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[Solved] Poor Steam Play performance on AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX
LordDaveTheKind commented on 22 October 2019 at 9:18 pm UTC

gurvI'm glad to see you have at least found a way to game with a good framerate.
Good luck taming that monster cpu

Oh just thought about something: you could get a pretty heavy framerate penalty if NVidia's driver thread is not on the same ccx. I think I've seen that happen when fiddling on my Ryzen.
So you may have to try all the ccx pinning possibilities:
taskset -c 8-11,40-43 %command%
taskset -c 12-15,44-47 %command%
(you should fix the ram slots assignment before trying the next two as currently numa node #0 doesn't have direct access to memory)
taskset -c 0-3,32-35 %command%
taskset -c 4-7,36-39 %command%

After a few months (sic) of experiments, I found out that the best performance is on the NUMA Node #2, which has direct access to memory and GPU, hence the best cores affinity statement would be the following:

$ taskset -c 8-15,40-47 %command%

In addition, some games could make an advantage of the Feral Interactive Game Mode tweaks:

$ gamemoderun taskset -c 8-15,40-47 %command%

Furthermore, for some specific games, the kernel might still locate some threads on a different core, if the affine ones are 100% busy. In these cases I wrote a simple script for shutting down all the other cores, which should run before the game process:


case $1 in
"on") cpu_status=1;;
"off") cpu_status=0;;
"-h") echo "Usage: sudo gaming-cores-switch {on|off}" && exit 0 ;;
"--help") echo "Usage: sudo gaming-cores-switch {on|off}" && exit 0 ;;
*) cpu_status=1;;

for i in $(seq 7 && seq 16 39 && seq 48 63) 
echo changing cpu $cpu status to $cpu_status
echo $cpu_status > $cpu

For setting up all the things as clean as possible, I put the script in the /usr/local/bin directory and created a new systemd service (file: /etc/systemd/system/gaming-cores-switch.service):

Description=Manual Switch of CPU Cores for Gaming

ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/gaming-cores-switch off
ExecStop=/usr/local/bin/gaming-cores-switch on


And then used the Services Systemd Gnome Extension for toggling the service from the Gnome DE, with the following configuration:

In the end, the cores enablement will look like a switch on the UI:

Of course a few other solutions can be put in place, but what I like about this one is that it feels exactly like the official AMD Ryzen Master Utility for Windows, even though much more simplified.

Last edited by LordDaveTheKind on 22 October 2019 at 9:22 pm UTC

Avehicle7887 commented on 22 October 2019 at 10:27 pm UTC

$ taskset -c 8-15,40-47 %command%

Am I understanding this correctly, basically here you tell the CPU to use the 8-15 cores and the 40-47 is their corresponding secondary threads?

LordDaveTheKind commented on 23 October 2019 at 8:50 am UTC

$ taskset -c 8-15,40-47 %command%

Am I understanding this correctly, basically here you tell the CPU to use the 8-15 cores and the 40-47 is their corresponding secondary threads?

Correct. According to the cores topology, 40-47 are the virtual secondary cores corresponding to 8-15.

LordDaveTheKind commented on 18 December 2019 at 11:56 pm UTC

LordDaveTheKindThanks to all the people who contributed to this post.
The reason is still not 100% clear for me, though. The fact that Debian comes shipped with a Kernel which can better support my CPU (and provide a better scheduling for it) might be a hypothesis.

Well, it seems I wasn't totally wrong.

Recently I have been experiencing the same poor behaviour after "upgrading" to Debian 10 Buster. I compared the performance with the SteamOS ones (which were still perfect), and decided to perform the following experiment:

  • Copy the SteamOS kernel configuration file in the Debian partition;

  • Compile a custom version of the kernel in Debian with the same configuration file;

  • Deploy and Run it.

With the custom kernel version the result has been awesome: 1440p-60fps at Max quality settings on all the games expected to run on these conditions.

It seems that the cracked code lies in the different kernel configuration files. I'll investigate a little more on their differences in the next days. But I believe I'm going to enjoy some thoughtless and carefree gaming for some time now.


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