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AMD shows off their new CPU frequency control mechanism for Linux

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Currently limited to Zen 3, AMD has revealed their work on a brand new CPU frequency control mechanism "amd-pstate".

What's this for then? Well, it was previously announced that AMD along with Valve were working on it with a talk that was presented during the X.Org Developers Conference 2021. Seems this is it and they're ready to properly introduce it. Announced on the Linux Kernel mailing list from developer Huang Rui:

The new mechanism is based on Collaborative processor performance control (CPPC) which is finer grain frequency management than legacy ACPI hardware P-States. Current AMD CPU platforms are using the ACPI P-states driver to manage CPU frequency and clocks with switching only in 3 P-states. AMD P-States is to replace the ACPI P-states controls, allows a flexible, low-latency interface for the Linux kernel to directly communicate the performance hints to hardware.

"amd-pstate" leverages the Linux kernel governors such as *schedutil*, *ondemand*, etc. to manage the performance hints which are provided by CPPC hardware functionality. The first version for amd-pstate is to support one of the Zen3 processors, and we will support more in future after we verify the hardware and SBIOS functionalities.

There's a bit more of an explanation available in part 19 of the patchset, which goes over plenty more of the technical details if you want the real nitty-gritty.

Great to see AMD continue to advance their processors on Linux. Hopefully this will provide a better overall experience for all workloads, especially gaming. Highly likely this will benefit the likes of the Steam Deck too, which will be using a special Zen 2 AMD APU.

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Tags: AMD, Kernel, Misc
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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bisbyx Sep 9, 2021
Steamdeck is Zen 2. Currently limited to Zen 3. Hopefully they mean it when they say "we will support more in future after we verify the hardware and SBIOS functionalities"
nitro322 Sep 9, 2021
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Yeah, this is good news. Been running Xen processors for a while now on my main desktop, and while I've been overall happy, some stuff like frequency scaling, power management, and overclocking have been a little less mature than I see with Intel. Glad they're engaged with the kernel developers and actively working to improve that. I hope "more in future" means they're going to backport that it to current Xen CPUs and not just apply newer CPU releases.

Thanks for sharing. I like these phoronix-style hardware posts without the clickbait and endless self-referential links. :-)

Last edited by nitro322 on 9 September 2021 at 3:55 pm UTC
Nibelheim Sep 9, 2021
So hype to test it with my 5900X
Koopacabras Sep 10, 2021
my 5600X is soo ready for this. Anyone has a patch for 5.14?
pete910 Sep 11, 2021
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