My Favorite Features/Changes Of The Linux 4.5 Kernel

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 8 March 2016 at 08:00 AM EST. 10 Comments
With Linux 4.5 looking like it will release next weekend, here's a look at my favorite features/changes of Linux 4.5

- AMDGPU PowerPlay, AMDGPU PP, AMDGPU re-clocking, or "finally how I can get good performance out of my new Tonga~Fiji graphics cards on open-source." Whatever you want to call it, the AMDGPU driver finally having experimental PowerPlay support is critical for allowing newer GCN 1.2+ graphics cards like the R9 285 "Tonga" and R9 Fury "Fiji" graphics cards to finally perform well. Up until now when using AMDGPU with a discrete GPU, the cards have been limited to their (low) boot frequencies and thus meant very poor performance. Now the future is looking much brighter with AMDGPU PowerPlay support especially as the new Catalyst Linux stack and Vulkan driver require AMDGPU.

- In hopefully making for a smoother launch later this year than the initial Intel Linux graphics troubles when Skylake launched, the Intel DRM driver in Linux 4.5 has initial support for Kabylake. Kabylake is what's coming later this year to fill the space between Skylake and Cannonlake. The Intel Kabylake Linux support will continue to be refined over the next few kernel cycles, but at least the initial code is in place.

- Linux 4.5 has the changes for the Raspberry Pi hardware for supporting open-source 3D / OpenGL ES in conjunction with the VC4 driver stack. The Linux 4.5 VC4 DRM code is what's already been ported to the latest Raspbian release where paired with the VC4 Gallium3D driver there is now a fully open driver stack that is panning out nicely.

- NVIDIA has finally mainlined more Tegra code with Linux 4.5 for supporting the Tegra X1, Denver ARMv8 SoC, Jetson TX1, Tegra Norrin, and other code.

- Better support for the Microsoft Xbox One Controller, which is important to many Linux gamers.

- Continued Linux file-system improvements.

To learn more about the many changes of Linux 4.5, see my The Many New Features & Improvements Of The Linux 4.5 Kernel. There are also the dozens of Linux 4.5 articles covering new features as well as performance benchmarks and more, complementing the daily kernel benchmarks done over at
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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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