Lavapipe CPU-Based Vulkan Performance Looking Good Compared To SwiftShader

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 26 March 2021 at 05:46 AM EDT. 15 Comments
Google's open-source SwiftShader has been supporting a software-based Vulkan implementation for some time, building off its prior OpenGL / GLES and D3D9 support. While SwiftShader's Vulkan implementation has received heavy investment and attention from Google, it turns out Mesa's Lavapipe software implementation is beginning to pull ahead.

The CPU-based Mesa Lavapipe Vulkan implementation started by Red Hat's David Airlie and continued to work on part time by him and other Mesa developers is actually looking better now than Google's SwiftShader, at least according to Airlie's recent benchmarks. David meanwhile continues working on many different areas of Mesa, maintaining the DRM subsystem for the kernel, and his other areas of attention at Red Hat. Granted, Lavapipe is able to leverage existing Mesa infrastructure, but the results are looking real well against Google's SwiftShader receiving full-time attention.

Airlie found that the latest Mesa Lavapipe driver with Sascha's Vulkan samples are generally comparable or in many cases well leading over SwiftShader. The gears demo puts Lavapipe at 336 FPS to 309 FPS under SwiftShader, the compute shader demo at 73 FPS for LavaPipe to 57 FPS with SwiftShader, and other similar wide margin results in favor of the Mesa software implementation.

See the quick benchmark results over on Airlie's blog.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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