Here Is My Linux 4.5-rc3 Kernel Spin With AMDGPU PowerPlay & CIK Enabled
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 8 February 2016 at 07:28 PM EST. 10 Comments
With the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA still not enabling the experimental AMDGPU PowerPlay or CIK (Sea Islands / GCN 1.1) support in their kernel builds (although they basically are both off by default at runtime), here is my spin of the newly-released Linux 4.5-rc3 kernel with these features turned on.

With Linux 4.5-rc3 having some notable AMDGPU fixes, I spun a new kernel locally for my benchmarking of it and have again made it public for the lack of an easy Ubuntu kernel exposing these options. For using the AMDGPU PowerPlay feature on a supported GPU, you still need to boot your kernel with amdgpu.powerplay=1 as the feature isn't otherwise enabled by default at runtime on Linux 4.5. If wanting to test the AMDGPU CIK experimental support for GCN 1.1 GPUs like the R9 290 series, you need to blacklist the Radeon DRM driver so it won't load before the AMDGPU DRM driver has a chance to tap the card.

If you aren't familiar why the AMDGPU PowerPlay support is critical, you certainly aren't reading enough Phoronix and should check out many of the past PowerPlay articles and benchmarks as this is crucial for getting good open-source performance on GCN 1.2+ GPUs like the R9 285 Tonga and R9 Fury.

You can download this Linux 4.5-rc3 Ubuntu kernel spin with the AMDGPU PP+CIK enabled (aside from those Kconfig options enabled, it's close to a default Ubuntu kernel configuration) over on I'll have more open-source Linux graphics tests from this latest code and Mesa Git on Phoronix in the coming days.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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