AMD and Valve are making progress on new CPPC Linux driver for the Steam Deck

nanoguy

Posts: 967   +14
Staff member
In brief: No one really knows when you'll be able to get your hands on a Steam Deck, with shipping dates slipping into the second quarter of 2022. In the meantime, Valve and AMD are working to squeeze more performance out of the Zen 2 SoC inside the new handheld console, as well as improve its energy efficiency.

Valve's upcoming Steam Deck will be able to run Windows 11 for those who want it, but the majority of users will likely stick with the company's own Arch Linux-based SteamOS 3.0, which uses the Proton compatibility layer to run games that don't run natively on Linux.

A good reason to go with the default OS is performance, as Valve has been collaborating with AMD to develop an improved Linux CPU driver that will benefit not only the Steam Deck, but also many full-fledged PCs equipped with Zen 2 Ryzen CPUs and APUs. As we get closer to the official launch, the results of this effort are becoming clear and should lend more credibility to Valve's claims that its handheld console is capable of at least 30 frames per second in pretty much any recent AAA game.

The latest update on the matter comes via a presentation given by AMD's Ray Huang at the X.Org Developer's Conference (XDC 2021) earlier this month. According to Huang, the new AMD P-State driver leverages ACPI Collaborative Processor Performance Controls (CPPC) for better CPU frequency scaling and performance state switching decisions during various workloads. This will replace the existing ACPI CPUFreq driver, which is vintage at this point and isn't able to take advantage of AMD's modern CPU platforms, such as the semi-custom Zen 2 SoC inside the Steam Deck or Zen 3 processors and APUs for laptops and desktops.

Preliminary testing by AMD using an 8-core Ryzen 7 Pro 5750G APU reveals the new driver already enables performance-per-watt improvements of anywhere between 10 to 25 percent, or as much as 26.6 percent using the Gitsource Benchmark.

The company was also able to run Horizon Zero Dawn at 60 frames per second at 1080p with much lower power consumption than what was possible using the CPUFreq driver, which pegs the cores at 3800 MHz. By comparison, the P-State driver allows unused cores to go down to 400 MHz.

AMD is currently working to improve the stability of the new driver and getting it into the official Linux kernel, so we'll have to wait and see how it turns out when the Steam Deck becomes available for the general public. Valve began shipping developer kits last week, but people who pre-ordered the commercial version may not get one until Q2 2022.

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yRaz

Posts: 3,850   +4,029
I'm excited for what this means for Linux adoption. I hate apples business model and just can't stand Microsoft forcing stuff on us. Only reason I boot into windows is when something absolutely won't work in Linux, which is rarely these days. My biggest problem with Linux these days is nVidia's sh*t drivers and can't wait to get an AMD gpu if prices ever normalize

I could sell my 1070ti and use that to subsidize a 6800 down to close to MSRP 🤔
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 767   +572
As much as I hate MS and Windows, I’d rather use it than Linux. I play games on multiple launchers, I use ms office.

Besides my experience of Linux is that it’s quite poor. Apples OS is much more user friendly. I don’t really care much for open source or whatever.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,712   +4,242
As much as I hate MS and Windows, I’d rather use it than Linux. I play games on multiple launchers, I use ms office.
Unless you use macros or some special plugin there's been no need to use actual office over any fo the free alternatives. They all do basic office stuff perfectly well. I dont see a need to pay $200+ or a yearly subscription to write word documents.

The games are a bigger sticking point.

Besides my experience of Linux is that it’s quite poor. Apples OS is much more user friendly. I don’t really care much for open source or whatever.
If you're writing documents, using a web browser, or using steam, there is 0 difference between mac, windows, or PC. It's all running through third party clients. What was the last version of linux you ran that the UI was that big of a deal (and honestly how hard is it to use a start menu)?
 

Adi6293

Posts: 930   +1,306
I'm excited for what this means for Linux adoption. I hate apples business model and just can't stand Microsoft forcing stuff on us. Only reason I boot into windows is when something absolutely won't work in Linux, which is rarely these days. My biggest problem with Linux these days is nVidia's sh*t drivers and can't wait to get an AMD gpu if prices ever normalize

I could sell my 1070ti and use that to subsidize a 6800 down to close to MSRP 🤔

How much is 6800 where you stay and how much does 1070Ti goes for?
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 767   +572
Unless you use macros or some special plugin there's been no need to use actual office over any fo the free alternatives. They all do basic office stuff perfectly well. I dont see a need to pay $200+ or a yearly subscription to write word documents.

