Mesa 18.2 Is On The Final Days Of Development With Many New Features Coming

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 26 July 2018 at 12:24 AM EDT. 4 Comments
Mesa 18.2 is going to be branched at the end of the month to mark the end of feature development for this quarterly Mesa feature release. This is a few weeks later than originally scheduled and has allowed for some extra features to land. Here is a look at some of the Mesa 18.2 changes on the way.

Among the new material for this Q3'2018 update to the Mesa open-source OpenGL/Vulkan graphics drivers include:

- New extensions for the RADV driver like 16-bit storage.

- OpenGL 4.4 compatibility profile support for the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver, a big update over the previous OpenGL 3.1 compat profile limitations. Besides helping out workstation applications and other select applications/games relying upon this alternative to the OpenGL core profile, it should help some games on Wine too.

- RADV also now has faster LLVM shader compilation as well as minor CPU overhead reductions.

- Various RadeonSI performance tweaks/optimizations over the span of various patches.

- The Mesa shader cache now supports RadeonSI compute shaders.

- RadeonSI EQAA anti-aliasing support.

- A performance boost for older AMD Kaveri APUs.

- Raven Ridge performance optimizations thanks to binning and other performance improvements particularly helping GFX9/Vega class graphics hardware.

- Vega 20 GPU support.

- Vulkan display extensions were merged for the ANV/RADV drivers with these extensions to be used by SteamVR on Linux. This is part of Keith Packard's long ongoing VR infrastructure improvements to Linux/X.Org/Mesa.

- Threaded OpenGL for the Intel i965 Mesa driver.

- The Intel ANV Vulkan driver now has 8-bit storage support and other Vulkan extension work.

- The ANV driver can now yield playable frame-rates for Skyrim with the DXVK layer on Wine thanks to various ANV improvements.

- Continued Intel work on OpenGL SPIR-V support albeit the necessary SPIR-V extensions for OpenGL 4.6 aren't ready in time for Mesa 18.2.

- Various NIR optimizations to this increasingly used intermediate representation by the different Mesa drivers.

- Various DXVK improvements.

- Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D has multi-sampled images support for Maxwell and newer.

- Freedreno performance counters for A5xx hardware.

- Better VirGL Gallium3D capabilities for OpenGL within guest VMs.

- The Gallium HUD has a new frametime graph capability.

- V3D Gallium3D is enabled by default for this driver formerly known as VC5. There have also been many OpenGL ES conformance and performance improvements too for this driver.

Overall quite an assortment of new OpenGL/Vulkan extensions, various performance optimizations, and a variety of other new features and enhancements. Mesa 18.2 will be branched at the start of August while the official stable debut is expected by the end of August if not held up by release delays. Stay tuned for more Mesa 3D benchmarks on Phoronix.
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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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