AMD Isn't Done Yet Optimizing The Mesa RadeonSI Driver For Workstation OpenGL

Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 17 August 2023 at 01:03 PM EDT. 20 Comments
While over the past several years AMD landed numerous significant improvements to their RadeonSI driver for benefiting OpenGL workstation use-cases, that quest isn't yet over and more optimizations continue to be pursued. There are additional optimizations on the horizon for the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver for benefiting OpenGL on Linux workstations.

It used to be that the proprietary AMD OpenGL driver stack was great for workstation users and that the open-source driver was more for enthusiasts and gamers. That's no longer the case and their proprietary OpenGL driver on Linux has been treated as legacy for some time. With all the workstation-focused Mesa optimizations in recent years by AMD developers, the open-source driver performance is great for workstations. I've shown that last year in Open-Source AMD Radeon Linux Graphics In Great Shape For Workstations, Handily Beating Proprietary Driver and most recently in AMD Radeon PRO W7500/W7600 Deliver Great Open-Source Linux Performance At Launch.

AMD Radeon PRO RDNA3 graphics cards

With being an open-source and upstreamed driver stack it's also led to extended support compared to the proprietary world: How The Radeon Professional Graphics Performance Changed Over 13 Years was made possible with decade old graphics cards still able to run on the latest Linux kernel and Mesa code.

SPECViewPerf on Linux

While much of the workstation OpenGL optimization effort has leveled off with RadeonSI hitting parity to the proprietary driver and more enterprise/workstation vendors beginning to finally transition to Vulkan, an enticing Mesa merge request was recently opened. Well known RadeonSI developer Marek Olšák opened this MR with RadeonSI changes to lower the CPU overhead and many cleanups. Marek noted there:
"This makes small improvements to our viewperf results. In particular, the VP2020/catiav5test3 test is improved by 13%, and VP13/sw has small improvements around 3%. Other results are noise.

Also there is a large performance improvement from enabling shader culling on Navi3x, especially for Viewperf."

So the game isn't over yet. A portion of those changes were merged today for Mesa 23.3. This set of 38 patches made its way out today from that larger MR with now having all that reviewed code upstream. Hopefully the rest will finish being reviewed in time for the Mesa 23.3 feature release due out in mid to late Q4.
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Michael Larabel

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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