According to a report from Fronix, AMD and Valve are collaborating to design a better CPU performance extension driver for Linux, the target is the Steam Deck game console.
Valve recently launched the Steam Deck game console, which is equipped with AMD’s customized Ryzen APU, with embedded RDNA 2 GPU and Zen 2 CPU, supported by the Linux-based Arch operating system (OS). Given that the system runs a Linux-based operating system, Valve must optimize the software as much as possible to ensure a smooth and consistent gaming experience for various AAA games.
According to reports, Valve has been working with AMD to improve the CPU frequency scaling of the Zen 2 core. Steam Deck and other AMD processors running on Linux will obviously benefit from this collaboration.
AMD’s Zen 2 design now uses the ACPI CPUFreq driver, which is “not very good performance/power efficiency [efficient] Suitable for modern AMD platforms. “This approach leads to poor frequency scaling and makes it difficult for power-constrained solutions such as Steam Deck to manage the power/performance ratio. To improve scaling, AMD uses Coprocessor Performance Control (CPPC), Part of the ACPI specification, which provides common improvements for all newer Zen designs. However, if AMD decides to design a vendor-specific driver (for Valve), the solution may not be extended to other platforms and remains unique to Steam Deck.
We won’t know all the details until AMD and Valve decide to show their work to the public. AMD will be X.org Developer Conference (XDC), From September 15th to September 17th. We can also learn more about other AMD and Valve collaborations.
It is hoped that these companies will share their work in an open source format, which will benefit the wider ecosystem. Valve has been a big supporter of open source Radeon drives in the past, and AMD’s help is not helpful.