Mesa's RADV Radeon Vulkan Driver Continues Outperforming AMDVLK For RDNA2 Linux Gaming

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 28 June 2022 at 09:00 AM EDT. Page 1 of 6. 13 Comments.

With last week seeing AMDVLK 2022.Q2.3 released as an update to AMD's official open-source Vulkan Linux driver and it noting performance improvements, it was time for some fresh benchmarks of that driver up against Mesa's alternative "RADV" Vulkan driver. Here are some fresh benchmarks with an AMD RDNA2 GPU for seeing how RADV continues competing -- and usually outperforming -- AMD's own official open-source driver.

RADV as the Mesa Radeon Vulkan driver developed by engineers from Valve, Red Hat, Google, and other community contributors continues to be the most popular driver choice for AMD GPU owners. RADV enjoys continuous performance improvements thanks to the multiple parties working on it, with it being part of Mesa it's shipped by all of the major Linux distributions unlike AMDVLK, and with time it has proven to rival AMD's own official Vulkan driver.

AMDVLK continues seeing routine code drops from AMD as their official open-source Vulkan Linux driver derived from the same sources as their Windows/Linux proprietary Vulkan driver. But with AMDVLK using the LLVM AMDGPU shader compiler rather than their in-house proprietary shader compiler it continues to lack in some key areas such as no Vulkan ray-tracing support unlike their proprietary Windows/Linux driver. With AMDVLK 2022.Q2.3 having mentioned various game performance optimizations, I decided it was a good time to see how its performance compares to Mesa RADV.

For today's testing I used a Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card on an Ubuntu 22.04 Core i9 12900K desktop while testing Mesa 22.0.1 as shipped by Ubuntu 22.04 LTS, Mesa 22.2-dev as of last week obtained conveniently using the Oibaf PPA, and the AMDVLK 2022.Q3.3 driver package using the official AMD binaries that were released last week. No Radeon Software for Linux proprietary Vulkan driver testing was conducted for this article with AMD having yet to release a driver with official support for Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

Radeon Vulkan Drivers Mid-2022

A variety of Vulkan games were benchmarked including native/ported titles as well as Steam Play games making use of DXVK, etc. Let's see how these two AMD open-source Vulkan drivers currently compete while on the Linux 5.18 kernel.

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