25-Way NVIDIA/AMD Linux Graphics Comparison For Vulkan-Powered Thrones Of Britannia

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 10 May 2018. Page 1 of 6. 24 Comments

This week Mac/Linux game porting company released the Linux port of A Total War Saga: THRONES OF BRITANNIA, just two months after this game was released for Windows. With the Linux port of this strategy game the Vulkan API is being used for graphics rendering, which makes it interesting for benchmarking. Here is our extensive look at the performance of this major Linux game port when testing twenty-five different AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards to see how this game is performing on Ubuntu Linux.

With this Vulkan-powered Linux game port, the official system requirements from Feral Interactive come down to the Radeon R9 285 and GeForce GTX 680 as being a minimum while they recommend at least a Radeon RX 480 or GeForce GTX 970. The R9 285 minimum is due to needing Vulkan support which is only supported in combination with the AMDGPU DRM driver which is the default kernel driver for GCN 1.2 graphics cards and newer. I was able to get GCN 1.0 and GCN 1.1 Radeon graphics cards working fine with this game using the RADV Vulkan driver once switching from Radeon DRM to AMDGPU DRM. That switch can be made using the radeon.si_support=0 radeon.cik_support=0 amdgpu.si_support=1 amdgpu.cik_support=1 kernel parameters at boot time albeit not officially supported by Feral Interactive.

My Radeon testing the past few days has been using the Linux 4.17 kernel with Mesa 18.2-devel built against LLVM 7.0 SVN. The NVIDIA tests have been done using the NVIDIA 396.24 display driver. Feral officially says Mesa 18.0 and newer for RADV should be working for this game while the NVIDIA driver support should work going back to the 390 series. Of course, generally speaking, the newer the driver will yield the better Vulkan support and usually more performant, especially in the case of Mesa.

THRONES OF BRITANNIA on Linux has been performing very well. This Vulkan-powered port is working quite well even going back to the older graphics cards like the Radeon HD 7800/7900 series (when using AMDGPU) as well as lower-end Polaris parts like the RX 460/550/560. On the NVIDIA side it's been working fine too going back to Kepler which is as far back as there is Vulkan support.

In my testing of 25 different graphics cards I have not run into any rendering issues/glitches nor any crashes of the game during the extensive benchmarking process. The 25 graphics cards tested for this comparison included:

- GeForce GTX 680
- GeForce GTX 750 Ti
- GeForce GTX 760
- GeForce GTX 780 Ti
- GeForce GTX 950
- GeForce GTX 960
- GeForce GTX 980 Ti
- GeForce GTX 1050
- GeForce GTX 1060
- GeForce GTX 1070
- GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
- GeForce GTX 1080
- GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
- Radeon HD 7850
- Radeon HD 7950
- Radeon R9 270X
- Radeon R9 285
- Radeon R9 290
- Radeon RX 460
- Radeon RX 550
- Radeon RX 560
- Radeon RX 580
- Radeon R9 Fury
- Radeon RX Vega 56
- Radeon RX Vega 64

For a very extensive look at how A Total War Saga: THRONES OF BRITANNIA performs on Linux using the latest NVIDIA/AMD drivers on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and all testing from the same Core i7 8770K system.

25-Way NVIDIA/AMD Linux GPU Comparison - Feral Thrones of Britannia

All of this benchmarking was facilitated in a fully-automated and standardized manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software. Tests were done at a range of quality settings and at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K as well as looking at the per-frame timings in addition to the FPS data.

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