Monday February 27, 2017

AMD's Ryzen Will Really Like a Newer Linux Kernel

I know with the upcoming Ryzen launch, a lot of you have been pre-ordering your CPU's. Here's a little bit of a heads up for those of you who like your alternative flavors of operating systems. One of the weak spots with Linux has always been its support for brand new hardware, and Ryzen appears to be no different.

Phoronix is reporting that for a working SMT topology with Ryzen, you'll likely need a fix included in the 4.10 Kernel, or at least a 4.9.10 kernel with the fix backported into it. As it stands, of the Linux distributions I follow, none of them have as of yet provided anything official newer than the 4.8 Kernel. Not that this is a major problem or anything. Installing a newer kernel outside of the standard repositories is fairly straight forward these days, but it will mess a little bit with the "it just works out of the box" experience many Linux fans have become used to in later years.

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Without that fix, you could be affected by broken SMT scheduling topology. Simultaneous Multi-Threading is one of the new features for AMD Ryzen/Zen and will play a big role. For instance, with the Ryzen 7 CPUs they are 8 cores but 16 threads via SMT. If you care about multi-threaded performance, just make sure you are riding a newer kernel release.