AMD and Valve collaborating to make a custom Linux driver for Valve’s Steam Deck gaming console running on Zen2 CPU

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The latest report coming from Phoronix states that the chip giant AMD is teaming up with Valve to design a better CPU performance scaling driver for Linux. This driver will target the Steam Deck gaming console of Valve.

As we know, the Steam Deck gaming console was recently launched by Valve and it houses AMD’s custom Ryzen APU with embedded RDNA 2 GPU and Zen 2 CPU. The device is powered by a Linux-based Arch operating system (OS).

Since the gaming console runs a Linux-based OS, Valve has optimized the system software as much as possible to provide a smooth and consistent gaming experience across various AAA titles.


So now, reports have flown in stating that Valve is reportedly working on improving the CPU frequency scaling of Zen 2 cores together with AMD putting in a joint effort. Steam Deck which is powered by AMD’s processor and runs on Linux will be benefitted from this collaboration.

AMD used the ACPI CPUFreq driver for its Zen2 and these drivers are “not very performance/power efficiency [efficient] for modern AMD platforms.” This approach caused its processors to have poor frequency scaling and also made it very difficult for power-limited solutions like the Steam Deck to manage the power/performance ratio.

To improve the above-mentioned problems what AMD thought of is to use the Collaborative Processor Performance Control (CPPC), which is a part of ACPI specification. It offers a generic improvement for all newer Zen designs.

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But, if AMD wants to design a vendor-specific driver for Valve, the solution which it has to come up with will be exclusive to Steam Deck and it couldn’t be scaled to other platforms.

For now, there are not many details about the new drivers. We have to wait until AMD and Valve decided to make their work public. AMD will share more details about its work on the scaling driver at the Developer Conference (XDC), which will be from September 15th through September 17th.


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