I have read a lot of talk about how OpenSUSE is using a "Desktop" kernel. This kernel utilizes a 1000hz timer and full preemption among other things. The feature request here goes into more detail about the subject. Open Fate OpenSUSE Desktop Kernel

I know how to compile and configure my own kernel, though I do not understand the real advantages to it. Would perhaps disabling nohz, or unused featured such as hyperthreading (on my cpu anyway) and virtualization. (As well as the settings above). Would it really improve interactivity or response in a game?

If so, does anyone have any suggestions in configuring my kernel for such a purpose?


I did some digging by reading a few mailing lists, and it seems voluntary preemption is best. It has less issues with some drivers as does full preemption and still offers good latency. 1000hz seems like a solid choice considering if the kernel is compiled with no_hz. This means that it will only fire ticks when they are needed.

I am strongly assuming optimizing the kernel for your arch will help, as well as specifically disabling unused modules. It states in kernel documentation that if you do not have a SMT (hyperthreading) system, that you can improve throughput by disabling that option. I have no evidence that this is the case, however it seems like it would not hurt.

Also after some testing it seems the new CFQ is a good scheduler for desktop/gaming use, it seems to offer good performance when running something disk heavy like creating a DVD tree.

Really the Ubuntu generic kernel is set up well for good soft latency. Adding the 1000hz should be under review though.

  • Also there is an option to configure my kernel to be Core2 instead of 'generic x86_64', since that is my specific cpu model is there a benefit to that? Commented Nov 15, 2010 at 6:10

1 Answer 1


I believe that the Gentoo Guide to Kernel Configuration is the best:) You can find it http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/handbook-amd64.xml?part=1&chap=7

As a former Gentoo-ist, having configure my own kernel lots of time I can say for sure that this guide helped me more than once :)

About the performance. Just by recompiling the kernel with the right optimizations (adapter to your system) you'll perceive a performance boost, and by configuring only your needed modules and options you can obtain even more...

BUT it is not easy to convert that 'performance boost' in game FPS, because there are a lot of other factors, not only the kernel.

For example most users need to disable compiz before running their games or they loose precious FPS :)

  • Thanks. I was hoping to get more answers, though it seems like I should help the folks that bumped this with what I learned. Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 10:45

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