Mesa 17.3 Features - Vulkan Updates, Better Performance

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 6 November 2017 at 07:00 AM EST. Page 1 of 1. Add A Comment.

Mesa 17.3 is due out in the days ahead as the Q4'2017 installment of Mesa 3D for delivering the updated open-source OpenGL and Vulkan driver stacks for Linux and other platforms. As usual, this quarterly update to Mesa introduces a ton of new features, performance improvements, and other enhancements.

The one sentence explanation of Mesa 17.3 is that there's lots of ANV/RADV Vulkan driver progress, many RADV/RadeonSI performance optimizations, and Mesa is nearly to OpenGL 4.6 support but didn't make it for this quarter. Some of the highlights for Mesa 17.3 that will be released soon includes:

- S3TC support in Mesa Git at long last now that the S3 Texture Compression patent expired last month.

- Generally the RADV Radeon Vulkan performance is much higher and other features have landed like its own on-disk cache.

- RadeonSI has also continued to evolve and its performance is much closer to that of NVIDIA on Linux. Some work that's landed include various game optimizations and out-of-order rasterization for Vega. Memory objects support also made it into RadeonSI.

- Mesa 17.3 with Intel i965 and RadeonSI is close to supporting OpenGL 4.6 with some of the new extensions being present but the SPIR-V ingestion being the big area that didn't land in time.

- Experimental NIR support in RadeonSI as part of their SPIR-V effort.

- On the RADV side is also many Vega/GFX9 fixes and improvements for better handling the Radeon RX Vega series.

- Intel's ANV Vulkan driver has been prepping for Android support.

- The ANV Vulkan driver has also landed support for some new extensions like VK_EXT_debug_report.

- Global priority support for RADV via VK_EXT_global_priority that is needed for the latest SteamVR on Linux. On the kernel side this RADV functionality needs to be paired with Linux 4.15+.

- Intel meanwhile landed their EGL context priority support for allowing EGL contexts to be created with a higher priority. That too will need Linux 4.15 for the i915 DRM bits in place.

- The Etnaviv Gallium3D driver for reverse-engineered Vivante graphics now supports OpenGL 2.0 and just recently finished up the bits for OpenGL 2.1.

- More glthread game white-listing.

- Initial VC5 Gallium3D upbringing for the next-gen Broadcom graphics hardware but it doesn't yet work with any kernel/DRM driver but is just being developed on the simulator initially.

- Initial Meson support for this new build system and it's beginning to work out nicely for Mesa 3D developers.

Mesa 17.3 is up to quite a massive code-base with tons of developers thanks to all the major hardware and software players in the Linux space. Mesa 17.3 will be released in the days ahead while Mesa 18.0 will come in early 2018 as the next quarterly feature update. Stay tuned for more Mesa benchmarks in the days ahead.

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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