The games are a bigger sticking point.


If you're writing documents, using a web browser, or using steam, there is 0 difference between mac, windows, or PC. It's all running through third party clients. What was the last version of linux you ran that the UI was that big of a deal (and honestly how hard is it to use a start menu)?
To be honest I’m just not interested in Linux. The UIs I’ve used are all poor and no better than Windows. On top of this there are so many glitches and bugs to deal with. Linux is good for students as you end up learning a lot of technical stuff.

I’d be much more interested in seeing games companies bringing games to Mac OS than Linux personally. Mac OS is the best OS about at the moment. But that doesn’t say much.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,850   +4,029
How much is 6800 where you stay and how much does 1070Ti goes for?
In my area, the 1070ti is going for 650-700 on Facebook market place with the 6800 going for around $1300. The 6800xt is going for like $1700

To be honest I’m just not interested in Linux. The UIs I’ve used are all poor and no better than Windows. On top of this there are so many glitches and bugs to deal with. Linux is good for students as you end up learning a lot of technical stuff.
.
The cinnamon UI for Linux was literally designed after windows to be friendly to windows users. I'd also be curious as to what bugs and glitches you're talking about
 
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yRaz

Posts: 3,850   +4,029
To be honest I’m just not interested in Linux. The UIs I’ve used are all poor and no better than Windows. On top of this there are so many glitches and bugs to deal with. Linux is good for students as you end up learning a lot of technical stuff.
.
The cinnamon UI for Linux was literally designed after windows to be friendly to windows users. I'd also be curious as to what bugs and glitches you're talking about
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 767   +572
The cinnamon UI for Linux was literally designed after windows to be friendly to windows users. I'd also be curious as to what bugs and glitches you're talking about
If it’s designed like windows then that would be why it’s poor! And are you suggesting that Linux has no bugs and glitches? Because that would be a stonker of a lie. They probably have less issues than Windows but that says very little.

The fact is Linux by itself is a poor solution for the average consumer and will never be mass adopted. And because it will never be mass adopted companies won’t put the effort in for software to work.

Maybe Steam OS will be good for steam games. But personally I would never use that as most of the games I play these days are on Epic or Xbox for windows. Steam has stagnated, they should have pushed steam OS a decade ago before they had any competition.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,850   +4,029
If it’s designed like windows then that would be why it’s poor! And are you suggesting that Linux has no bugs and glitches? Because that would be a stonker of a lie. They probably have less issues than Windows but that says very little.

The fact is Linux by itself is a poor solution for the average consumer and will never be mass adopted. And because it will never be mass adopted companies won’t put the effort in for software to work.

Maybe Steam OS will be good for steam games. But personally I would never use that as most of the games I play these days are on Epic or Xbox for windows. Steam has stagnated, they should have pushed steam OS a decade ago before they had any competition.
Cinnamon UI was designed to make it easy for windows users to transfer over to Linux. I can't help but notice you say it's less flawed than windows. Are you by chance an Apple user?
 

Adi6293

Posts: 930   +1,306
In my area, the 1070ti is going for 650-700 on Facebook market place with the 6800 going for around $1300. The 6800xt is going for like $1700


The cinnamon UI for Linux was literally designed after windows to be friendly to windows users. I'd also be curious as to what bugs and glitches you're talking about

So double the performance for the double the price? 😅 I suppose in this market that's alright....
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 767   +572
Cinnamon UI was designed to make it easy for windows users to transfer over to Linux. I can't help but notice you say it's less flawed than windows. Are you by chance an Apple user?
I use windows on my gaming pc and my personal laptop. But my main compute devices are my iPad and iPhone. I use iOS not really for its ease of use but because it’s very powerful for mobile computing. My iPad has a far easier time than any laptop I’ve used at editing video and is more portable. I’d be tempted by Linux if it had better software support. It has got a lot of software support but always seems to lack the premium options. That’s how Apple get people on Mac OS, it’s not the OS people care about it’s the software they want to run on it.

I’m not terribly surprised that Cinnamon UI is easier to use than windows, windows isn’t all that easy to use. But if someone like my mum were to ask me if she should buy a Linux device or say an iPad I’d definitely recommend the iPad!