AMDVLK vs. RADV Radeon Vulkan Driver Performance For Linux Gaming On Ubuntu 19.04

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 11 April 2019 at 10:38 AM EDT. Page 1 of 6. 32 Comments.

With the continuously evolving RADV Mesa Radeon Vulkan driver and near-weekly updates to the AMD's official "AMDVLK" open-source tree Vulkan driver, how are these competing AMD Vulkan Linux drivers comparing these days? As it's been a while since our last benchmarking comparison of the official AMDVLK driver against the open-source and more common/popular Mesa RADV driver, here are some fresh benchmarks of RADV from Mesa 19.0 on Ubuntu 19.04 as well as 19.1-devel compared to the latest AMDVLK driver code.

RADV tends to be the most common choice for Linux gamers when it comes to Radeon Vulkan driver support since that is what is shipped by default (or at least available via the standard archives) in Linux distributions due to being integrated in Mesa while the AMDVLK driver hasn't seen widespread availability amongst Linux distributions. But AMDVLK is the "official" AMD Vulkan driver developed by the company that shares sources with Windows and their proprietary drivers. The proprietary Vulkan driver still uses AMD's closed-source shader compiler with not yet migrating over to their open-source LLVM stack while RADV and AMDVLK both leverage LLVM for shader compilation. The proprietary AMD Vulkan driver wasn't tested this round since Radeon Software (AMDGPU-PRO) isn't yet supported by Ubuntu 19.04 nor is it likely to be supported soon since AMD doesn't tend to support the non-LTS releases these days with their hybrid driver model.

The Intel Core i9 9900K + ASUS PRIME Z390-A + 16GB RAM + Samsung 970 EVO 250GB NVMe SSD system was used for testing and the graphics cards for this Vulkan driver comparison were the Sapphire Radeon RX 590 and AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics cards. A daily snapshot of Ubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo was running on the i9-9900K box with the Linux 5.0 kernel and GNOME Shell 3.32.0 atop X.Org. RADV was tested both using its default Mesa 19.0.1 packages and then again via Mesa 19.1-devel provided by the Oibaf PPA. The AMDVLK release was using AMD's reference 2019Q1.9 driver build from last week.

Via the Phoronix Test Suite a range of Vulkan benchmarks were carried out both using native Linux games and Steam Play titles with Proton/DXVK.

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