AMD's Zen 3 + RDNA2 Products Dominated November Along With The Apple M1

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 December 2020 at 03:53 AM EST. 4 Comments
Another month of the tumultuous year that is 2020 is now in the books... At least in November were several exciting hardware announcements to help pass the time along with the exciting evolution of open-source software.

During November were the launches of the AMD Radeon RX 6800 series graphics cards to much success along with the AMD Ryzen 5000 "Zen 3" processors, both of which generated much immense interest thanks to the open-source support and great Linux performance. There was also the Apple M1 launch that is interesting from the ARM64 performance perspective albeit not yet compatible with bare metal Linux. There was also the continued growth of Proton/VKD3D related efforts to improve Linux gaming, WebP2 going into public development, moving closer to Debian 11, and other exciting Linux software advancements.

Looking ahead to December is yet more exciting hardware to come and many interesting benchmarks already in the works. If you appreciate the daily news and Linux benchmarks on Phoronix, consider showing your support by joining Phoronix Premium for ad-free browsing, multi-page articles on a single page, and other benefits. During the past month on Phoronix were 231 original news articles and another 20 featured articles (Linux hardware reviews / benchmark articles), all written by your's truly. You can also show your support by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

The most popular featured articles during November included:

AMD Radeon RX 6800 Series Linux Performance
Today is the big day: Big Navi is shipping! This also means we can talk at length finally about the Linux support and performance for the Radeon RX 6800 series and how well they perform for Linux gaming. Here is a look at the Linux driver state for these initial RDNA 2 graphics cards and their performance capabilities with the multiple different open-source driver stacks available.

Apple M1 ARM Performance With A 2020 Mac Mini
For those curious about the hardware potential out of Apple's in-house M1 processor powering new Mac Book Pros and Mac Mini, for the past week we have been running benchmarks of this ARM-based processor and have a number of benchmarks to share today looking at how the performance compares to prior Intel-powered Macs along with the Rosetta 2.0 performance for running x86_64 binaries on ARMv8.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X + Ryzen 9 5950X Dominate On Linux
The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and Ryzen 9 5950X are hands-down incredible winners. While processor company marketing claims are sometimes dubious and not necessarily relevant to Linux users and their open-source workloads/software, after testing the Ryzen 9 5900X and 5950X the past several weeks the performance has been incredibly compelling with significant single and multi-threaded performance uplift over Zen 2 and easily thrashing Intel's current desktop offerings with over 200 benchmarks conducted for launch-day.

Benchmarking The Raspberry Pi 400 - A Raspberry Pi Keyboard Computer
The Raspberry Pi Foundation is today announcing a new and unexpected single board computer: the Raspberry Pi 400. It's more of a single-keyboard computer that offers slightly higher performance than the Raspberry Pi 4.

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Linux Performance
Following yesterday's launch-day AMD Ryzen 9 5900X/5950X benchmarks that showed the utter domination of Zen 3 carrying over just fine in the Linux realm, today we are looking at the performance of the Ryzen 5 5600X on Ubuntu against other Intel/AMD processors. The Ryzen 5 5600X is AMD's new $299 USD part that offers six cores / twelve threads and incredible uplift still over Zen 2 / Zen+ processors while outperforming Intel's Comet Lake competition.

Radeon RX 6800 Series Has Excellent ROCm-Based OpenCL Performance On Linux
While Radeon Open eCosystem (ROCm) support wasn't a focus for the initial Radeon RX 5000 "Navi" graphics cards by AMD engineers, that is fortunately changing for both the RX 5000/6000 series moving forward. With the Radeon RX 6800 series there is at-launch support available with working OpenCL provided by the "ROCr" (runtime) path in their packaged driver. Now that we have looked at the Radeon RX 6800 Linux gaming performance here are some initial OpenCL compute benchmarks between NVIDIA and AMD Radeon on Linux.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X Linux Performance
Over the past week we have looked at the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X/5950X Linux performance as well as that of the lower-end -- but still very powerful -- Ryzen 5 5600X. Today we are striking in the middle in looking at the last Zen 3 CPU model for the moment: the Ryzen 7 5800X. The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is a $449 USD processor that is packing eight cores / sixteen threads, a 3.8GHz base clock. 4.7GHz boost clock, 32MB L3 cache, and has a 105 Watt TDP.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X/5950X Linux Gaming Performance
After just publishing the results of 200+ Linux benchmarks under many diverse workloads for the Ryzen 9 5900X and Ryzen 9 5950X we see the 16~20% performance lift is very real and very broad from obscure open-source niche software through high profile programs... What about the Linux gaming performance? This article offers a first look at the Ryzen 9 5900X/5950X Linux gaming performance compared to Zen 2 and the Core i9 10900K while being the first of several Linux gaming performance articles coming out this month.

Radeon RX 6800 Series Performance Comes Out Even Faster With Newest Linux Code
Last week we delivered AMD Radeon RX 6800 / RX 6800 XT Linux benchmarks and the performance was great both for Linux gaming as well as the OpenCL compute performance. But for as good as those Big Navi numbers were on the open-source Linux graphics driver stack, they are now even better.

Tiger Lake + Renoir On Ubuntu Linux For Battery vs. AC Performance
Given the recent Intel presentation alleging AMD Ryzen laptop performance being worse on battery relative to the AC vs. battery performance seen with Intel EVO notebooks featuring Tiger Lake processors, I ran a mini comparison on my side to see whether there is any merit to Intel's information when testing under Ubuntu Linux.

