Raspberry Pi 5, Steam Deck & New AMD CPUs Dominated Q3

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 30 September 2023 at 01:00 PM EDT. Add A Comment
During the third quarter on Phoronix were 689 original Linux/open-source news articles and another 50 Linux hardware reviews / benchmark articles. Here's a look back at what excited Linux enthusiasts this quarter.

From new AMD processors to Steam Deck advancements with SteamOS 3.5 on the horizon, new Linux kernel happenings, and the launch of the Raspberry Pi 5, it's been an exciting quarter for the open-source/Linux crowd. Below is a look back at the highlights for the quarter. Also as one last reminder, the Phoronix Premium Oktoberfest sale ends today for those interested in supporting my Linux testing operations and news coverage.

Here were the most popular featured articles for the quarter:

Raspberry Pi 5 Benchmarks: Significantly Better Performance, Improved I/O
After a difficult few years of global supply chain woes leading to limited available and heightened retail pricing on the Raspberry Pi single board computers, today there is finally an update to the family. Four years after the Raspberry Pi 4 shipped, today the Raspberry Pi 5 is launching with a much improved SoC leading to significant performance gains. Additional improvements with the Raspberry Pi 5 make this a very nice generational upgrade.

Apple M2 On Linux Performance Against AMD Zen 4 Mobile SoCs
The most common request from my recent ROG Ally benchmarking with the Ryzen Z1 SoC and also the Ryzen 7 7840U laptop SoC testing has been wanting to know how these Zen 4 mobile processors compete with Apple's M2 on Linux. Well, for those curious, here are some initial performance figures of the Apple M2 in a MacBook Air running Asahi Linux up against the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme and Ryzen 7 7840U SoCs on Linux.

AMD Ryzen 7 7840U Performance Benchmarks On Linux: Great Uplift For Zen 4 Laptops
For weeks and weeks I've been eager to see how well the new AMD Zen 4 based "Phoenix" laptop SoCs function and perform under Linux. Recently I finally found an interesting AMD Ryzen 7 7840U laptop to test and today have some initial Linux benchmarks to share from this Acer Swift Edge 16 laptop with Ryzen 7 7840U SoC and a 3.2K 120Hz OLED display, among other interesting specs.

Benchmarking The Performance Impact To AMD Inception Mitigations
Last week the AMD Inception vulnerability was made public as a speculative side channel attack affecting Zen processors and different mitigation options based on the CPU generation. There wasn't too much communication around the performance implications of mitigating Inception while over the past week I have begun benchmarking the software and microcode updates on Ryzen and EPYC processors.

Initial Benchmarks Of The Intel Downfall Mitigation Performance Impact
With yesterday's disclosure of the Intel Downfall speculative execution vulnerability and the updated CPU microcode and Linux kernel patches I have been very busy testing the performance impact of this mitigation. Here are some initial numbers and workloads I have found to be impacted as a result of this security mitigation for Skylake to Icelake/Tigerlake client and server processors.

AMD EPYC 9754 Benchmarks For The 128-Core Bergamo
In addition to the review embargo lift today for Genoa-X with our AMD EPYC 9684X benchmarks, the lift is also today on the new AMD EPYC "Bergamo" processors for offering up to 128 cores / 256 threads per socket using the new Zen 4C core. In this article is an initial look at the performance provided by the AMD EPYC 9754 128-core processors.

Steam Deck vs. ASUS ROG Ally Arch Linux Gaming Performance
With the ASUS ROG Ally gaming handheld that began shipping last month I've so far looked at the Linux support for this device as well as looking at the Windows 11 vs. Linux gaming performance as well as the Ryzen Z1 Extreme CPU performance. What many Phoronix readers have been most interested in seeing though are the side-by-side benchmarks for Valve's Steam Deck up against the ASUS ROG Ally. Today's benchmarks provide just that comparison plus some CPU benchmarks too.

