Fedora Developers Discuss Raising Base Requirement To AVX2 CPU Support

Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora on 23 July 2019 at 12:00 AM EDT. 176 Comments
An early change being talked about for Fedora 32, due out in the spring of next year, is raising the x86_64 CPU requirements for running Fedora Linux. When initially hearing of this plan, the goal is even more ambitious than I was initially thinking: AVX2.

A feature proposal for Fedora 32 would raise the x86_64 base-line for their compiler builds to needing AVX2. Advanced Vector Extensions 2 is Intel Haswell and newer or AMD Ryzen and newer. This came as quite a surprise even to myself that Fedora is planning to jump straight from their existing AMD K8 baseline to now AVX2-supportive CPUs.

Of course, their plan to deprecate all these pre-AVX2 CPUs is being done in the name of better performance and also potential power savings with optimizing their x86_64 CPUs for these newer CPUs.

Fedora 32 and above could end up requiring Intel Haswell CPUs or newer, those supporting AVX2.

Beyond enabling their builds for AVX2 by default, as part of this proposal they are also looking at requiring CMPXCHG16B and FMA extensions.

Already on their mailing list in response to this proposal is a lot of arguments against jumping to an AVX2 requirement. While I personally would love to see this happen due to the performance gains when the entire Fedora package collection can be optimized for AVX2, I would be quite surprised if the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee ends up approving this change for Fedora 32. Perhaps though they can stave it off for Fedora 33 to give pre-AVX2 CPU owners more notice to upgrade. We'll see.
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