P-State/CPUFreq CPU Frequency Scaling Tests For Radeon/NVIDIA Gaming With Linux 4.16

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 17 April 2018. Page 1 of 6. 13 Comments

With last week's release of Feral GameMode as a system tool to optimize Linux gaming performance, which at this point just toggles the CPU frequency scaling driver's governor to the "performance" mode, reignited the CPU governor debate, here are some fresh Linux gaming benchmarks. Tests were done with both the CPUFreq and P-State scaling drivers on Linux 4.16 while testing the various governor options and using both AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.

This comparison shows how a GeForce GTX 1080 and Radeon RX Vega 64 perform under the different CPU frequency scaling driver/governor options on the Linux 4.16 stable kernel. Tests were done with an Intel Core i7 8700K running at stock speeds throughout the entire benchmarking process.

This testing was done from an Ubuntu 17.10 x86_64 installation while obviously upgrading to the Linux 4.16.1 stable kernel manually. The CPU driver/governor choices include CPUFreq Ondemand (the default for AMD CPUs on Ubuntu), CPUFreq Performance, CPUFreq Powersave, CPUFreq Schedutil, P-State Performance, and P-State Powersave (the default for Intel Sandy Bridge and newer CPUs on Ubuntu). With the GeForce GTX 1080 the NVIDIA 396.18 driver was in use while the Radeon RX Vega 64 was paired with Mesa 18.1-dev Git built against the LLVM 7.0 SVN AMDGPU back-end.

All of these benchmarks were carried out using the Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software, which was also monitoring the AC power use during the benchmarking process with each of the governors tested.

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