StarFive VisionFive 2 Quad-Core RISC-V Performance Benchmarks
SiFive's HiFive Unmatched development board was interesting when it began shipping in 2021 with 16GB of RAM and four U74-MC RISC-V cores along with one S7 core. But pricing was rather steep at $665 USD. Fast forward two years, the StarFive VisionFive 2 has begun to enjoy wide availability and for $100+ this RISC-V development board features a quad-core RISC-V processor via the StarFive JH7110 SoC with integrated GPU, up to 8GB of RAM, HDMI 2.0 output, dual Gigabit Ethernet, dual USB 3.0 ports, and more for around $100 USD. Here are some benchmarks of this most interesting RISC-V single board computer in the ~$100 space to be released yet.

SteamOS 3.5 Delivering Some Decent Performance Gains For The Steam Deck
Released late on Friday was the much anticipated SteamOS 3.5 preview for the Steam Deck with ongoing work around HDR and enhancing color management, VRR for external USB-C displays, various platform issues resolved, auto-mounting external storage, and more. With SteamOS 3.5 it also means some lower-level OS upgrades too like moving to the Linux 6.1 LTS kernel. For those wondering about the performance impact of going from SteamOS 3.4 stable to the SteamOS 3.5 preview release, here are some early benchmarks on the Steam Deck.

AMD EPYC 9684X Genoa-X Provides Incredible HPC Performance
Last year AMD launched Milan-X as their first server processors with 3D V-Cache. The performance uplift from the 768MB of L3 cache per socket was phenomenal, but now here we are today with the next-generation successor: Genoa-X. The flagship EPYC 9684X is the new leader for HPC and AI performance as in addition to a 1.1GB L3 cache it leverages AMD's modern Zen 4 micro-architecture with AVX-512, 12 channel DDR5 memory, and other improvements found with existing EPYC 9004 series processors to easily triumph as the new best CPU for high performance computing from CFD and FEA to dozens of other scientific workloads. Here are the first benchmarks of the AMD EPYC 9684X processors.

And the most popular news articles on Phoronix for Q3'2023:

Firefox Finally Outperforming Google Chrome In SunSpider
Mozilla developers are celebrating that they are now faster than Google Chrome with the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, although that test has been superseded by the JetStream benchmark.

Valve Is A Wonderful Upstream Contributor To Linux & The Open-Source Community
This shouldn't come as any surprise to any longtime Phoronix readers and dedicated open-source/Linux enthusiasts, but Valve with their work on the Steam Deck and SteamOS have been lifting the open-source ecosystem as a whole. A talk this week at the Linux Foundation Europe's Open-Source Summit highlighted some of the great and ongoing contributions by Valve and their partners.

Linux 6.6 To Better Protect Against The Illicit Behavior Of NVIDIA's Proprietary Driver
The Linux 6.6 modules infrastructure is changing to better protect against the illicit behavior of NVIDIA's proprietary kernel driver.

The Maintainer Of The NVIDIA Open-Source "Nouveau" Linux Kernel Driver Resigns
Hours after posting a large patch series for enabling the Nouveau kernel driver to use NVIDIA's GSP for improving the support for RTX 20/30 series hardware and finally enabling accelerated graphics support on RTX 40 "Ada Lovelace" GPUs, the Red Hat maintainer has resigned from his duties.

The Current Challenges With Using Linux On Airplanes
Currently most avionics real-time operating systems for airplanes are proprietary and very specialized for safety assurance reasons. Using Linux though and other open-source software would ease development, open more developers to being able to work on said avionics platforms, have much better documentation, and lower other barriers, but there are challenges currently involved.

AMD CPU Use Among Linux Gamers Approaching 70% Marketshare
Besides being curious about the Steam Survey results for indicating the size of the Linux gaming marketshare as an overall percentage, one of the interesting metrics we are curious about each month is the AMD vs. Intel CPU marketshare for Linux gaming. AMD has been on quite an upward trajectory among Linux gamers/enthusiasts in recent years not only for their Radeon graphics cards with their popular open-source driver stack but their Ryzen CPUs have become extremely popular with Linux users. With the new Steam Survey results for June, AMD CPUs are found on nearly 70% of Linux gaming systems polled by Steam.

