A Fresh Look At The Asahi Linux Performance On Apple's M2
Back during the summer once Asahi Linux introduced initial Apple M2 SoC support I ran many Apple M2 Linux benchmarks including a look at how the M2 competes with AMD and Intel laptop processors. With months having passed since then and the Apple M1/M2 Linux support has continued to advance upstream as well as more work hitting the Asahi Linux tree, here is a fresh look at where the performance of the M2 is currently at compared to that initial at-launch support.
Since August there has been Asahi Linux work on USB3 functionality, continued progress on audio -- getting speaker support safe and also getting the headphone jack support working, backlight progress, power management, and more. There also continues to be a great deal of work going into the in-development Apple Silicon graphics driver support both with the Rust-written DRM kernel driver and the AGX Gallium3D driver being developed and the experimental Vulkan code.
The reverse engineering and driver writing efforts for Linux on both the Apple M1 and M2 remain very active. Since the original August testing of Asahi Linux on the Apple M2 MacBook Air, the Arch Linux based Asahi Linux distribution carrying all of the latest patches have moved from Linux 5.19 Git to Linux 6.1 Git, KDE Plasma 5.25 to 5.26, Mesa 22.1 to Mesa 22.2, and many other package updates. GCC 12.1 + LLVM Clang 14.0.6 remain the default compilers on Asahi Linux currently while for performance comparisons the most interesting aspect is the move to the latest Linux 6.1 kernel state and the various kernel patches being carried by Asahi.
After an inquiry from a Phoronix Premium reader asking about how the performance has changed for the M2, on the MacBook Air with Apple M2, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB Apple NVMe SSD I ran some fresh benchmarks comparing the original state benchmarked in August against Asahi Linux with all of its latest updates now from the same MacBook Air.