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Windows Subsystem for Linux now supports GPU compute

WSL now supports GPU compute. (Image via Microsoft)
WSL now supports GPU compute. (Image via Microsoft)
The latest Insider Preview Build of Windows adds GPU compute for the Windows Subsystem for Linux. One of the most often requested features, GPU compute allows users to run heavy computing tasks through their DirectX 12-supported GPU.
Sam Medley,
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Microsoft has steadily updated the Windows Subsystem for Linux, or WSL, over the past several years. In the latest developer update, WSL is finally getting one of the most requested features: GPU compute support.

As a quick primer, WSL allows Windows users to install a Linux distribution and run certain Linux applications via the Windows command line. It’s a useful tool for developers, scientists, and others that rely on both Windows and Linux tools for their work. While WSL is somewhat limited (e.g., it does not yet support GUI applications or desktop environments), it still offers quite a few features, and Microsoft has faithfully contributed more.

The latest Windows Insider Preview Build (20150) brings three new features to WSL. Chief among these is GPU compute, which will allow users to utilize their GPUs in WSL for heavy computing tasks. Microsoft specifically points out that this feature is a boon for machine learning/AI developers and data scientists.

According to Microsoft, GPU compute in WSL is compatible with any DirectX 12-based GPU, including those from Nvidia, AMD, and Intel. This means that WSL now supports CUDA acceleration for Nvidia GPUs.

Microsoft has also made the WSL install and update process significantly easier. The new Insider Preview Build adds “wsl --install” and “wsl --update” commands to the Windows command line. The former is a one-step command to install WSL, and the latter allows users to manage and update the Linux kernel version used by distros within WSL.

Keep in mind that these features are currently only available to Insiders via the new Insider Preview Build, but they should eventually make their way to mainstream Windows.

What are your thoughts on the new WSL features? Do you use WSL? Let us know in the comments.

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Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Senior Tech Writer - 1119 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2016
I've been a computer geek my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a database administrator. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news and reviews. I've also written for other outlets including UltrabookReview and GeeksWorldWide, focusing on consumer guidance and video gaming. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not writing on electronics or tinkering with a device, I'm either outside with my family, enjoying a decade-old video game, or playing drums or piano.
contact me via: @samuel_medley
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 06 > Windows Subsystem for Linux now supports GPU compute
Sam Medley, 2020-06-18 (Update: 2020-06-18)