The Most Exciting AMD Linux / Open-Source News Of 2021

Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 29 December 2021 at 05:28 AM EST. 1 Comment
As part of our various year-end articles, here is a look back at the most popular AMD Linux/open-source news of the year with the many milestones they achieved in ramping up their support both for desktop/mobile and server hardware and continued successes when it comes to their open-source Radeon graphics driver stack.

Below is a look at the twenty most popular AMD open-source/Linux news stories on Phoronix for the year. This is just looking at our original news items and not the hardware reviews or other comparison benchmark articles. AMD this year published their new CPU frequency scaling driver that has been working its way to mainline, they have been ramping up their Linux talent at the company, they squared away their Zen 3 support and have been making early preparations for Zen 4, and their GPU software efforts remain very active from the AMDGPU kernel driver and Mesa to their ROCm software efforts.

What do you hope to see out of AMD on Linux in 2022? Let us know in the forums but for now below is a look at the most popular AMD Linux news items for this year.

AMD + Valve Working On New Linux CPU Performance Scaling Design
Along with other optimizations to benefit the Steam Deck, AMD and Valve have been jointly working on CPU frequency/power scaling improvements to enhance the Steam Play gaming experience on modern AMD platforms running Linux.

AMD Is Currently Hiring More Linux Engineers
It looks like thanks to AMD's increasing sales and continuing successes in the enterprise space with more HPC wins and the like, AMD is hiring more Linux engineers. AMD currently has several interesting job openings on the Linux front.

Linux 5.15 Is A Very Exciting Kernel For AMD
While working on my usual Linux kernel feature overview that summarizes the many articles over the past two weeks outlining all of the new features and changes merged, one area that particularly stands out for Linux 5.15 are all of AMD's upstream contributions that happened to make it in this kernel. There is a lot of new enablement on the AMD side -- both for CPUs and Radeon graphics -- but also improving existing hardware support.

Linux Achieves 5.1M IOPS Per-Core With AMD Zen 3 + Intel Optane
Linux kernel developers have been working tirelessly to squeeze more performance out of IO_uring and the block / I/O code in general. IO_uring lead developer Jens Axboe who also serves as the Linux block subsystem's maintainer (among other roles and major contributions over the years) has used his system as a baseline for evaluating such kernel improvements. He's now moved to using AMD Zen 3 while sticking to Intel Optane storage and is seeing a mighty speed boost out of AMD's latest processors.

Minecraft Now 30% Faster With Open-Source AMD Radeon Driver On Linux
Those using the open-source AMD Radeon OpenGL driver "RadeonSI" on Linux the performance within the popular Minecraft game is about to be a lot better.

Linux To No Longer Enable AMD SME Usage By Default Due To Problems With Some Hardware
Being sent in as a fix for the Linux 5.15 kernel this morning and to be back-ported to existing stable series is a behavior change that the Linux kernel will no longer use AMD Secure Memory Encryption (SME) by default on supported hardware but rather making it now opt-in due to shortcomings of some platforms.

AMD Ryzen 5000 Temperature Monitoring Support Sent In For Linux 5.12
Due to an unfortunate misalignment of the Ryzen 5000 series launch and the Linux kernel cycles, CPU temperature monitoring for Ryzen 5000 (Zen 3) desktop CPUs isn't landing until now with the Linux 5.12 kernel cycle.

Linux Prepares For Next-Gen AMD CPUs With Up To 12 CCDs
The latest Linux kernel patches confirm that next-gen AMD Zen processors are capable of featuring up to twelve CCDs.

Radeon Linux Driver Has A Huge Optimization Two Decades Later For ATI R300~R500 GPUs
While earlier this year AMD dropped pre-Polaris support from their mainline Radeon Software Windows driver, under Linux with open-source software older GPUs can live on much longer with superior driver support... Pending for Mesa 22.0 and as a surprise Christmas gift for those with nearly two decade old GPUs, a big optimization is pending for those with ATI Radeon R300/R400/R500 series graphics cards still in operation.

