Impressed after one week, but why are things so much better?

Hi, I decided to try out CachyOS after running EndeavourOS for about a year on my daily driver laptop - a 2020 Ryzen 7 3700U ASUS Vivobook with 12 GB of Ram. The last few distros I have tried on this machine have really struggled to cope with running a lot of stuff at once.

I typically run two web browsers - Firefox for general use and Edge for some specific work tasks, plus Citrix Receiver, GIMP, Libreoffice. I frequently had the machine freeze. Games would often cause the same problem - freezing the system if I was running too many tabs in Firefox and generally struggling with memory. This could sometimes be saved by CTRL-ALT-F4ing a console and killing processes manually, but often not and I would have to hard reboot.

Things got to the point where I had to ditch KDE in favour of LXQT in an attempt to squeeze more memory out of the machine and even then slowdowns or freezing was possible.

CahcyOS by comparison works like a dream. I am running the latest Plasma and as I type this have all my usual stuff plus Steam & Doom Eternal happily multitasking. I think I may have found my new favourite distro.

My question is - what exactly has helped? I know there are some kernel optimizations in place, but is the dramatic improvement in my situation due to that or maybe to the switch to the BORE Scheduler? Or something else? I’m just curious to know what people think.

To sum up - my old PC now runs much more smoothly and seems to be better able to handle running multiple browsers and open tabs alongside demanding apps and games. Which of the CahcyOS improvements is likely responsible?

2 Likes

I have installed CachyOS on several devices where I previously ran various distributions. Most recently, I had Arch Linux on all devices. As soon as I replaced Arch Linux with CachyOS, I can confirm that all devices run much more smoothly.

This is because the team at CachyOS has everything set up so that during the installation of CachyOS, a detection script recognizes the hardware of your device and selects the appropriate repositories. These repositories contain packages optimized for your device.
This distinguishes CachyOS from other distributions that only produce “generic” installations without optimizations.

2 Likes

Cachy OS packs a lot of things under the hood. It has an auto nice daemon, along with foreground boosting I believe. This ensures that what ever you have open on screen will be granted more access to cpu resources. As for the cpu scheduler, it is a mix of the bore scheduler (Burst Oriented…I forget the other two words), sched ext (scheduler extensions) and eevd (earliest event? virtual deadline scheduler) rt kit daemon (Real time kit daemon) -O3 optimizations, Clear linux patches, extensive driver support. There are many latency reduction optimizations in place to ensure maximum responsiveness.
Then you have the fact that all packages have been optimally compressed, making packages much smaller without compromising functionality. Smaller code means more space for the cpu cache to fill up with data. The cpu cache would best explain why you see such a massive improvement. For those who may not know, every processor generally comes with three caches. L1 cache is the smallest but also the fastest. L2 cache is the second fastest and spread out over every cpu core. L3 cache is the slowest but also the largest, instead of being divided over each core, L3 acts as a shared cache that any core can attempt to access at any time. These three caches are much faster than anything cached in RAM. The bore scheduler is designed to take advantage of the cpu cache.

Doom Eternal runs as well as it does because you have amd hardware. It is known to run better on Amd hardware than it would with intel or nvidia. That makes it a bit of an outlier when you look at benchmarks on windows or linux. There are likely more things that play a role in your smooth experience but I will leave it to other community members to fill in those details for you and I. Needless to say, it has grown to be much better than it was a year ago. I was one of the earlier users to try it out. It was a bit rough around the edges at the time. Oh, another thing I forgot to mention, it was the first distro to provide V3 support and optimization. V3 means enabled utilization of avx 2 instruction sets, which is considerably more powerful and faster than reuglar sse 4.2 instruction sets.Glad to see that your having a great experience with it.

2 Likes

Thanks for both of those replies - very interesting and much to think about and read up on. One other significant boost I should mention is network performance. I have got very used to not being able to browse the web when the system is downloading updates or installing something on Steam for example. It was as though the network card could only talk to one process at a time. CachyOS has completely cured that, which may be down to the hardware being more precisely supported or maybe something else. Either way, I am very pleased with the result! Thanks to all the devs who have made this distro possible.

2 Likes