Here’s everything AMD has in store for Linux 6.3.
Updated: 20 February 2023 at 11.43
With the stable version of Linux 6.3 being released in April, there’s a lot to be excited about if you own an AMD CPU or GPU. AMD has many optimizations and improvements for the hardware that are rolled out in Kernel version 6.3. Here are the new AMD CPU and GPU features ready for Linux 6.3
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AMD’s new feature code is expected to land for Linux in the next few weeks for kernel version 6.3, introducing a slew of new features. All of this will greatly benefit AMD’s latest hardware when running Linux.
Let’s get into some of the features that AMD will be implementing in Linux 6.3
New AMD features for Linux 6.3
This information comes to us courtesy of Phoronix.com, where Micheal Larabel notes the features he’s discovered will land under the Linux 6.3 merge window. Features include:
AMD Automatic IBRS
AMD Automatic IBRS is a feature in AMD processors that improves security by automatically enabling the Indirect Branch Restricted Speculation (IBRS) mitigation technique. IBRS is a security mechanism that helps prevent Specter variant 2 attacks by limiting the processor’s ability to speculate on indirect branches.
The update allows for less expensive Specter V2 reductions to further enhance the performance of AMD Zen 4 processors.
AMD P-State EPP
The introduction of AMD’s P-State EPP is aimed at improving both performance and power efficiency in modern AMD desktops, laptops and servers. This new feature provides support for the Energy Performance Preference (EPP) mode. This goes beyond the capabilities of the default amd_pstate driver already present in the mainline kernel.
Incorporating this feature may address some of the deficiencies currently observed in the AMD P-State CPU frequency scaling driver code. In combination with the Auto IBRS feature, which improves system security, the addition of AMD P-State EPP makes the Linux 6.3 release very promising from a performance point of view.
Support for Microsoft’s Pluton CRB TPM2
To increase the security of devices, Microsoft developed Pluton CRB TPM2. Pluton is an integrated security processor that provides a hardware-based root of trust for Windows PCs and other devices.
Now Pluton CRB TPM2 is available under Linux, as the feature is built into Zen 4 CPUs.
Better support for AMD Graphics drivers
For users using new hardware, there may be cases where the core driver does not have the required GPU support or the required GPU firmware binaries. In such cases, the use of this feature can be very useful, especially for early adopters of Radeon graphics cards on future hardware, or for users who are upgrading to a new kernel but have not yet updated the linux-firmware.git binaries.
By taking advantage of this feature, users can avoid potential compatibility issues and ensure that their hardware is working properly. As this is particularly relevant to your RDNA3 hardware. Many users may experience challenges with the availability of necessary firmware and driver support. Overall, this feature provides an effective solution to resolve compatibility issues and ensures a smooth user experience.
AMDGPU PCIe information
AMD’s AMDGPU driver has been updated to expose additional PCIe information to the user space.
The Radeon Mesa drivers can be used to optimize buffer placement and other functions through the new uAPI.
This new update allows the Radeon Mesa drivers to take advantage of the additional PCIe information and use it to improve the overall performance of the graphics system. This means, with better buffer placement, the Radeon Mesa drivers can minimize latency and optimize throughput, leading to a more responsive and efficient graphics rendering process.
The updated AMDGPU driver and the new uAPI provide more fine-grained control over the graphics system. This provides optimal utilization of hardware resources and better performance for the end user. Overall, the updated AMDGPU driver and uAPI represent a significant improvement to the graphics stack and can bring significant benefits to users.
AMD SMBA and BMEC QoS
AMD’s Slow Memory Bandwidth Allocation (SMBA) and Bandwidth Monitoring Event Configuration (BMEC) are implemented. These are available for Zen 4 server processors and will be available for use on the mainline core.
The SMBA feature provides improved control over memory bandwidth allocation. This enables server administrators to prioritize critical workloads and applications that require fast access to memory. Meanwhile, the BMEC feature allows more precise monitoring of memory bandwidth usage. Also enables administrators to identify potential performance bottlenecks and take corrective action.
With the implementation of these QoS features, server administrators can manage and optimize the memory bandwidth of their systems more efficiently. This results in better overall system performance and resource utilization. The inclusion of these features in the mainline kernel provides a robust and reliable solution to address memory bandwidth management issues.
Aside from a few more power-saving perks included in the new GPU drivers, that’s about it. Thanks to Micheal for revealing all this information and giving us an insight into AMD’s next version of Linux.
Looking forward to the efficiency and power AMD can bring to Linux when properly implemented, we are taking steps towards Linux being as functional, if not more, than Windows. Here, all the new AMD CPU and GPU features were ready for Linux 6.3.