Mesa 10.4 Brings Performance Improvements & New Features

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 30 November 2014 at 09:06 AM EST. 15 Comments
Mesa 10.4 is being released as soon as next week and continuing in usual tradition this new version brings a lot of exciting changes for users of the open-source Linux hardware graphics drivers.

Among the highlights of Mesa 10.4 are:

- Landing of "Gallium Nine", the Direct3D 9 state tracker. After the failed D3D10/11 state tracker from a few years ago, the D3D9 state tracker is here and it's in much better shape, more maintainable, and is actively being used by a large number of users who are patching their Wine builds to support this means for Wine/Windows gaming rather than using Wine's Direct3D-to-OpenGL translation layer that exhibits greater overhead. Gallium Nine is yielding great performance and is running great on the Radeon Gallium3D driver in particular along with Nouveau. However, Wine developers aren't yet ready to commit to supporting this state tracker. Outside of Wine, the D3D9 support on the Linux desktop will likely be useless.

- Various improvements toward OpenGL 4 support with many more 4.0~4.5 extensions now being implemented within core Mesa and the various drivers. However, for Mesa 10.4 there isn't yet official OpenGL 4.0 compliance. Most of the work though for OpenGL 4.0/4.1/4.2 is implemented and just some GLSL and few extensions need to be implemented. Hopefully for the next Mesa release they'll be able to advertise OpenGL 4.2 support. After that, lots of work is still left for the 4.3/4.4/4.5 extensions.

- HyperZ is back on for R600g/RadeonSI Gallium3D drivers as an important performance boosting feature now back on by default for the AMD Gallium3D drivers.

- Clover native object code and other OpenCL-related improvements. This is important for AMD's open-source OpenCL support and their HSA support that's coming together in recent months.

- Besides Gallium Nine, another new state tracker is the VA-API state tracker for the Video Acceleration API. This VA-API work was done by AMD as part of exposing the GPU's encoding support while the AMD drivers continue supporting VDPAU for video decode.

- Geometry shaders for Intel Sandy Bridge hardware at long last, which also allows the Intel Sandy Bridge hardware to claim OpenGL 3.2 support.

- Continued work on ILO, the unofficial Intel Gallium3D driver being developed by LunarG. The ILO Gallium3D driver is mostly done as a technical exercise and experimenting with potential driver optimizations by the LunarG consulting firm, which as of late has been doing a lot of contract work for Valve.

- Performance improvements for recent Intel HD Graphics hardware along with AMD GCN GPUs using the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver. There's also some improvements to find too with R600g hardware based on recent tests.

- Various improvements to the Freedreno Gallium3D driver for Qualcomm's Adreno graphics hardware.

- Many other improvements and fixes.

Stay tuned for more Mesa 10.4 coverage in the days ahead.
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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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