AMDGPU, Dota 2 Vulkan, NVIDIA Pascal Were Wowing Linux Users

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 31 May 2016 at 09:00 PM EDT. 3 Comments
What a very fun month with Valve releasing Vulkan support for Dota 2, many AMDGPU improvements, Radeon / Nouveau / Intel Mesa drivers getting OpenGL 4.3, other Mesa improvements, Linux 4.7 is shaping up great, the announcement of NVIDIA's crazy fast GeForce GTX 1070/1080 "Pascal" cards, and then tonight still we have some exciting AMD announcements on tap from Computex.

With all of the exciting events that took place this month, this month I wrote 304 original news articles (still keeping with my average of ~10 per day) and 23 featured Linux hardware reviews / multi-page articles. There's been a ton of good stuff this month but June is still looking bright as well. Looking forward to June, is turning 12 years old this weekend, it will be eight years since the release of Phoronix Test Suite 1.0, I'll finally have up the NVIDIA Pascal Linux results, AMD Radeon Rx 400 Polaris GPUs are expected to begin shipping, and the other routine exciting developments in the Linux/open-source software space.

Before getting to the most viewed articles on Phoronix this month, with the Phoronix birthday coming up on 5 June, just another friendly reminder there's hosting an incredible special this week with Phoronix turning 12! That Phoronix Premium club at the lowest-price ever offered gets you ad-free access to the site, multi-page articles on a single page, and more. It also allows for more Linux hardware reviews to occur in the future (such as today with having to order a GTX 1080 after my original promised review sample from NVIDIA seems to have fallen through). Only through Phoronix Premium members and by people viewing the site without ad-blockers (pay-per-impression advertisements is the primary source of revenue for Phoronix) am I able to continue working on the site (and related projects like the open-source Phoronix Test Suite and Phoromatic and 100+ hour weeks, 365 days per year. With less than 1% of our readers subscribing to the premium site, these reminders are sometimes frequent; thanks for your understanding and support.

The most popular news this month on Phoronix included:

The AMDGPU Additions For Linux 4.7 Are Enormous
More AMDGPU DRM driver changes have been queued up for the Linux 4.7 kernel merge window that's expected to open next week.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.8 Deprecates Btrfs
Buried within the notes for today's Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.8 release are a few interesting notes.

NVIDIA Linux Developers Don't Sound Too Happy About The ChromeOS Driver Approach
The discussion over NVIDIA's patches to Wayland has fired back up this week with NVIDIA and upstream Wayland developers seeing different views on the matter. In the latest email exchanges, a comparison to ChromeOS was brought up.

ReactOS 0.4.1 Is En Route For Open-Source Windows
For fans of ReactOS as a project long working on providing an open-source, drop-in-replacement for Windows, a new release is being prepared.

Valve Is Finally Releasing Dota 2 With Vulkan Support Very Soon
It has taken longer than anticipated, but it looks like Valve will be releasing Dota 2 with Vulkan API renderer support within the next week.

NVIDIA Is Making A Big Announcement Tomorrow
NVIDIA wants you to spend your Friday night with them, at least virtually. There's an exciting unveil tomorrow.

GNOME's Nautilus File Manager: "Its Best Moment Since It Was Created"
At various points in GNOME's history the Nautilus file manager has been less than maintained, but these days the situation is much brighter.

OpenWRT Gets Forked By Some Of Its Own Developers As LEDE Project
While the OpenWRT project is a very well known embedded Linux distribution primarily for network devices, a number of their own developers have decided to fork away from the project.

Six Interesting Features Of The Linux 4.6 Kernel
If all goes well before the day is through will be the release of the Linux 4.6 kernel. If you've been behind on your Phoronix readings the past few weeks, here are the highlights to look forward to with Linux 4.6.

ZFS Finally Lands In Debian
The latest Linux distribution seeing ZFS file-system packages officially added is none other than Debian.

