The 12 Most Interesting Changes Of Linux 5.12 - PS5, N64, Intel VRR, RDNA2 OverDrive

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 15 April 2021 at 06:42 PM EDT. 2 Comments
If all goes well the Linux 5.12 stable kernel will be released this weekend. It's been a fairly calm week so far in Linux 5.12 Git land but if things tick up Linus Torvalds may defer the stable release by one week to allow for an eighth and final release candidate. In any case, Linux 5.12 is packing a lot of exciting changes.

After the Linux 5.12 merge window I wrote a Linux 5.12 feature overview. But for those that didn't see it or recall it from two months ago, here is a look at the top twelve features/changes coming with Linux 5.12 for a quick recap:

- Intel Variable Rate Refresh (VRR) / Adaptive-Sync for Intel Xe Graphics (Gen12) has been mainlined!

- AMD Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards can now be overclocked on Linux via the AMD OverDrive interface with the AMDGPU kernel driver.

- It took until 2021 but... Mainline support for the Nintendo 64 game console. Yes, the N64! Though it's not too practical and we have to wonder how long it will go maintained in the kernel.

- The PlayStation 5 DualSense controller driver being worked on by Sony for the PS5 controller support is now upstream.

- Compute Express Link 2.0 Type-3 Memory Device support has been upstreamed as the initial bits around CXL 2.0 support in the Linux kernel. More to come in future kernels.

- IDMAPPED mounts support was merged in opening up new and interesting use-cases.

- The Kernel Electric Fence (KFence) was merged as an alternative to the Kernel Address Sanitizer (KASAN) for lightweight memory safety error detection.

- Dynamic preemption support was merged that allows for configuring of preemption modes at boot time.

- Clang Link-Time Optimizations (LTO) are now supported when building the Linux kernel with LLVM's Clang compiler. LTO can yield greater performance, smaller binaries, and is also needed for enabling Clang CFI (Control Flow Integrity) kernel support.

- Initial mainline support for the SiFive FU740 SoC and the exciting RISC-V HiFive Unmatched development board. However, this is just the initial bits with more work (like the PCIe controller) coming for Linux 5.13.

- Lenovo Laptop Platform Profile support so with newer ThinkPads and other supported Lenovo devices allows more control over power/performance preferences.

- A lot of spring cleaning from the removal of Intel's MID (Mobile Internet Device) platform to obsolete ARM hardware.

See the Linux 5.12 feature list for more details on these changes and other work that caught my eye for Linux 5.12.
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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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