Mesa 21.0 Has Many New Features Especially For Radeon Open-Source Graphics

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 4 February 2021. Page 1 of 1. 6 Comments

With Mesa 21.0 releasing soon here is a look at the new features for this quarter's release of these open-source Vulkan / OpenGL driver implementations.

Mesa 21.0 is due to be released soon and will in turn work its way into the likes of the upcoming Ubuntu 21.04 and Fedora Workstation 34 releases. Among the highlights to find with Mesa 21.0 include:

Radeon Vulkan (RADV)

- Sparse memory support.

- Following the RadeonSI improvements, RADV also began adding AMD Smart Access Memory optimizations (Resizable BAR).

- Fragment shading rate support for RDNA 2.

- Performance improvements for RDNA 2 / RX 6000 series.

- Support for VK_VALVE_mutable_descriptor_type and other bits to satisfy the likes of running Cyberpunk 2077 on Linux with Steam Play.

- RADV ACO now supports Rapid Packed Math.

RadeonSI Gallium3D

- Faster Counter-Strike: GO performance.

- Radeon GPU profiler support (RGP).

- Smart Access Memory for Zen 3 and RDNA 2 GPUs. The Mesa L3 cache pinning was also updated for Zen 3 systems.

- HEVC SAO encode support.

- AV1 decode for RDNA 2 GPUs with the OpenMAX interface.

- Significant optimizations for SPECViewPerf and that work has continued into the 21.1 cycle too.

- Buffer modifier support made it.


- Early bits towards ultimately supporting ray-tracing with Xe HPG.

- Various Intel ANV and Intel Iris driver performance optimizations.

ARM / Embedded Drivers

- OpenGL 3.3 for Freedreno.

- AFBC for Bifrost GPUs with Panfrost for the Arm Frame-Buffer Compression.

- Broadcom / Raspberry Pi driver improvements.

- Wayland WSI support for the Broadcom V3DV Vulkan driver.

- OpenGL 3.1 for Panfrost with Arm Mali T70+ GPUs and OpenGL ES 3.0 for Panforst with G31/G52/G72 hardware.

Microsoft / Windows

- Microsoft added a SPIR-V to DXIL library within Mesa and focused initially on WebGPU support.

- Initial Direct3D 12 support for WSL.

- DXGI Winsys added.

Other Changes

- OpenGL 4.1 for Zink, the OpenGL on Vulkan implementation. Mesa 21.0 brought more Zink patches upstream.

- Upstreaming work for allowing Haiku OS to work with upstream Mesa 21.0 software rendering.

- Transform Feedback for Lavapipe and other improvements to that CPU-based Vulkan implementation.

- Classic OSMesa retired.

- More Clover OpenCL work.

- EGL_EXT_platform_xcb support.

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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