AMD Releases Radeon Software Linux Driver With Vulkan Ray-Tracing Support

Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 20 April 2021 at 08:45 AM EDT. 19 Comments
AMD Radeon graphics cards on Linux can finally enjoy Vulkan ray-tracing! AMD has published a new Radeon Software for Linux driver release that enables the Vulkan ray-tracing extensions for use with RDNA2 / Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards.

Since last November the Vulkan ray-tracing extensions were firmed up but due to the timing not jiving with the prior Radeon Software for Linux driver releases and then some last minute issues ended up holding up the Linux driver support. The AMD Radeon Software for Linux driver has been supporting Vulkan ray-tracing while now with today's Linux driver update these extensions are enabled.

Yes, Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards are a hard requirement for using the Vulkan ray-tracing support. And at this time the ray-tracing support is limited to the AMDGPU-PRO driver components... Hopefully soon AMD will at least work on posting the ray-tracing support for the open-source AMDVLK Vulkan driver but so far I haven't received confirmation on when they plan on enabling AMDVLK support for Vulkan RT. Meanwhile Mesa's RADV Vulkan driver is separately working towards Vulkan ray-tracing but will likely be some time before that is all ready there.

So long story short with today's Radeon Software (AMDGPU-PRO) packaged driver there is Vulkan ray-tracing for use with the latest Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs. I have benchmarks ongoing against NVIDIA and will likely have some initial data to publish later today looking at the Radeon Vulkan ray-tracing performance on Linux against NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20/30 hardware.

Vulkan ray-tracing support is the main addition with today's driver update along with official Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS support. The Radeon Software for Linux 21.10 driver is available at

Update: Initial Radeon vs. GeForce Vulkan Ray-Tracing Performance On Linux
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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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