Noob Question about Kernel

Hello everyone :smile: , sorry for bothering you with such a basic question, I’ll try to keep it brief.

To the point: Just migrated to linux, I’m trying to learn from guides, forums, youtube videos, reddit, everywhere I can .com

But I can’t get my head around 1 thing, which kernel to use
I know there are other posts about this and I read them, but they don’t seem to offer a straight solution. I also searched on other forums but with little luck.

I know I’m a complete noob, but I will learn eventually! However, until that time comes, I need a specific answer because I’ve been breaking my head trying to find one, almost getting to the point of giving up. Please tell me what information do I need to provide you with for you to answer me and I will. I’m desperate and helpless, and also thanks for your precious time, in advance. :face_with_spiral_eyes: :dizzy_face:

Kernel: 6.6.2-zen1-1-zen arch: x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 13.2.1
clocksource: tsc available: hpet,acpi_pm
parameters: BOOT_IMAGE=/@/boot/vmlinuz-linux-zen
root=UUID=719fe0ed-b5bd-49f7-991c-07a992fe31c7 rw rootflags=subvol=@
quiet resume=UUID=0a1fd2f6-3340-4ab6-af3f-a538c95d84d8 loglevel=3 ibt=off
Desktop: KDE Plasma v: 5.27.9 tk: Qt v: 5.15.11 wm: kwin_wayland vt: 1
dm: SDDM Distro: Garuda Linux base: Arch Linux
Type: Desktop Mobo: ASRock model: B450M-HDV R4.0
serial: <superuser required> UEFI: American Megatrends v: P4.80
date: 08/03/2021
Info: model: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X bits: 64 type: MT MCP arch: Zen 2 gen: 3
level: v3 note: check built: 2020-22 process: TSMC n7 (7nm)
family: 0x17 (23) model-id: 0x71 (113) stepping: 0 microcode: 0x8701021
Topology: cpus: 1x cores: 8 tpc: 2 threads: 16 smt: enabled cache:
L1: 512 KiB desc: d-8x32 KiB; i-8x32 KiB L2: 4 MiB desc: 8x512 KiB
L3: 32 MiB desc: 2x16 MiB
Speed (MHz): avg: 2509 high: 3900 min/max: 2200/4559 boost: enabled
scaling: driver: acpi-cpufreq governor: schedutil cores: 1: 3900 2: 2200
3: 2200 4: 2200 5: 2200 6: 2200 7: 2200 8: 2057 9: 2200 10: 2200 11: 3900
12: 2200 13: 3900 14: 2200 15: 2200 16: 2200 bogomips: 124808
Flags: avx avx2 ht lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 sse4a ssse3 svm
Vulnerabilities: <filter>
Device-1: NVIDIA TU117 [GeForce GTX 1650] vendor: ASUSTeK driver: nvidia
v: 545.29.06 alternate: nouveau,nvidia_drm non-free: 545.xx+ status: current
(as of 2023-10; EOL~2026-12-xx) arch: Turing code: TUxxx
process: TSMC 12nm FF built: 2018-2022 pcie: gen: 1 speed: 2.5 GT/s
lanes: 16 link-max: gen: 3 speed: 8 GT/s ports: active: none off: HDMI-A-1
empty: DP-1,DVI-D-1 bus-ID: 09:00.0 chip-ID: 10de:1f82 class-ID: 0300
Display: wayland server: v: with: Xwayland v: 23.2.2
compositor: kwin_wayland driver: X: loaded: nvidia unloaded: modesetting
alternate: fbdev,nouveau,nv,vesa gpu: nvidia display-ID: 0
Monitor-1: HDMI-A-1 res: 1920x1080 size: N/A modes: N/A
API: EGL v: 1.5 hw: drv: nvidia platforms: device: 0 drv: nvidia device: 2
drv: swrast gbm: drv: nvidia surfaceless: drv: nvidia wayland: drv: nvidia
x11: drv: swrast inactive: device-1
API: OpenGL v: 4.6.0 compat-v: 4.5 vendor: nvidia mesa v: 545.29.06
glx-v: 1.4 direct-render: yes renderer: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650/PCIe/SSE2
memory: 3.91 GiB display-ID: :1.0
API: Vulkan v: 1.3.269 layers: 1 device: 0 type: discrete-gpu
name: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 driver: nvidia v: 545.29.06
device-ID: 10de:1f82 surfaces: xcb,xlib,wayland
Device-1: NVIDIA vendor: ASUSTeK driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel pcie:
gen: 3 speed: 8 GT/s lanes: 16 bus-ID: 09:00.1 chip-ID: 10de:10fa
class-ID: 0403
Device-2: AMD Starship/Matisse HD Audio vendor: ASRock
driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel pcie: gen: 4 speed: 16 GT/s lanes: 16
bus-ID: 0b:00.4 chip-ID: 1022:1487 class-ID: 0403
API: ALSA v: k6.6.2-zen1-1-zen status: kernel-api tools: N/A
Server-1: PipeWire v: 1.0.0 status: active with: 1: pipewire-pulse
status: active 2: wireplumber status: active 3: pipewire-alsa type: plugin
4: pw-jack type: plugin tools: pactl,pw-cat,pw-cli,wpctl
Device-1: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet
vendor: ASRock driver: r8169 v: kernel pcie: gen: 1 speed: 2.5 GT/s lanes: 1
port: f000 bus-ID: 08:00.0 chip-ID: 10ec:8168 class-ID: 0200
IF: enp8s0 state: up speed: 1000 Mbps duplex: full mac: <filter>
Device-1: Cambridge Silicon Radio Bluetooth Dongle (HCI mode) driver: btusb
v: 0.8 type: USB rev: 2.0 speed: 12 Mb/s lanes: 1 mode: 1.1 bus-ID: 1-10:3
chip-ID: 0a12:0001 class-ID: e001
Report: btmgmt ID: hci0 rfk-id: 0 state: up address: <filter> bt-v: 4.0
lmp-v: 6 status: discoverable: no pairing: no class-ID: 7c0104
Local Storage: total: 953.88 GiB used: 9.64 GiB (1.0%)
SMART Message: Unable to run smartctl. Root privileges required.
ID-1: /dev/nvme0n1 maj-min: 259:0 vendor: Samsung
model: MZVL2512HCJQ-00B00 size: 476.94 GiB block-size: physical: 512 B
logical: 512 B speed: 63.2 Gb/s lanes: 4 tech: SSD serial: <filter>
fw-rev: GXA7401Q temp: 28.9 C scheme: GPT
ID-2: /dev/sda maj-min: 8:0 vendor: Patriot model: P210 512GB
size: 476.94 GiB block-size: physical: 512 B logical: 512 B speed: 6.0 Gb/s
tech: SSD serial: <filter> fw-rev: 0A0 scheme: GPT
ID-1: / raw-size: 459.55 GiB size: 459.55 GiB (100.00%)
used: 9.64 GiB (2.1%) fs: btrfs dev: /dev/nvme0n1p2 maj-min: 259:2
ID-2: /boot/efi raw-size: 300 MiB size: 299.4 MiB (99.80%)
used: 576 KiB (0.2%) fs: vfat dev: /dev/nvme0n1p1 maj-min: 259:1
ID-3: /home raw-size: 459.55 GiB size: 459.55 GiB (100.00%)
used: 9.64 GiB (2.1%) fs: btrfs dev: /dev/nvme0n1p2 maj-min: 259:2
ID-4: /var/log raw-size: 459.55 GiB size: 459.55 GiB (100.00%)
used: 9.64 GiB (2.1%) fs: btrfs dev: /dev/nvme0n1p2 maj-min: 259:2
ID-5: /var/tmp raw-size: 459.55 GiB size: 459.55 GiB (100.00%)
used: 9.64 GiB (2.1%) fs: btrfs dev: /dev/nvme0n1p2 maj-min: 259:2
Kernel: swappiness: 133 (default 60) cache-pressure: 100 (default) zswap: no
ID-1: swap-1 type: partition size: 17.1 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%)
priority: -2 dev: /dev/nvme0n1p3 maj-min: 259:3
ID-2: swap-2 type: zram size: 15.54 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) priority: 100
comp: zstd avail: lzo,lzo-rle,lz4,lz4hc,842 max-streams: 16 dev: /dev/zram0
System Temperatures: cpu: 41.8 C mobo: N/A
Fan Speeds (rpm): N/A
Processes: 331 Uptime: 2h 12m wakeups: 0 Memory: total: 16 GiB
available: 15.54 GiB used: 3.37 GiB (21.7%) Init: systemd v: 254
default: graphical tool: systemctl Compilers: gcc: 13.2.1 Packages:
pm: pacman pkgs: 1216 libs: 347 tools: octopi,paru Shell: fish v: 3.6.1
running-in: konsole inxi: 3.3.31
Garuda (2.6.19-2):
System install date:     2023-11-27
Last full system update: 2023-11-28 ↻
Is partially upgraded:   No
Relevant software:       snapper NetworkManager dracut nvidia-dkms
Windows dual boot:       Probably (Run as root to verify)
Failed units:

