AMD Ryzen 9 7950X "Zen 4" Rocks On Intel's Clear Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 14 October 2022. Page 1 of 6. 49 Comments

This shouldn't be too surprising to long-time Phoronix readers, but Intel's performance-optimized Clear Linux operating system is yielding great performance with AMD Ryzen 7000 series "Zen 4" processors. Intel's Clear Linux has long shipped HWCAPS support and tuning for AVX-512 and the like to be able to provide optimized libraries when running on their own AVX-512 processors. But with AMD now joining the AVX-512 party -- and Zen 4's AVX-512 implementation performing great -- Intel's Clear Linux distribution is showing leading performance numbers on these new AMD desktop processors.

Intel's Clear Linux has been focused on delivering the maximum Linux performance for Intel x86_64 hardware. Their optimizations have gone beyond just the basics like defaulting to the P-State performance governor for desktop/server processors and aggressive default CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS to more intensive optimizations like making use of glibc HWCAPS, kernel tuning and tuning of other key packages, carrying various patches at times to optimize for better performance, backporting some kernel features early, and various AVX/AVX-512 optimizations given Intel has long been employing AVX-512 on their Xeon processors. But at the same time Intel hasn't done anything to impair the ability to run AMD platforms with Clear Linux -- in fact, with prior generations Clear Linux has shown to be the fastest distribution for x86_64 hardware and not just with Intel platforms.

With the AMD Ryzen 7000 series now sporting AVX-512, the gains with Clear Linux are even more pronounced. The latest rolling-release Clear Linux was running fine with my primary Zen 4 desktop configuration: the flagship AMD Ryzen 7 7950X with ASUS CROSSHAIR X670E HERO motherboard and 2 x 16GB DDR5-6000 memory.

Following the recent Windows 11 vs. Ubuntu Linux benchmarks the next step of that plan was checking out how Intel's Clear Linux performs in the mix against Windows 11 and the various Ubuntu configurations benchmarked. Clear Linux 37420 was used as the latest release when tested on 10 October. Clear Linux was running with the Linux 6.0 kernel, GCC 12.2.1 compiler. EXT4 by default, and the various other latest-versioned packages.


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