According to Phoronix, AMD and Valve are jointly developing a new driver that will improve CPU performance on the Steam Deck. In theory, not only the Valve game console can benefit from this collaboration in modern gaming applications, but in general all computers with Ryzen processors and Linux systems.
Built on a customized AMD APU with Zen 2 cores and integrated RDNA 2 graphics, the recently unveiled Steam Deck runs the Linux-based Arch OS. With this in mind, Valve is striving to optimize its software so that the console is able to run all games in the Steam library, including AAA-grade projects.
It is noted that now the AMD Zen 2 architecture uses the ACPI CPUFreq driver, the functioning of which is currently far from ideal: it uses ineffective power and frequency control mechanisms, as a result of which the console performance level was lower than expected.
Unlike Intel, AMD hasn’t paid much attention to optimizing code for Linux for a long time. According to the source, the “red team”, together with Valve, has intensified its activities in this area, intending to make changes to the Linux scheduler and the ACPI CPUFreq driver, which affect performance and energy efficiency. The new Collaborative Processor Performance Control (CPPC) performance scaling mechanism is part of the ACPI specification that improves performance for all modern Zen architectures. However, if AMD decides to release a new driver only for a specific manufacturer (for Valve), then only the Steam Deck will benefit from the new scaling mechanism.
More details on this issue can be expected next month. AMD will be attending the X.org Developer Conference (XDC) from September 15-17. It is possible that AMD will share the details of its joint development with Valve there.