The most popular May 2016 open-source/Linux news included:

NVIDIA vs. AMD OpenGL & Vulkan Benchmarks With Valve's Dota 2
Yesterday marked the public availability of Dota 2 with a Vulkan renderer after Valve had been showing it off for months. This is the second commercial Linux game (after The Talos Principle) to sport a Vulkan renderer and thus we were quite excited to see how this Dota 2 Vulkan DLC is performing for both NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards. Here are our initial Dota 2 benchmarks with Vulkan as well as OpenGL for reference when using the latest Linux graphics drivers on Ubuntu.

GCC 4.9 vs. GCC 5.3 vs. GCC 6.1 On A Debian Xeon E5 Linux System
Given the recent stable release of GCC 6 (GCC v6.1.0), here are some fresh compiler benchmarks on an Intel Debian x86_64 system when comparing the GCC 4.9.3, GCC 5.3.0, and GCC 6.1.0 compiler releases.

Dota 2 Vulkan vs. OpenGL Performance Redux
Earlier this week I published some Dota 2 Vulkan vs. OpenGL benchmarks with AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards under Linux. Since then I received some feedback from Valve with regards to Dota 2 on the Source 2 Engine testing along with a better demo to use for benchmarking and also using the latest Dota 2 Vulkan DLC updates. So here is a fresh look at the OpenGL vs. Vulkan performance for this popular Valve game on an assortment of NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards.

Intel Graphics Performance: Clear Linux vs. Xubuntu 16.04 LTS vs. Fedora 23 Xfce
With recent benchmarks showing Intel's Clear Linux distribution even being faster for Intel HD Graphics performance compared to other more common distributions like Ubuntu 16.04, I decided to run some more tests and also test Fedora 23 Xfce into the mix.

Linux 4.7 Brings A Plethora Of New Features
After a very exciting past two weeks, the merge window for Linux 4.7 is expected to close today. This was an action-packed merge window with a ton of new code being introduced. While I've already written dozens of posts on Phoronix about the changes that got me excited, here's my usual kernel feature overview. Here's a look at what's coming for Linux 4.7.

Radeon Linux 4.6 + Mesa 11.3 vs. NVIDIA Linux Performance & Perf-Per-Watt
Last week I published a 16-way NVIDIA GeForce performance comparison on Linux looking at the OpenGL performance evolution from the GeForce 9800GTX to the GeForce GTX 980 Ti / TITAN X, in getting ready to compare the long-term NVIDIA Linux performance to Pascal. This week I've done similar tests on the AMD Radeon side and compared these OpenGL performance and power consumption / performance-per-Watt numbers to NVIDIA.

Linux 4.7 CPUFreq Schedutil Testing vs. P-State
With the in-development Linux 4.7 kernel there is a new CPUFreq governor that leverages the kernel's scheduler utilization data in an attempt to make better decisions about adjusting the CPU's frequency / performance state. Here are some benchmarks of that new CPUFreq governor, Schedutil, compared to the other CPUFreq governors as well as the Intel P-State CPU frequency scaling driver.

Intel Is Preparing A Major Restructuring Of Their Graphics Driver
Intel is brewing a makeover of their graphics driver stack through a large restructuring and consolidating initiative that will be formally announced in the coming weeks.

AMDGPU-PRO Beta 2 vs. Mesa 11.3 + Linux 4.6: Very Competitive For Linux Gamers
Following last week's AMDGPU-PRO 16.20.3 "Beta 2" driver release of AMD's new hybrid driver stack for Linux that makes use of the AMDGPU open-source kernel DRM driver with the closed-source OpenGL driver derived from Catalyst / Radeon Software, I set out to do a fresh open vs. closed-source driver comparison. For the Radeon R9 285, R9 290, and R9 Fury, I compared the performance of this new AMDGPU-PRO driver against Mesa 11.3-devel Git and Linux 4.6 for the latest open-source driver stack.

With Pascal Ahead, A 16-Way Recap From NVIDIA's 9800 GTX To Maxwell
In preparing to hopefully test the GeForce GTX 1070/1080 "Pascal" graphics cards under Linux in the days ahead, I've been re-testing my collection of available NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards going back to the GeForce 9800GTX up through the Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 980 Ti and GTX TITAN X. Besides looking at the OpenGL performance at 1080p and 4K, I've also been recording the power metrics and performance-per-Watt data.
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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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