A Look At Linux Gaming Performance Scaling On The Threadripper 2950X
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 16 August 2018. Page 1 of 4. 19 Comments

On Monday when the launch embargo expired on the Threadripper 2950X and Threadripper 2990WX I hadn't run any gaming benchmarks since, well, most games even on Windows can't scale out to 32 threads let alone 64 threads... Especially on Linux. It's far more practical getting these Threadripper 2 processors if you want to compile with 32 or 64 make jobs -- among many other common multi-threaded Linux workloads -- versus using this $899 or $1799 processor for a Linux gaming system. But if you are curious how Linux games scale with the Threadripper 2950X, here are some benchmark results when testing both AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics.

For this article I tested the Radeon RX Vega 64 and GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards with the AMD Threadripper 2950X with the MSI MEG X399 CREATION motherboard, 4 x 8GB DDR4-3200 memory, Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSD, and a 4K display. Running on the system was Ubuntu 18.04 LTS x86_64 with the Linux 4.18 Git kernel at the time with the GNOME Shell 3.28.2 desktop, X.Org Server 1.19.6, and using the NVIDIA 396.51 binary driver for the GTX 1080 Ti and Mesa 18.3-dev on the RX Vega 64 side.

With both graphics cards, the Linux OpenGL/Vulkan gaming performance was looked at while running in its stock configuration with all 32 threads exposed, then with 16 threads when disabling SMT via the BIOS. There was then tests done at 8/4/2/1 threads when booting the Linux 4.18 kernel using the maxcpus= kernel parameter for adjusting the number of available CPU cores/threads while SMT remained disabled.

No other changes were made during the testing process besides adjusting the core/thread count and testing both the GTX 1080 Ti and RX Vega 64 while the AMD Threadripper 2950X was running at its stock speeds. A variety of native Linux games were tested using both OpenGL and Vulkan renderers with a mix of settings to try to deliver an accurate/real-world look at the Linux gaming performance with the increasing thread/core counts.

All of these Threadripper Linux gaming benchmarks were carried out using the Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

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