Intel Arc Graphics A750/A770 Performance Ahead Of Linux 6.2 + Mesa 23.0

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 30 November 2022 at 03:30 PM EST. Page 1 of 4. 24 Comments.

Last month when the Intel Arc Graphics A750 and A770 reached retail availability, there was open-source support available for Linux users assuming you were on a new enough kernel and Mesa release plus having to activate the preliminary/experimental hardware support flag. In the time since the open-source Intel dGPU Linux graphics driver support has continued to mature and with the upcoming Linux 6.2 kernel is where DG2/Alchemist graphics have been promoted to stable / supported out-of-the-box. Given this milestone and the upstream Mesa code for the Intel ANV Vulkan and Iris Gallium3D drivers continuing to mature, here are some fresh benchmarks of the Intel Arc Graphics A750/A770 under Linux.

Most exciting is that with Linux 6.2, which is seeing its merge window open in mid-December while the official kernel release should be out in February, the Intel DG2/Alchemist graphics are formally declared stable. This means that while the support has worked on prior kernels, with Linux 6.2+ the pesky "i915.force_probe=" kernel option is no longer needed to force enable the "experimental" support. So with Linux 6.2+ and assuming on Mesa 22.2+ and having the necessary Intel GuC firmware support from linux-firmware, it's a smooth out-of-the-box experience. All of this should trickle into the H2'2023 Linux distribution releases like Ubuntu 23.04 for having a smooth out-of-the-box experience for Intel Arc Graphics.

Intel was late in promoting their DG2 Linux driver support until being sure the user-space API was solid along with other functionality. Sadly that dragged into the post-launch period and still the time left until Linux 6.2 stable is out, but at least this milestone is now being achieved. Also notable with Linux 6.2 for the Intel kernel graphics driver changes is getting the initial HWMON integration for Arc Graphics. This exposes the energy consumption of the graphics card with that sensor support previously not being exposed. However, the graphics card temperature monitoring isn't yet supported.

As covered in various recent Phoronix articles, the open-source OpenGL and Vulkan driver support for Intel graphics hardware continues to improve in Mesa Git. There have been more Vulkan extensions to be wired up, various fixes, and performance optimization work being carried out. Mesa 22.3 has various improvements over the Mesa 22.2 state while for the past few weeks now work is beginning to build up for Mesa 23.0 that will release next quarter -- likely within a few weeks of Linux 6.2 reaching stable.

Some Intel Mesa driver issues do remain for some games, but the open-source driver support continues maturing.

For today's Intel Arc Graphics testing I was using a custom kernel build of the DRM-Next state as of 22 November. This is the code that will be submitted next month for the Linux 6.2 merge window of the i915 kernel graphics driver changes. Indeed when booting up this kernel, no i915.force_probe option was required and both the Arc Graphics A750 and A770 were working out-of-the-box on this code going to mainline. On user-space side it was Mesa 23.0-devel from 23 November using the Oibaf PPA. Both the Arc Graphics A750 and A770 were freshly tested.

For comparison I ran fresh benchmarks on the NVIDIA side using its 525.53 driver with the GeForce RTX 3060 / RTX 3060 Ti / RTX 3070 / RTX 3070 Ti.

On the AMD Radeon side I was using Linux 6.2 Git (the DRM-Next kernel build was sadly hanging the system with AMDGPU whenever initializing any OpenGL/Vulkan game tested) and Mesa 23.0-devel like the Intel Arc Graphics tests. On the Radeon side I did some fresh runs of the Radeon RX 5700 XT, RX 6600, RX 6600 XT, RX 6700 XT, and RX 6750 XT for reference.

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