Valve Eyeing "Exclusive GPU Access" To Boost SteamVR Linux Performance
Written by Michael Larabel in Valve on 31 May 2017 at 08:23 AM EDT. 18 Comments
VALVE --
Andres Rodriguez of Valve's Linux GPU driver team is looking at "exclusive GPU access" support in order to boost the AMDGPU+RADV SteamVR performance.

Rodriguez, a former AMD engineer turned Valve Linux developer, has been working on high priority AMDGPU scheduling and related work in order to enhance the performance of SteamVR on Linux. His latest "request for comments" work is on being able to offer exclusive GPU access by selected processes, such as SteamVR, in order to ensure faster and more predictable performance.

Andres' RFC explains, "When multiple environments are running simultaneously on a system, e.g. an X desktop + a SteamVR game session, it may be useful to sacrifice performance in one environment in order to boost it on the other. This series provides a mechanism for a DRM_MASTER to provide exclusive gpu access to a group of processes...Using this app, VRComposer can raise the priority of the VRapp and itself. Then it can restrict the minimum scheduler priority in order to become exclusive gpu clients."

The work is still being reviewed and some suggestions made by other AMDGPU developers. We'll see where this work leads in the weeks ahead. Any SteamVR performance improvements on Linux are certainly welcome -- my AMD SteamVR Linux experience with the HTC Vive with AMDGPU+RADV hasn't been as nearly as good as NVIDIA's driver with Pascal hardware.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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