If things are all working fine, the default zen kernel (that you are using) is great for most users, and has patches in place for generalized performance. If things aren’t working correctly, usually the LTS kernel is a good bet to go with.

If you are looking for something else with some kind of specific use case, you are going to have to explain what you want out of your kernel.


From the videos I’ve seen and what I picked up on the internet, I understand:

  • A general idea of what kernels are
  • Their core function
  • Why there are different kernels

What I don’t get:

  • How will I know if a Kernel will work in MY system (do I judge that from my hardware or what)
  • Can I use multiple? Because there is the option to select multiple (if so, I don’t understand how THAT works, do they operate alongside each other? or does one work and the others are decorative)
  • Which ones are the best options to make my system run better, or smoother, or faster or whatever (how can I chose!)

You can have multiple kernels installed, but you can only use one at a time.

Other than what I’ve already said, it is mostly up to the hardware and what the user wants out of the kernel. The choices can be pretty daunting, but I would suggest you to do more searching to figure out just what you are looking for.

All that being said… Most Garuda versions usually uses the Zen kernel out of the box, for good reason I would like to think :wink:
Most modern hardware should work great on the Zen kernel.
I’ve been using it for years with gaming on Linux and I rather like it.


Thanks a lot, you’re saving me, as of reading your reply, I found this Explaining Kernels

And I decided to use the zen kernel, now I have to search and find out which one, I see here there is zen1 zen2 zen3 zen4, and after installing it, to find out how to switch to it.

In the old days we had to specify every module we wanted included in the kernel, compile/install/etc. Modern dists are really good at figuring out what needs to be included to run your system. Yes, there are some fringe cases but that’s a different topic. Generally speaking when you boot Garuda it’s running something that should be pretty smooth running and work well with your hardware.


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