Radeon's Open-Source Linux GPU Driver Has Nearly Caught Up With Windows' Driver

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 7 June 2017 at 10:29 AM EDT. Page 1 of 4. 104 Comments.

Over the past few months we have seen some incredible progress made to the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver as well as AMDGPU (and the RADV Vulkan driver, though not the focus of today's article) as well as the Mesa 3D stack as a whole. The open-source Radeon Linux driver is much faster now than where it was last year and is becoming competitive with NVIDIA's Linux driver performance. For seeing how close the AMDGPU+RadeonSI stack is now to Windows, here are some fresh benchmarks.

Overall, the open-source Radeon driver stack is finally closing in on the Windows 10 Radeon Software performance for being able to deliver roughly the same performance potential on both platforms... Of course, NVIDIA's proprietary driver stack has been capable of doing the same features and performance across Windows / BSD / Solaris / Linux for as long as I can possibly remember, but Radeon hasn't been in the same boat. It wasn't too far back that AMD developers were hoping to just get 80~90% of the performance of their Windows/proprietary drivers. The Radeon performance for Linux vs. Windows is looking good now with the newest code, but there are also features lacking like a number of display-related features being blocked by DC/DAL, there not yet being any Radeon Software Settings for Linux, etc. But hopefully more of these features will be to parity in the not too distant future.

The Windows 10 Pro x64 tests were done with the updated Windows installation running Radeon Software 17.5.2 as the latest available for testing. On the Linux side was Ubuntu 17.04 x86_64 upgraded to the Linux 4.12 Git kernel and Mesa 17.2-dev built against AMDGPU LLVM 5.0 SVN via the Padoka PPA.

The tests for this quick fresh look at Windows vs. Linux is primarily of test cases known to be of similar quality under Windows and Linux, based upon past testing with NVIDIA, etc. There's also two Feral ports tossed in for some additional reference. Vulkan isn't being looked at in this article. A larger comparison will be coming later.

Windows 10 vs. Linux 4.12 / Mesa 17.2-dev RadeonSI

All tests were done from the same Intel Core i7 7700K system and the graphics cards used for testing was a Radeon RX 580 and R9 Fury.

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