The 11 Most Interesting Features For Linux 5.11 - Lots For AMD + Intel This Cycle
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 12 February 2021 at 07:24 AM EST. 5 Comments
LINUX KERNEL --
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.

Linux 5.11 has many features / new hardware enablement from both AMD and Intel, new features like S.U.D. for helping out with Linux gaming, networking enhancements, and more. Below is a look at the eleven most interesting changes to find with the imminent Linux 5.11 release.

- Intel Integer Scaling (IS) graphics support most notable for pixel art type games. The Intel Windows driver has supported it for a while but now the Linux driver has finally enabled it after having a user-space user of it (Kodi with its retro gaming support).

- Intel async page flipping support as another open-source graphics performance optimization albeit long overdue for it getting flipped on.

- Initial support for AMD Green Sardine and Van Gogh APUs as forthcoming products. There is also support for Dimgrey Cavefish as another Radeon RX 6000 series GPU that is yet to be released. For current Radeon RX 6800/6900 "Sienna Cichlid" hardware there are performance improvements.

- Better AMD performance with Schedutil... After the frequency invariance performance regression was fixed just this week, the regression is not only addressed but for many workloads now better off than where it was on Linux 5.10 or prior. I have some more AMD Linux 5.11 benchmarks coming out today.

- Nouveau KMS for NVIDIA GA100 / GeForce RTX 3000 series "Ampere". This is just the kernel mode-setting / display support and no 3D acceleration. So at least the display should be lighting up well to allow you to continue to NVIDIA's website to install the proprietary driver until the open-source Nouveau driver has complete Ampere support in a later kernel version.

- New ARM hardware support including OUYA game console support for that once popular NVIDIA Tegra powered console.

- Btrfs performance improvements.

- Intel WiFi 6GHz band support for WiFi 6E within the common IWLWIFI driver. (Meanwhile Intel's WiMAX support was finally demoted with Linux 5.11.)

- USB4 and Thunderbolt support improvements including support for Intel Maple Ridge as the company's first discrete Thunderbolt 4 controller.

- Sound support for Intel Alder Lake along with other Alder Lake device IDs and additions for that interesting Intel platform debuting later this year.

- Syscall User Dispatch as important for Wine / Windows gaming on Linux with Steam Play (Proton / Wine). The initial motivation is about intercepting system calls made by some Windows programs under Wine so they can be easily intercepted with low overhead. This stems from some newer Windows games trying to bypass the Windows API in the name of copy protection schemes.

See our complete Linux 5.11 feature overview for more details on this first major kernel release of 2021. If all goes well the Linux 5.11 stable kernel will be out on Sunday, Valentine's Day.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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