Mesa 21.3-rc1 Released With Improved Zink, Radeon Ray-Tracing, RADV NGG Culling

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 13 October 2021 at 04:26 PM EDT. 5 Comments
Mesa 21.3 feature development is now over with the code having been branched and the first release candidate issued.

Mesa 21.3 will be the last major feature release to this collection of open-source GPU drivers for 2021. Mesa 21.3 should debut in November if all goes well but until then will be weekly release candidates to help test out the new code that has accumulated over the past three months.

With Mesa 21.3, as usual, much of the driver excitement is around the open-source Radeon and Intel drivers for both OpenGL and Vulkan. But the Zink OpenGL-on-Vulkan code continues making exciting strides as do many of the smaller drivers. Some of the Mesa 21.3 highlights include:

- Radeon RADV ray-tracing support landed along with experimental shader-based ray-tracing for older Radeon GPUs. Note though that this RADV ray-tracing code hasn't yet been well optimized and the performance is likely to be slow and there may still be various game issues. In any case, at least it's finally maturing now in mainline.

- RADV now enables NGG culling (NGGC) by default for RDNA2 GPUs. With Mesa 21.2 this was an opt-in feature for helping the performance in some areas but is now enabled by default.

- OpenGL ES 3.2 is exposed for Zink. There is also many performance improvements and expanded game support for this OpenGL-on-Vulkan implementation.

- Numerous new Vulkan extensions are supported by Radeon RADV and Intel ANV.

- The Lavapipe software-based Vulkan driver has also been seeing a lot of work from new extensions to working anisotropic filtering support.

- OpenGL 4.5 compatibility context support for the LLVMpipe software driver. LLVMpipe also picked up FP16 support and other improvements.

Those are the major highlights of Mesa 21.3. My more thorough feature overview of Mesa 21.3 will come as the official release nears.

Mesa 21.3-rc1 can be downloaded from GitLab.
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