AMDGPU Kernel Driver Is Working Out Well On Linux 5.0

Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 22 January 2019 at 06:00 AM EST. 29 Comments
While no measurable performance changes for either Polaris or Vega, the AMDGPU kernel driver in Linux 5.0 appears to be in largely good shape now mid-way through the cycle.

Early on with the Linux 5.0 release I was hitting some display issues with some hardware, but I just wrapped up some tests using Sunday's Linux 5.0-rc3 kernel and it was a joyful experience. There weren't any regressions encountered now aside from the MSI Radeon RX 580 seeming to run its fan at a slightly higher rate than on previous kernels, but nothing too dramatic and not like some of the prior 100% fan speed issues.
AMDGPU Linux 5.0 Kernel Benchmark Comparison

I did run some benchmarks with the RX 580 and RX Vega looking for any real performance changes but compared to Linux 5.0, the RadeonSI OpenGL and RADV Vulkan performance atop the AMDGPU kernel driver was flat.
AMDGPU Linux 5.0 Kernel Benchmark Comparison

AMDGPU Linux 5.0 Kernel Benchmark Comparison

AMDGPU Linux 5.0 Kernel Benchmark Comparison

AMDGPU Linux 5.0 Kernel Benchmark Comparison

AMDGPU Linux 5.0 Kernel Benchmark Comparison

There was some minor movement with Vega on Linux 5.0 with the Paraview workstation software, but that was about it... Nothing like the nice Vulkan performance improvements found when moving to Linux 4.20 thanks to the vRAM work.

I did run some basic FreeSync tests a while back and that was working fine with DisplayPort on the 4.21/5.0 kernel code. However, no real interesting Linux demos for making it super easy to illustrate the benefits in a video recording or so, thus haven't done much else on that front yet for publishing.

In terms of the other AMDGPU changes coming with Linux 5.0, there is our feature overview outlining the prominent work in full.

So if you've been wanting to try out Linux 5.0 or were previously bitten by some regressions earlier in the cycle, the AMDGPU work seems to be largely stable and in shape at this stage of 5.0-rc3. If you do run into any issues, be sure to let us know in the forums. Linux 5.0 should be out as the latest official kernel release around the end of February.
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Michael Larabel

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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