The Big Changes, Improvements Of Mesa 17.0

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 2 February 2017 at 08:00 AM EST. Page 1 of 1. 14 Comments.

Mesa 17.0 is due to be released this month and is the biggest feature release we've seen in quite a while for this 3D user-space driver stack. Here's a recap of the exciting changes to find with Mesa 17.0.

Formerly known as Mesa 13.1-devel prior to switching to a new year-based versioning system, Mesa 17.0 has a lot in store. Many of the highlights include:

- Intel Vulkan driver performance improvements, including HiZ improvements.

- The Intel ANV Vulkan driver now has Float64 support and tessellation shader support.

- RADV Vulkan driver now supports multiple device.

- The Intel Mesa driver has OpenGL 4.5 support for Intel Haswell hardware where as with Mesa 13.0 it was stuck to OpenGL 3.3.

- Support for some OpenGL extensions now part of a currently spec'ed OpenGL version, like ARB_transform_feedback_overflow_query (, ARB_post_depth_coverage, GL_INTEL_conservative_rasterization, and other post-OpenGL-4.5 work.

- The RadeonSI Gallium3D driver is now effectively conformant to OpenGL 4.5 CTS.

- RadeonSI improvements around compiling optimized shader variants asynchronously.

- Much improved Deus Ex: Mankind Divided performance on RadeonSI although more improvements are needed to make the game more playable.

- Other RadeonSI Linux gaming performance improvements.

- Maxwell hardware on Nouveau now has OpenGL 4.3 support.

- Significant Nouveau Maxwell performance improvements thanks to some instruction pipelining improvements.

- Etnaviv Gallium3D landed as the open-source OpenGL driver for Vivante graphics hardware. This is the 3D component to complement this community, reverse-engineered project that already has mainlined the Etnaviv DRM/KMS kernel driver in the mainline Linux tree. Etnaviv now has enough to expose OpenGL 2.0 and run ioquake3-era games.

- More debugging information can be exposed.

But what you won't find in Mesa 17.0 is the long-awaited OpenGL shader cache, AMD Vega open-source support, Pascal GTX 1000 series support that's still tied up by waiting on NVIDIA firmware blobs for the Nouveau kernel driver, and formal Nouveau OpenGL 4.5 support until they have completed the OpenGL CTS.

We've already done many benchmarks of Mesa 17.0/13.1-dev Git, including a 30+ way graphics card comparison, end-of-year open-source Radeon benchmarks, and many other tests. More though are still on the way though our focus is quickly shifting to Mesa 17.1-dev with the never-ending flow of interesting commits into Git.

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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