AMD's "AMDVLK" Vulkan Driver Making It Easier To Switch To RADV Driver

Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 6 January 2021 at 01:52 PM EST. 13 Comments
AMD has begun staging their new open-source driver code ahead of the next AMDVLK driver release that will likely occur this week or next. With this latest AMDVLK code dump, there is easy run-time switching support between the AMDVLK and RADV Vulkan drivers.

Already it's quite easy switching between multiple Vulkan drivers thanks to the common Vulkan loader and ICD handling, but with the newest AMDVLK driver it's made even easier. AMD has created a Vulkan layer that makes it as easy as setting an environment variable for indicating whether you want to use their AMDVLK driver or the open-source, "community" Mesa RADV Vulkan driver.

When the Vulkan layer is activated, it's just a matter of setting AMD_VULKAN_ICD=RADV as an environment variable prior to running any games/applications that you would prefer to run with RADV instead of the AMDVLK official driver. Considering RADV is "unofficial" and maintained by the likes of Valve, Google, and the open-source community it's interesting to see them acknowledge the RADV successes by adding this layer for easy run-time switching.

This Vulkan layer was added today as part of this XGL commit. This update also has performance tuning for Navi 2 (RDNA 2) with X-Plane, The Talos Principle, Mad Max, F1 2017, and Rise of the Tomb Raider.

The sources are out there now while the first AMDVLK 2021 tagged release accompanied by RHEL and Ubuntu x86_64 binaries should happen within the next few days for easy consumption.
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