And the most popular news:

Valve Is Working On Another Extension To Help In Direct3D-Over-Vulkan
Valve's open-source developers responsible for DXVK and VKD3D-Proton are working on a new Vulkan extension to help in their porting/layering effort of Direct3D on top of the Vulkan API.

Google Publishes Latest Linux Core Scheduling Patches So Only Trusted Tasks Share A Core
Google engineer Joel Fernandes sent out the ninth version of their "core scheduling" patches for the Linux kernel that allows for allowing only trusted tasks to run concurrently on the same CPU core -- in cases where Hyper Threading is involved to safeguard the system against the possible security exploits.

Dell Adding Hardware Privacy Driver For Linux
Beginning in Dell's 2021 laptop models they are providing hardware-based "privacy buttons" to disable microphone and camera support. In preparations for more Dell laptops coming to market with these buttons, a Dell privacy driver is being prepared for the Linux kernel.

Linux's Stateless H.264 Decode Interface Ready To Be Deemed Stable
The Linux kernel's stateless video decoder interface is used for video decoding where no state needs to be kept between processed video frames and allows for independently decoding each video frame. The H.264 stateless decode interface for the Linux kernel has been in the works for a few years and is now deemed ready and stable for dealing with modern stateless codecs.

X11 Library Sees Lots Of Fixes With libX11 1.7 Release
It's been seven years since the release of libX11 1.6.0 for this central X11 library while on Friday was replaced by the libX11 1.7 series. The release is primarily made up of fixes but leading to the version bump is a new API that allows for applications to recover from I/O error conditions rather than being forced to exit.

Fedora Developers Discuss Retiring NTP, Deprecating SCP Protocol
Following the successful shipping of Fedora 33, Red Hat developers have begun proposing more changes for future Fedora releases.

"Project X" - Pure Open-Source Coreboot Support On AMD Zen
Not only are AMD Ryzen 5000 series completely dominating in performance but they could soon see open-source Coreboot support as an alternative to the proprietary firmware/BIOS. Project X is an interesting effort around blob-free Coreboot/Oreboot support on AMD Zen.

C++20 Modules Compiler Code Under Review, Could Still Land For GCC 11
With C++20 one of the major features added is that of modules as a modern alternative to that of conventional C++ header files for packages. The C++20 modules code for the GNU Compiler Collection that has been in the works for several years is now under review and could potentially still land for the GCC 11 release next year.

Intel's Abandoned "Many Integrated Core" Architecture Being Removed With Linux 5.10
While Linux 5.10-rc2 is coming later today and a week past the merge window, a notable late pull request sent in this morning by Greg Kroah-Hartman is removing the Intel MIC (Many Integrated Core) architecture drivers, a.k.a. Xeon Phi.

We Have Been Testing The Radeon RX 6800 Series On Linux
But can't tell you yet how it performs...

Google Is Already Experimenting With WebP2 As Successor To WebP Image Format
Google engineers are already working on WebP2 as the next-generation version of their still image file format.

Qt 6.0 Beta 4 Released
For those on the Qt 5.12 LTS series the Qt 5.12.10 point release is out today with 30 new bug fixes. But for those looking ahead to Qt 6 also out today is Qt 6.0 Beta 4.

IO_uring Passthrough For KVM Guests Is Yielding Fantastic Results
At the Linux Foundation's KVM Forum 2020 this week, Stefano Garzarella of Red Hat presented on the possibility of speeding up virtual machine I/O performance by sharing the host's IO_uring queues with guests. In doing so the virtual machines have near bare-metal performance with the proposed patches.

Experimental Linux Patches Allow User-Space Peer-To-Peer DMA Between NVMe Drives
A set of Linux kernel patches posted on friday allow peer-to-peer DMA (P2PDMA) transfers between NVMe drives using existing O_DIRECT operations or the NVMe pass-through interface from user-space.

Airlie: "Why Sharing Code With Windows Isn't Always A Win"
Following the news today of Intel sharing ~60% of their GPU driver code-base between Windows and Linux and working to bring the Intel Graphics Compiler (IGC) to Mesa in 2021, not everyone is enthusiastic about those prospects.

Debian 11 Picks Its Default Theme
For those wondering the outcome of last month's Debian 11 "Bullseye" artwork voting, a new default theme for this 2021 GNU/Linux distribution release has been decided.

Apple Releases M1-Powered Apple Silicon Macs, macOS Big Sur Releasing This Week
As was widely expected for today's Apple event, the Cupertino company just announced their first three Macs powered by Apple Silicon.

GNOME Work Moving Ahead On Deep Color Support, Triple Buffering
It's been a while since having any major break-through changes to talk about for GNOME contributed by Canonical's prolific developer Daniel Van Vugt, but he's been at the grind making progress on some big ticket items.

Proton 5.13-2 Released With A Variety Of Game Fixes, VKD3D-Proton 2.0
In time for the weekend Linux gamers is an updated Proton release from Valve and CodeWeavers for powering Steam Play to enjoy the latest Windows games on Linux.

Vulkan 1.2.162 Released With Ray-Tracing Support Promoted
Earlier this year Vulkan ray-tracing arrived in provisional form while with today's Vulkan 1.2.162 specification update this functionality has been promoted to stable and ready for broad industry support.
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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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