Kaby Lake is unleashed with kernel 4.10

From PC World: The guy behind the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds, has built version 4.10 of the mainline kernel—nicknamed “Fearless Coyote.” Like any new kernel, version 4.10 has a slew of improvements for compatibility with a wide range of hardware. As I was digging through the commit log to see what’s new (a lot, actually), an entry on Kaby Lake caught my eye.

Turns out, if you’ve been running a desktop Intel Kaby Lake CPU with Linux, there’s a chance you haven’t been getting your money’s worth. Kernel (4.10) patches a little bug that may yield extra performance in some desktop systems.

When you buy new PC parts or a prebuilt system, it’s natural to assume that compatible parts will perform together optimally. But that’s not always the case. Linux users who built (or bought) a desktop system with the latest Kaby Lake processor, might’ve been deprived of full performance, thanks to a glitch with some motherboards. Fortunately, a patch by Intel’s Srinivas Pandruvada found in kernel 4.10 fixes the problem. Unfortunately, there’s no published list of affected motherboards.

The patch addresses a kernel driver called intel_pstate, which helps the kernel tell the CPU how much power to use. By default, intel_pstate has two settings: powersave and performance. Powersave mode, of course, reduces power and optimizes efficiency, while performance mode says, “To hell with efficiency, we want MORE POWER!” (Cue Tim Allen noises.)

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