Ahead Of Radeon RX Vega, AMDGPU+RadeonSI Is Offering The Most Competitive Performance Yet Against NVIDIA On Linux
With the Radeon RX Vega 56 and Vega 64 shipping in two weeks, here are some benchmarks of the latest Radeon and NVIDIA Linux graphics drivers with an assortment of modern GPUs. With these latest Linux GPU results are also the current performance-per-Watt and thermal metrics as recorded automatically via the Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software. This Radeon vs. NVIDIA Linux comparison should be particularly interesting given the very good Mesa Git performance results posted yesterday that show RadeonSI performing well beyond the AMDGPU-PRO OpenGL levels.
In preparation for my Radeon RX Vega Linux benchmarking, this week I've begun re-testing my available hardware on the very latest Linux driver configurations. The Radeon testing is happening with the Linux 4.13 kernel and Mesa Git, which recently branched to 17.3-devel and is built against AMDGPU LLVM 5.0 SVN when using the Padoka PPA. Tests were done on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS for this article. With the NVIDIA Linux testing is the recently-released 384.59 Linux driver.
The high-end AMD Radeon graphics cards tested for this comparison based upon the GPUs I have available were the Radeon R9 290, RX 480, RX 580, and R9 Fury. The NVIDIA graphics cards tested were the GeForce GTX 980, GTX 980 Ti, GTX 1060, GTX 1070, GTX 1080, and GTX 1080 Ti with having many more cards there than Radeon thanks to NVIDIA always sending out review samples. With the R9 290 testing, the AMDGPU DRM driver was selected rather than Radeon DRM due to ongoing performance issues with that particular card under the older kernel driver; the other AMD GPUs tested all use the AMDGPU DRM driver by default.
This article is focusing on OpenGL and Vulkan performance while fresh OpenCL benchmarks will be coming in a follow-up article shortly. The Phoronix Test Suite was monitoring the AC system power consumption using a WattsUp Pro and automatically monitoring the GPU core temperatures too, simply by setting the PERFORMANCE_PER_WATT=1 and MONITOR=sys.power,gpu.temp environment variables prior to running our open-source automated benchmarking software.
For those behind on their Phoronix reading and unsure what the Linux driver landscape looks like for Vega, read this weekend's piece on Linux Driver Expectations For The Radeon RX Vega. If you enjoy our frequent Linux graphics benchmark results, consider showing your support by subscribing to Phoronix Premium or making a PayPal tip. It's all the more important this time too as it looks like AMD sadly isn't sending out any Vega review samples for Linux testing thus I'll be battling for same-day ordering of Vega parts when available in order to carry out our array of Linux benchmarks. Thanks for your support in my Linux hardware testing adventures since 2004.