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Linus Torvalds: "I Hope AVX512 Dies A Painful Death"

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Linux creator Linus Torvalds had some choice words today on Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (AVX-512) found on select Intel processors.

In a mailing list discussion stemming from the Phoronix article this week on the compiler instructions Intel is enabling for Alder Lake (and Sapphire Rapids), Linus Torvalds chimed in. The Alder Lake instructions being flipped on in GCC right now make no mention of AVX-512 but only AVX2 and others, likely due to Intel pursuing the subset supported by both the small and large cores in this new hybrid design being pursued.

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background on AVX-512

In Slashdot now

  • Linus Torvalds Hopes Intel's AVX-512 'Dies A Painful Death'

    I hope AVX512 dies a painful death, and that Intel starts fixing real problems instead of trying to create magic instructions to then create benchmarks that they can look good on.

    I hope Intel gets back to basics: gets their process working again, and concentrate more on regular code that isn't HPC or some other pointless special case.

    I've said this before, and I'll say it again: in the heyday of x86, when Intel was laughing all the way to the bank and killing all their competition, absolutely everybody else did better than Intel on FP loads. Intel's FP performance sucked (relatively speaking), and it matter not one iota.

    Because absolutely nobody cares outside of benchmarks.

    The same is largely true of AVX512 now - and in the future...

More on AVX-512

Linux founder tells Intel to stop inventing 'magic instructions'

  • Linux founder tells Intel to stop inventing 'magic instructions' and 'start fixing real problems'

    Linux Torvalds, the creator of Linux, offered up some interesting thoughts on Intel's Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (AVX-512) instruction set, calling it a "power virus" that was only created to make the company's CPU hardware perform well in benchmarks. He also admitted to being "biased" and "grumpy" in his assessment.

    His comments came in a mailing list (via Phoronix) discussing an article suggesting AVX-512 might not be part of Intel's upcoming Alder Lake architecture. If that comes to pass, it will be just fine by Torvalds.

    "I hope AVX512 dies a painful death, and that Intel starts fixing real problems instead of trying to create magic instructions to then create benchmarks that they can look good on. I hope Intel gets back to basics: gets their process working again, and concentrate more on regular code that isn't HPC or some other pointless special case," Torvalds said.

    Intel introduced AVX-512 in 2013, initially as part of its Xeon Phi x200 and Skylake-X processor lines. It has also found its way into more current CPU architectures, including Ice Lake.

Linus Torvalds: I hope Intel's AVX-512 'dies a painful death'

  • Linus Torvalds: I hope Intel's AVX-512 'dies a painful death'

    He notes that "in the heyday of x86", Intel's rivals always outperformed it on FP loads.

    "Intel's FP performance sucked (relatively speaking), and it matter not one iota. Because absolutely nobody cares outside of benchmarks," Torvalds said.

    "The same is largely true of AVX-512 now – and in the future. Yes, you can find things that care. No, those things don't sell machines in the big picture."

    He continued his criticism by saying AVX512 has real downsides.

    "I'd much rather see that transistor budget used on other things that are much more relevant. Even if it's still FP math (in the GPU, rather than AVX-512). Or just give me more cores (with good single-thread performance, but without the garbage like AVX-512) like AMD did."

    Web performance firm Cloudflare has written about the performance impact of AVX-512. It advised customers who don't need AVX-512 for high-performance tasks to disable AVX-512 execution on the server and desktop to avoid its "accidental" throttling.

Intel slammed by Linux founder for using 'power virus' tech

  • Intel slammed by Linux founder for using 'power virus' tech

    Intel has been called out by Linux founder Linus Torvalds over the power usage of one of its most central technologies.

    Intel’s 512-bit AVX-512 SIMD extensions for x86 instruction set architecture are used for various compute-intensive workloads on workstations and servers, but AVX-512 hardware execution units are power hungry and that causes some headaches for developers.

    This led Linux creator Linus Torvalds to recently condemn AVX-512 and call on the company to develop a better solution for complex HPC problems. The software icon went as far as calling AVX-512 a ‘power virus’ and wished it to ‘die a painful death.’

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