AMD Publishes Open-Source "GPUFORT" As Newest Effort To Help Transition Away From CUDA
I've just been informed by AMD that they have now made their code public to a new project called GPUFORT. This new GPUFORT project will live under the Radeon Open eCosystem (ROCm) umbrella and is their latest endeavor in helping developers with large CUDA code-bases transition away from NVIDIA's closed ecosystem.

AMD Hiring For Open-Source GPU Driver Work With Mentions Of Tesla Model S, Steam Deck
With AMD's increasing marketshare on the CPU and GPU front, scoring more data center wins, and also scoring custom design wins for Linux-based environments such as with the Tesla Model S and most recently with the Steam Deck, AMD continues hiring more Linux engineers.

AMD Posts New "AMD-PSTATE" CPUFreq Driver Leveraging CPPC For Better Perf-Per-Watt
At last! AMD has posted the Linux kernel driver patches for their new "AMD-PSTATE" driver! This driver with modern AMD Zen CPUs (initially limited to Zen 3) to achieve greater performance per Watt / power efficiency on Linux than the conventional ACPI CPUFreq driver.

An Early Look At The GCC 12 Compiler Performance On AMD Zen 3
GCC 12 isn't seeing its stable release until around March~April as usual, but with feature development slowly wrapping up as approaching the next stage of development next month to focus on fixes, recently I wrapped up some preliminary benchmarks for how GCC 12.0 is currently performing against GCC 11.2 on an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X (Zen 3) system.

Radeon Vulkan Driver Adds Option Of Rendering Less For ~30% Greater Performance
If your current Vulkan-based Radeon Linux gaming performance isn't cutting it and a new GPU is out of your budget or you have been unable to find a desired GPU upgrade in stock, the Mesa RADV driver has added an option likely of interest to you... Well, at least moving forward with this feature being limited to RDNA2 GPUs for now.

Valve Announces Steam Deck As Portable SteamOS + AMD Powered Portable PC
Following months of rumors about new gaming hardware from Valve, today they announced Steam Deck as a new handheld PC gaming device starting at $399.

The 11 Most Interesting Features For Linux 5.11 - Lots For AMD + Intel This Cycle
Linux 5.11 stable is expected to be released on Sunday barring any second thoughts by Linus Torvalds that could lead to an eighth weekly release candidate that would in turn push the official release back by one week. In any case, Linux 5.11 will be formally out soon and it's an exciting one on the feature front.

AMD FreeSync HDMI Patch Appearing For Their Open-Source Linux Driver
While the AMD Linux graphics driver for some time has been supporting FreeSync over DisplayPort connections, FreeSync displays connected via HDMI have not been supported. But now we are finally seeing the start of patches at least as far as HDMI pre-v2.1 support is concerned.

A Prominent, Longtime Dell Linux Engineer Recently Joined AMD's Linux Team
Here should hopefully be a great indication about AMD's Linux efforts moving forward with one of their recent and exciting hires at the company.

AMD Proposing Redesign For How Linux GPU Drivers Work - Explicit Fences Everywhere
Well known open-source AMD Linux graphics driver developer Marek Olšák published an initial proposal this week as "a redesign of how Linux graphics drivers work."

AMD To Optimize C3 Entry On Linux By Finally Skipping The Cache Flush
A minor optimization was posted by an AMD engineer on Wednesday for the Linux kernel.

AMD still has room to improve with their Linux support particularly around the robustness of their upstream support at launch and cases like SEV-SNP support still not being yet fully upstream after the March EPYC 7003 launch or ACPI CPPC having been around since Zen 2 but only now getting to supporting it on Linux with amd-pstate, etc, but nevertheless it's been a great year of progress for AMD on the open-source side. We're also still holding out hope for more open-source system firmware efforts ahead.
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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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