The Most Prolific Packager For Alpine Linux Is Stepping Away
Alpine Linux remains one of the most popular lightweight Linux distributions built atop musl libc and Busybox. Alpine Linux has found significant use within containers and the embedded space while now sadly the most prolific maintainer of packages for the Linux distribution has decided to step down from her roles.

Linus Torvalds: "Let's Just Disable The Stupid [AMD] fTPM HWRND Thing"
Linux creator Linus Torvalds is growing frustrated with AMD fTPM hardware random number generator bugs on recent Ryzen systems plaguing the kernel and has expressed a desire in disabling its use.

Firefox 115 Now Available With Intel GPU Video Decoding On Linux
Mozilla Firefox 115.0 official builds are now available for this notable update to this open-source web browser while also marking the new Extended Support Release (ESR) series.

Linux Terminal Emulators Have The Potential Of Being Much Faster
Prominent GNOME developer Christian Hergert announced he created a new terminal emulator that is twice as fast as the closest GPU-based renderer he's found yet so far on Linux, which was Alacritty. Unfortunately though he currently doesn't have any plans to develop this experimental speedy terminal emulator any further.

LibreOffice 24.2 Will Succeed LibreOffice 7.6
One nugget of information in the LibreOffice 7.6 release announcement for those who missed it and deserves calling out specifically... Succeeding LibreOffice 7.6 will not be v7.7 or v8.0 but rather v24.2.

Linux 6.5 Last Minute Fixes A Performance Regression - 34% Drop In A Micro-Benchmark
While Linux 6.5 is expected for release tomorrow, the flow of last minute fixes isn't over.

Google Posts Experimental Linux Code For "Device Memory TCP" - Network To/From Accelerator RAM
Google engineers have published early code around "Device Memory TCP" (a.k.a. Devmem TCP) as a proposal for transferring data to/from device memory efficiently by avoiding the need to copy the data to a host memory buffer.

AMD Open-Source GPU Kernel Driver Above 5 Million Lines, Entire Linux Kernel At 34.8 Million
With the in-development Linux 6.6 kernel adding support for more upcoming Radeon graphics processors, that means more auto-generated header files for the new IP blocks... I was curious to see the overall size now of the AMDGPU kernel driver along with its associated code like the AMDKFD compute driver. It's now above 5 million lines for the kernel driver portion.

Intel To Further Collaborate With Red Hat, Canonical & SUSE For Intel-Optimized Linux Distros
Intel announced this morning on the second day of their Innovation 2023 conference that they are collaborating with software vendors such as Red Hat, Canonical, and SUSE for providing Intel-optimized Linux distributions.

GCC Preparing To Introduce "-fhardened" Security Hardening Option
Following discussions among compiler developers and other stakeholders, the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is preparing to add a "-fhardened" compiler option that will enable various hardening features aimed at increasing the security/robustness of the generated binaries.

AlmaLinux No Longer Aims For 1:1 Compatibility With RHEL
With Red Hat now restricting access to the RHEL source repositories, AlmaLinux and other downstreams that have long provided "community" rebuilds of Red Hat Enterprise Linux with 1:1 compatibility to upstream RHEL have been left sorting out what to do.

Bcachefs File-System Plans To Try Again To Land In Linux 6.6
While the Linux 6.5 kernel merge window just ended days ago and there still is two months to go until that stable release, already the lead developer of the Bcachefs file-system is working to get the code merged for Linux 6.6.

Firefox 117 Beta 8 vs. Google Chrome 116 Linux Browser Performance
Given all the interest this week in Firefox outperforming Google Chrome in SunSpider, I decided to run some fresh Linux desktop web browser benchmarks on my end. For today's comparison is a look at the newly-released Chrome 116 up against Firefox 117b8 that will be released as stable in just over one week.

FreeBSD Experimenting With A Port Of NVIDIA's Linux Open DRM Kernel Driver
The new nvidia-drm-kmod is a FreeBSD port of Linux's nvidia-drm.ko open-source kernel module.
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About The Author
Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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