The New Features On Deck For Mesa 19.0: Vulkan Additions, FreeSync, Soft FP64 & More

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 28 January 2019 at 05:50 AM EST. 8 Comments
If all goes well, Mesa 19.0 will see its feature freeze this week and kick off the release process by the issuing of the first release candidate. Here's a look at some of what can be expected out of this Mesa3D quarterly feature update.

I'll have a more formal Mesa 19.0 feature overview next month when we're in the home stretch for the release, but among the prominent activity that comes to mind from our coverage of this development cycle so far includes:

- Intel ANV transform feedback support in their Vulkan driver for helping out efforts like DXVK.

- There have been other Intel Vulkan driver improvements too including conditional rendering, NIR caching, and other new extensions.

- Intel's current OpenGL driver meanwhile picked up better KHR_debug support for improved shader debugging.

- Soft FP64/INT64 was merged at long last for helping graphics drivers that lack ARB_gpu_shader_fp64 for their hardware to expose it in this software-implemented manner with shaders. The Intel driver supports this while the R600g or other drivers do not yet make use of it.

- FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync bits when paired with AMDGPU from Linux 5.0+ and obviously having a supported GPU and monitor.

- RadeonSI revived an AMD Zen CCX/thread optimization for the GLThread mode that may help Ryzen gaming performance.

- RadeonSI picked up a few random extensions that previously were not implemented but not mandated by any current OpenGL spec release. Sadly, OpenGL 4.6 support didn't make it in Mesa 19.0 for any driver.

- EGL_MESA_query_driver for helping EGL/Wayland systems be able to query driver options for things like a universal driver control panel.

- Some RadeonSI/RADV performance improvements.

- RADV Vulkan now has VK_EXT_memory_budget support as well as fixes to help DXVK (some of which were backported to Mesa 18.3).

- For Vega, RADV enabled primitive binning by default.

- Gallium Nine (D3D9) improvements.

- Faster S3TC decoding using LLVM.

- Lower memory use for Team Fortress 2 and potentially other games.

- Freedreno Gallium3D improvements for this reverse-engineered Qualcomm Adreno support, including old A2xx series work and even a NIR back-end for those original Adreno parts and this driver also finally has MSAA support for A6xx.

- Broadcom's VC4/V3D drivers has also seen new feature work.

- Autotools has been deprecated in favor of the Meson build system. Autotools could be dropped from the next release or two due to Meson that has better cross-platform support and paired with Ninja leads to faster build times.

Besides OpenGL 4.6 support not making it into any Mesa driver yet, this release didn't see the big Nouveau SPIR-V / OpenCL work land, and there hasn't been any call yet for merging the Intel "Iris" Gallium3D driver to mainline yet. Stay tuned for more details (and continued benchmarks) of Mesa 19.0 during February 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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