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Linux 5.16 improves support for Radeon and gaming

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Linus torvalds has announced the launch Linux 5.16. On this occasion, AMDGPU and the support for the execution of Windows video games take the cake, although, as always, there are many things.

Continuing with the above, we begin with the main novelties included in AMDGPU, the driver that started the revolution to allow the standard system stack to compete in power with what is offered by NVIDIA. The driver has received Linux 5.16 support for DisplayPort 2.0, support for renumbering for devices and the foundation for tunneling via USB 4 for processors has been laid Rembrandt.

Second we have the inclusion of Futex 2, a component that should improve the performance of Windows video games run using Wine and Proton. The main part is to improve the performance of a Windows feature, WaitForMultipleObjects, through a system call that has been named ‘sys_futex_waitv’. Despite being focused on Windows video games, the aforementioned system call included in Linux 5.16 can also be used by native games directly or through a container.

For its part, Intel has introduced support for the AMX instructions, for the protected Xe path in the twelfth generation of its Intel Core processors and has established the graphic driver for Alder Lake S as stable. On the other hand, the PCI IDs of the Intel DG1 graphics are already present and the support for the Intel DG2 has started to be activated.

Other aspects to highlight of Linux 5.16 are the fact of supporting in the AMD Epyc processors and through Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) the live migration at the intrahost level, that the support for Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 has reached the main line of the kernel and support for the Snapdragon 690 SoCs and the Rockchip RK3566 and RK3688 models.

Continuing with more support topics, we have the one about sound coprocessor for AMD Rembrandt and VanGogh APUs, which comes together with a cluster recognition scheduler aimed at improving the decisions made by the processor’s scheduler. This latest enhancement, which covers at least the x86 and ARM spectra, is causing regressions in Intel Alder Lake processors.

As is usual with each kernel release, we find a huge amount of news that is difficult to cover in its entirety, so focusing on the most tangible, we mention the support for Realtek RT89 Wi-Fi, performance enhancements for Btrfs, support for the 2021 Apple Magic keyboard, enhancements to ACPI support, Apple M1 PCIe driver merge, enhancements for low-latency audio over USB, and a great update for Zstd which should offer notable improvements in compression and decompression tasks, something that those who use file systems like Btrfs and F2FS will surely appreciate.

And we end up with some things geared towards gaming apart from Futex 2, which encompass better support for the DualSense (yes, the official PlayStation 5 controller), for the HP Omen laptops and for the Steam Deck.

Changing the kernel version is not usually critical for most users, especially if the hardware is a few years old. Apart from the tortuous compilation process, users can fall back on a distribution rolling release Y bleeding edge like Arch Linux or have a little more patience and wait for it to reach Fedora 34 and 35.

All the details of this release are available in the corresponding Kernel Newbies page, where they are presented in a more chewy and friendly way for those who do not have very deep knowledge.

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