NVIDIA vs. Radeon VDPAU Mesa 17.2 Video Decode Performance

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 26 May 2017. Page 1 of 4. 37 Comments

In yesterday's GeForce GT 1030 Linux review, a $70 USD graphics card that's low-profile and passively-cooled, I featured a number of NVIDIA VDPAU video acceleration benchmarks. But a question came up about Radeon VDPAU performance, so here are some benchmarks on that front, but they are far from ideal.

Radeon GPUs were left out from the VDPAU results in yesterday's review since the VDPAU state tracker has been problematic in my past tests and left a lot to be desired. Additionally, the latest AMD GPUs aren't serious offerings for Linux HTPC/Kodi systems until the AMDGPU DC (DAL) display stack finally lands... Assuming you are using a newer TV. Without the yet-to-be-merged DC code, there still is no HDMI/DisplayPort audio capability. The best case scenario is we'll see AMDGPU DC for Linux 4.13, but that isn't definitive yet. It's a pity as a card like the Radeon RX 550 could otherwise be used nicely as a media box, but only if you don't rely upon HDMI/DP audio or instead are one of the few using the AMDGPU-PRO hybrid binary driver or building your own custom kernel with DC.

Anyhow, using Mesa 17.2-dev as of this week via the Padoka PPA, I ran some Radeon VDPAU comparison tests with the mesa-vdpau-drivers being provided by the Padoka PPA with the VDPAU state tracker supporting Radeon's UVD capabilities. Tests were done from the Linux 4.12 kernel. GPUs compared to NVIDIA on the 381.22 driver included:

- GeForce GTX 460
- GeForce GTX 650
- GeForce GTX 750
- GeForce GTX 760
- GeForce GTX 950
- GeForce GT 1030
- GeForce GTX 1050
- GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
- GeForce GTX 1060
- GeForce GTX 1070
- Radeon R7 260X
- Radeon R9 285
- Radeon R7 370
- Radeon RX 460
- Radeon RX 550
- Radeon RX 560
- Radeon RX 580
- Radeon R9 Fury

Tests were done using qvdpautest via the Phoronix Test Suite.

NVIDIA vs. Radeon VDPAU Testing

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