Feedback on linux-xanmod kernel testing

I must say I don't know where to create this topic, as it's not to ask assistance but to throw out comments, feedbacks and feelings about testing the linux-xanmod, asked by @dr460nf1r3. If you feel it should be moved somewhere else, let's do it.

To begin with, at a high level here are my machine's specs (I can throw inxi output if need be):

  • AMD 3700x
  • X570 PCIe4.0 Mobo
  • 16Gb RAM
  • 1x Samsung NVMe
  • 2x 2.5" Crucial Sata SSDs
  • nvidia GTX 1650 OC

I do not do gaming, my usage is every day use with lots of virtualizations and playing videos both from files on the HD or streaming.

I installed xanmod from Pamac and chose the 10.7 version. My BMQ is at 10.9.
Prior to run xanmod, I was testing PDS-ZEN2.
Been running xanmod for a few intensive hours.

  • On par with PDS and BMQ booting time, to my eyes and counting seconds it was similar, which is quite quick.
  • Smooth experience overall.
  • Absolutely no issue for virtualization through VBox, both for Windows-based guests and Linux-guests. The boot time on Windows is very quick and running full screen (seamless) works as if Windows was installed on real hardware. On Linux-guests I even tested full screen video streaming and it was flawless too.
  • CPU usage is lower than I expected, both when virtualizing and watching 4K youtube videos, but I have more tests to do on that one to confirm whether it's just an impression or real facts, a lot of stuff can affect CPU usage. However I can tell the usage is not high.
  • CPU governors seem a little different than BMQ. For example when I enable "performance" it doesn't stick at my max non-boosted (I have disabled boost to test this) 3.6Ghz, it floats between 3.5 and 3.6. BMQ was sticking at 3.6Ghz dead all the time. More tests required on that one as well to tests all governors between kernels.

At the time of writing this, I am very pleased and it is a kernel I am sticking with.

So what's your feedback on your tests?

3 Likes

xanmod runs amazingly for me, even on the unstable testing release for Garuda Black. My hardware is nowhere near as crazy as yours either. Feels like I just bought the damn thing.

1 Like

Thread moved from #feedback to #development as this is definitely a development discussion

3 Likes

To be clear, it is testing about the "Black Arch Software", Garuda Linux is always stable like Arch Linux. :slight_smile:

Garuda Linux has no unstable versions like M$ and other distros :smiley:

linux-is-not-win-03-sgs

4 Likes

Thank you for the correction. Sorry. I default to calling things "unstable testing" because of my growing pains with Debian haha

1 Like

Question to all: is there something specific that would be important/interesting to test with this kernel?
Or any one thing is as important as any other thing?

We should test gaming experience, geekbench. At this time it looks better for virtualization. I think fully working virtualization is important, because someone could need it for software at jobs or school.

4 Likes

Linux-tkg-bmq Dell Inc. Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming - Geekbench Browser
Linux-xanmod Dell Inc. Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming - Geekbench Browser

Xanmod reached significantly lower single core score at Geekbench. I hadn't try gaming experience i need my laptop for school at this time.

I'm not sure if Xanmod will be better for gaming and Garuda gennerally.
Why?

  1. linux-tgk created by TK-Glitch desinged especially for gaming and response, smooth operating system. I've never open programs, apps faster. Linux-tkg is really great for this purpose. As for the virtualization, it's another story.
    Next point, TKG is simply desinged for the Arch distros, Xanmod doesn't.

  2. Xanmod have official releases for Debain based distros like Ubuntu, PopOS etc. There isn't official releases for Arch based distros. I'm not sure if Xanmod will be stable on the Arch Linux based distros, there could be some differences, contradictions could cause issues.

1 Like

Interesting analysis.

So far it's quite stable for me, though, outside gaming.

What do you suggest next? To really try out the gaming side and see how it outputs?

According to you, what is different between a kernel made for Arch and one not made for Arch?
What makes a kernel "specific" to Arch vs another one that would be generic or specific to Debian, as examples?

If you visit this links:
Debian kernel source: Chapter 2. Debian kernel source

Debian kernel source may be (and in most cases is) different from the upstream (or "pristine") kernel source, distributed from www.kernel.org and its mirrors.

That means:
Kernel source + Debian stuff = Debian kernel
Kernel source + Arch stuff = Arch kernel

If i continue to other derivatives from Debian like Ubuntu or PopOS:
Kernel source + Debian stuff + Ubuntu stuff = Ubuntu kernel
Kernel source + Debian stuff + Ubuntu stuff + PopOS stuff = PopOS kernel

PopOS official kernel is fork: GitHub - pop-os/linux: Pop!_OS fork of https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux
Arch Linux official kernel is fork: GitHub - archlinux/linux: Arch Linux kernel sources, with patches (Mirror)

Xanmod is designed for Debian based distro. Arch Linux kernel by default is different, this is reason why Xanmod could be issue with Arch Linux based distros - Garuda.

2 Likes

Tnx a lot man, very instructive! :+1:

@dr460nf1r3 based on this would still want some testing on Xanmod?

Im not sure tbh, @librewish ? :thinking:

1 Like

Actually im more inclined to go back to linux-zen and arch nvidia drivers

7 Likes

Then lets do that. As that seems to yield most compatibility.
What I could imagine doing however is having another selection choice for kernels in the setup assistant which lets users install either tkg or xanmod? What about this :thinking:

3 Likes

Is that the linux-tkg-pds-zen? (or zen2 maybe)

I thought about that but didn't dare asking. loll
Since there are kernels optimized for AMD and others for Intel does that mean these would also be listed in the choices? Or installed by default by Garuda based on the hw detected?

Something should at least be pre-selected or suggested by default, for users who don't know what to choose.

1 Like

Well, we can play with lists so having this + short description would do the trick I guess :thinking:

1 Like

Sounds interesting to me!

I'd be inclined to use linux-zen as the default just because it works reliably across all CPUs and workloads, and anyone who wants to tweak further can install TKG or xanmod from Chaotic. :thinking:

7 Likes

TL;DR:
We tried linux-tkg, okay let's try Xanmod some Arch users use without issues, although Xanmod doesn't for Arch. Benchmarks are lower, but real performance for gaming could be better. We will see what we will get.
If we hit a lot of issues or lower performance we can go back to linux-tkg.

Explanation
Well, we can try keep switching kernels, but we probably never get all benefits.

Stock kernel - stable for generall purpose, dailly use and everything should works.

Let me remind text from Garuda website: Focus on Performance

Our goal is to provide a distro that focuses only on performance while making it beautiful. Thats why we have made some (sane) performance tweaks.

Okay, stock kernel isn't what we want it. We want more performance!
We must use custom kernels by default.
Custom kernels have pros and cons.

I wrote this by the information from Arch Wiki Kernel - ArchWiki

Xanmod - As Arch Wiki say:

Aiming to take full advantage in high-performance workstations, gaming desktops, media centers and others and built to provide a more rock-solid, responsive and smooth desktop experience.

It sounds really great, but for Debain based distros. Not for Arch.

Linux-tkg - As Arch Wiki say:

aiming for the best gaming experience. Maintained by Etienne Juvigny (Tk-Glitch).

Smaller community but strongly focused to gaming.

Zen Kernel - As Arch WIki say:

Result of a collaborative effort of kernel hackers to provide the best Linux kernel possible for everyday systems.

It sounds more like other version of stock kernel with small amount of benefits.

We should choose TKG or Xanmod kernel, because both kernels designed likely for gaming performance.