Linux 5.16 just dropped a few days ago, and with it arrives some performance gains for laptops equipped with AMD's Ryzen CPUs with Radeon integrated graphics, according to Phoronix. In most of the benchmarks Phoronix tested, Linux 5.16 provides anywhere between 5%-14% more performance compared to previous Linux kernels, including 5.15 and 5.11.
Phoronix tested many different benchmarks, including Gravity Mark, Legacy, GLmark2, and more on two notebooks. On one of the notebooks equipped with a Ryzen 5 5500U (Zen 2), the most noticeable uptick in performance apps were GLmark 2 and Xonotic, which had a 14% performance improvement over Linux 5.16. Other benchmarks with a significant impact were Xonotic and Unvanquished, with a 10%-11% performance improvement.
On another notebook equipped with a Ryzen 7 Pro 5850U (Zen 3), Phoronix tested even more benchmarks, and the results are very similar to the Ryzen 5 5500U notebook. Some benchmarks did not benefit from the new Linux kernel, such as RealSR-NCNN and Waifu2x-NCNN. However, the number of benchmarks with this behavior is small, with most attaining small and significant performance gains.
Phoronix is quite surprised at the large and small performance benefits Linux 5.16 provides. Unfortunately, despite new AMDGPU kernel driver improvements, Linux 5.16 does not foretell actual performance advantages in the kernel (the driver optimizations were not related to performance). The publication suspects that CPU-related improvements are the sole cause of the situation, but it remains an educated guess.
Either way, it's nice to see some extra performance gains for AMD Ryzen-based notebooks. So for anyone running a Linux operating system and a Ryzen equipped notebook, upgrading to Linux 5.16 might be a good option.