, AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors really show their true potential on Linux with often significant increases to the performance thanks to the kernel's better scalability compared to Microsoft Windows. While Microsoft has made some improvements in this area over the past year, with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-core / 128-thread HEDT processor it really shines on Linux. In this article are benchmarks of Windows 10 Professional and Windows 10 Enterprise against Linux on the Threadripper 3990X when going from 16 cores to 128 threads for seeing how the three operating systems are scaling.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X Offers Incredible Linux Performance
If you are looking for the absolute best single-socket workstation performance for Linux, there has already been the Threadripper 3970X that easily outperforms the likes of the Core i9 10980XE as Intel's top-end HEDT product, but now the Threadripper 3990X is shipping. The Threadripper 3990X is AMD's first 64-core / 128-thread desktop/workstation processor and will love your multi-threaded workloads from code compilation to content creation. As shown in our benchmarks, this single CPU is indeed faster than $20k worth of Intel Xeon Platinum CPUs.

Even With A $199 Laptop, Clear Linux Can Offer Superior Performance To Fedora Or Ubuntu
The latest in our benchmarking fun with the $199+ Motile M141 laptop is seeing how well Intel's Clear Linux performs on it in relation to Ubuntu and Fedora.

FreeBSD vs. Linux Scaling Up To 128 Threads With The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X
Last week I looked at the Windows vs. Linux scaling performance on the Threadripper 3990X at varying core/thread counts followed by looking at the Windows 10 performance against eight Linux distributions for this $3990 USD processor running within the System76 Thelio Major workstation. Now the tables have turned for our first look at this 64-core / 128-thread processor running on the BSDs, FreeBSD 12.1 in particular. With this article is looking at the FreeBSD 12.1 performance and seeing how the performance scales compared to Ubuntu 20.04 Linux and the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 based CentOS Stream.

Making The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X Run Even Faster - By Loading Up Intel's Clear Linux
One of the interesting takeaways from my pre-launch briefing with AMD on the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X was AMD representatives actually recommending Clear Linux for use on this 64-core / 128-thread HEDT processor and the platform to which they've found the best performance. Yet, Clear Linux is an Intel open-source project. In any case, here are benchmarks of how Clear Linux performs against other Linux distributions on the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X within the System76 Thelio Major. And, holy crap, with the Threadripper 3990X on Clear Linux I managed to build the x86_64 default Linux kernel in under 20 seconds!

Windows 10 vs. Eight Linux Distributions On The Threadripper 3970X
Motivated by last week's Windows vs. Linux benchmarks with the 128-thread AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X here are Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise benchmarks on the 32-core / 64-thread AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X up against eight Linux distributions.

The $199 Motile M141 With AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Offers Surprisingly Decent Performance
Last week we published benchmarks of the Motile M141, Walmart's private-label tech branch, and the M141 being a Ryzen 3 3200U powered laptop that has been retailing for just $199 USD. In those initial benchmarks was an extensive look at the Windows vs. Linux performance while this article today is looking at the performance of this AMD Ryzen 3 laptop against a number of old and new Intel laptops, all tested using a daily snapshot of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

Ubuntu 20.04 + Linux 5.5: Fresh Benchmarks Of AMD EPYC Rome vs. Intel Xeon Cascade Lake
Here are some fresh numbers looking at the current performance of various AMD EPYC 7002 "Rome" processors up against Intel Xeon Cascade Lake processors when using an Ubuntu 20.04 LTS development snapshot and also upgrading to Linux 5.5 as the latest stable kernel. Beyond raw performance, power efficiency and performance-per-dollar for these different server CPUs are being compared as well for these sub-$5000 processors.

Firefox 72 vs. Chrome 80 Browser Performance On Ubuntu Linux With AMD Ryzen
Given this week's release of Google Chrome 80, here are fresh benchmarks of Chrome 80 against Firefox 72 on Linux plus also a run with Firefox's WebRender option being enabled. This round of tests was under an Ubuntu 20.04 snapshot with AMD Ryzen processor and AMD Radeon VII graphics.
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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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