A Look At The LLVMpipe OpenGL Performance On Mesa 19.0 With A 64C/128T Server

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 16 December 2018 at 04:21 AM EST. 10 Comments
Given the proposed Libre RISC-V SoC that could function as a Vulkan accelerator by running the Kazan Vulkan implementation on it, I decided to have a fresh look at how the LLVMpipe performance is for running OpenGL on the CPU. Here are those tests done on a dual socket AMD EPYC server.

The proposed Libre RISC-V SoC at this point would be quad-core and clocked at least 800MHz. Their initial performance target is aiming for 25 FPS at 720p and capable of 5~6 GFLOPs. Quite low by today's standards and more so for a SoC that is likely more than a year or two out.

As Kazan is still maturing and not yet running Vulkan games, I wanted to see how the performance was for the mature LLVMpipe driver that provides Mesa OpenGL by running on the CPU and optimized via LLVM. For providing very high-end performance potential, I used the Dell PowerEdge server running Ubuntu 18.10 with Mesa 19.0-devel so LLVMpipe was running off the two AMD EPYC 7601 processors.
Soft OpenGL

LLVMpipe presently exposes OpenGL 3.3 support.
Soft OpenGL

The ET: Legacy open-source game derived from Wolfenstein Enemy Territory from the early 2000's could run at just 15 FPS on the CPU at 1280 x 1024...
Soft OpenGL

Tesseract with LLVMpipe was only churning out 11 FPS at 1280 x 1024.
Soft OpenGL

Soft OpenGL

Soft OpenGL

And the other OpenGL tests on the very low-end even with this very high-end x86_64 server setup. More data can be found via this OpenBenchmarking.org result file. Long story short, even with a high-end x86_64 CPU, the LLVMpipe performance is very slow. It will be interesting to see how well Kazan can mature for running Vulkan on the CPU in 2019.
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About The Author
Michael Larabel

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 20,000 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, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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