The Current Intel Arc Graphics Linux Gaming Performance On Linux 6.2 + Mesa 23.1-dev

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 20 March 2023 at 01:00 PM EDT. Page 1 of 5. 21 Comments.

Last week I shared my findings over the great state of Intel's open-source compute stack for Arc Graphics now that the DG2/Alchemist support was promoted to stable in Linux 6.2 and the Compute-Runtime user-space stack for OpenCL and Level Zero is back to seeing regular updates with that code having matured particularly well. Here is a brief look at the current state of the Linux gaming performance for Arc Graphics on Linux 6.2 and making use of the latest Mesa 23.1-devel OpenGL and Vulkan drivers.

Intel Arc Graphics Alchemist GPUs

With Linux 6.2+ having promoted the DG2/Alchemist support, no module parameters are needed to enjoy an accelerated out-of-the-box experience with the Intel Arc Graphics assuming you are on the new kernel, have the necessary firmware support, and using a recent Mesa snapshot. On the Mesa side it's certainly recommended to be using the Mesa 23.0 stable series at least for the best Iris Gallium3D (OpenGL) and ANV (Vulkan) driver support. With Mesa 23.1-devel there continues being more improvements to the Intel open-source driver code, especially on the Vulkan driver side.

Intel Arc Graphics A750 Alchemist GPU

For Linux gamers one of the main limitations does still, sadly, remain. As of writing there is still no sparse residency support for the ANV driver that in turn prevents many newer Windows games from working with the Intel graphics driver. The Vulkan sparse residency functionality is needed by VKD3D-Proton with Valve's Steam Play for running many modern D3D12 Feature Level 12_0 and higher games. Many modern games need this functionality that isn't yet wired up. See this ticket for more details and some of the games impacted. This just isn't contingent upon new Mesa code but first the Intel kernel driver's VM_BIND functionality needs to land, for which we'll be waiting until at least the Linux 6.4 cycle to see that happen, and then after that the Mesa code can be equipped to make use of it. So far there appears to be no public ETA for when these pieces will be wired up but hopefully it will happen this year.

Over in kernel space, Intel engineers continue feverishly working on the new "Xe" kernel mode driver as the new and modern driver alternative for the long-used i915 kernel driver. The Xe kernel driver will hopefully be mainlined this year for use on Gen12 graphics and newer that in turn should help driver some performance/efficiency enhancements and other benefits over the longer-term for Intel's Linux graphics driver stack.

Due to waiting on the sparse residency support for allowing more games to work properly on Intel Linux graphics as well as seeing what more is coming for the Mesa 23.1 cycle, this article is just a quick round of Linux gaming tests. The Intel Arc Graphics A380, A750, and A770 discrete graphics cards were tested against the AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT, RX 6600, RX 6600 XT, and RX 6700 XT on the AMD side. On the NVIDIA side was the GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER, RTX 2060, and RTX 3060 graphics cards. The open-source AMD and Intel graphics driver stack was Linux 6.2 + Mesa 23.1-devel as of testing in early March while on the NVIDIA sidw was the 530.30.62 beta driver release.

Intel Arc Linux Gaming

All this testing happened from the usual AMD Ryzen 9 7950X test system and firing up a few different native Linux games and Steam Play for a quick look at how the performance is looking.

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