Mesa 19.3 Is Introducing A Lot Of Open-Source OpenGL + Vulkan Driver Improvements

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 10 December 2019 at 09:20 AM EST. Page 1 of 1. 8 Comments.

Mesa 19.3 could be released as soon as this week after being challenged by several delays over blocker bugs. This release should be making it out in the days ahead and is a fantastic Christmas gift to Linux desktop users and a big step-up for these OpenGL / Vulkan driver implementations as we end out 2019.

Among the many changes to find with this quarterly Mesa3D update are finally having OpenGL 4.6 for Intel, initial Intel Gen12/Tigerlake support, Zink was merged for OpenGL on top of Vulkan, Radeon Vulkan ACO back-end added for better Linux gaming performance, many new Vulkan extensions supported on both the Intel and Radeon drivers, the Intel Gallium3D driver is now in excellent shape, there are more Intel performance optimizations, and a lot of other changes throughout.

Some of the biggest changes for Mesa 19.3 include:

- OpenGL 4.6 support for Intel i965/Iris drivers now that SPIR-V support is in place.

- Various other non-core OpenGL extensions added to various drivers.

- A number of new Vulkan extensions supported by Intel ANV and Radeon RADV like KHR_shader_clock, KHR_shader_float_controls, SPIR-V 1.4 support, Vulkan Memory Model, shader_subgroup_ballot / shader_subgroup_vote, and more.

- Initial support for Intel Tiger Lake (Gen 12) graphics, initial kernel support meanwhile in Linux 5.4.

- The ACO shader compiler back-end for Radeon RADV is now present for GFX8 through GFX10 Navi hardware. RADV ACO can be enabled with the "RADV_PERFTEST=aco" environment variable.

- Better Intel Gallium3D driver performance to the point it can nearly replace the i965 driver once some lingering bugs are worked out. Mesa 20.0 is the planned stage for switching the default drivers for Broadwell hardware and newer.

- RadeonSI video decode improvements like 8K decode for HEVC/H.265 and VP9.

- Navi 14 support within the RadeonSI driver (RADV had support in 19.2).

- RADV secure compile support as a new feature being worked on by Valve.

- The SCons build system has been deprecated for non-Windows platforms with an effort of better embracing the Meson build system on Mesa.

- The AMD code supports using the new AMDGPU reset kernel interface.

- Zink was merged for providing basic OpenGL over Vulkan support within Gallium3D.

- TURNIP Vulkan driver improvements.

- Better AMD Radeon APU performance.

- Lima Gallium3D driver improvements along with continued work on Panfrost for open-source Mali graphics.

- Raspberry Pi 4 V3D is nearly handling OpenGL ES 3.1.

- Nouveau SPIR-V support in working towards eventual OpenCL support with Clover.

- A big Gallium3D NIR clean-up in nursing the RadeonSI driver towards eventually enabling NIR by default and in turn flipping on OpenGL 4.6 (pending in Mesa 20.0-devel but NIR isn't yet turned on by default).

- Compute shaders for LLVMpipe and other enhancements to this software rasterizer.

- The Mesa shader disk cache now caters to modern 4+ core systems.

Look for Mesa 19.3.0 to be released in the very near future.

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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