OpenGL 4.3 Lands For Maxwell With Nouveau Gallium3D, Plus 1.5~3.5x Performance Boost

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 12 January 2017 at 09:43 AM EST. 12 Comments
It should be a busy end of week for Mesa with the Mesa 17.0 feature freeze being this weekend. In addition to Haswell hitting OpenGL 4.2, Nouveau's NVC0 Gallium3D driver has enabled OpenGL 4.3 support for newer Maxwell and Pascal hardware.

With the Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D driver through Kepler it supports all the extensions needed for OpenGL 4.5 (though doesn't yet advertise "OpenGL 4.5" yet until clearing the OpenGL CTS) while the Maxwell and newer OpenGL support has been a step behind. With today's Git, the code for Maxwell and Pascal (even though the consumer GTX 1000 cards aren't yet supported) now go from OpenGL 4.1 to OpenGL 4.3.

The OpenGL 4.3 patches for this arrived back on Christmas and have now been reviewed and merged to Mesa Git in time for the 17.0 branching and feature freeze.

In addition to OpenGL 4.3 for the newer GPUs hitting Git, there is also a big performance boost for Maxwell as covered back in that Christmas article. Samuel Pitoiset has made some instruction pipelining improvements. The impact of this thousand lines of new code is explained as "will increase performance on Maxwell GPUs by, at least, x1.5 up to x3.5 for some benchmarks."

While a 1.5~3.5x boost is certainly welcome, keep in mind the Maxwell performance is very limited due to lacking re-clocking support as of Linux 4.10. Recent benchmarks in AMD & NVIDIA: Open vs. Closed-Source Driver Performance.

Exciting times for Nouveau! Fresh benchmarks coming. These were also the last patches by Samuel prior to joining Valve.
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