The Performance Benefits To Running AMD's Radeon VII With Linux 5.0 + Mesa 19.0

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 7 February 2019. Page 5 of 5. 9 Comments

With the ParaView workstation visualization software using OpenGL, it was beneficial being on the very latest Linux 5.0 and Mesa 19.0 driver combination, or at the very least on Mesa 18.3.

The Java 2D rendering performance also benefited from being on at least Mesa 18.3.

If looking at the geometric mean of all the performance tests carried out of these different open-source Linux driver combinations, it basically reinforces that using the very latest Linux drivers on launch-day make sense. Well, at least to be using Mesa 19.0. Going for Linux 5.0 over Linux 4.20 didn't yield much in the way of performance differences, but on the feature front it's advisable to go with Linux 5.0 since there is the newly-added FreeSync/VRR capabilities on that kernel among other feature additions.

While the AMD Radeon VII will work on Mesa 18.2, particularly for OpenGL games/applications it's worthwhile at least upgrading to Mesa 18.3 if you do not want to yet switch over to Mesa 19.0 since it has yet to be declared stable. For a few games there were also stability issues on Mesa 18.2. Mesa 18.3 did fairly well with most of the graphics tests thrown at it on the Radeon VII. The Vulkan games did see some performance improvements out of the newer Mesa series, but not to the extent of the RadeonSI optimizations. Since the Mesa RADV Vulkan driver is developed outside the confines of AMD, it will be interesting to see what Vega 20 optimizations may come about as those independent developers get their hands on the hardware. It will also be interesting to see how the RADV Mesa performance compares to the open-source AMDVLK driver alternative - those tests plus other Radeon VII Linux benchmarks are coming up on Phoronix soon.

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Lastly, if you didn't already check it out, be sure to see our Radeon VII Linux review for plenty of graphics and compute benchmarks using the latest stack.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via TwitterLinkedIn,> or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.