The Performance Advancements Of The Radeon Open-Source OpenGL/Vulkan Drivers Over 2019

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 22 December 2019 at 06:40 PM EST.

For the latest of our year-end tests is a look at how the RadeonSI OpenGL driver and RADV Vulkan driver performance has evolved since the end of 2018 for Linux gaming.

This comparison featured the same hardware tested under Ubuntu 18.10 for a representative end-of-2018 experience to then the latest driver stack using Ubuntu 19.10 and migrating to the Linux 5.5 Git kernel and Mesa 20.0-devel via the Oibaf PPA. Tests this year were done using a Radeon RX 580 Polaris and RX Vega 64 graphics cards given their support going back to the end of 2018, which obviously ruled out testing the likes of Navi or Vega 20 for this comparison. Additionally, the games/software tested were limited to OpenGL and Vulkan games working nicely going back to the end of 2018, thus ruling out some of the 2019 Linux game ports that required Mesa 19.x.

The same hardware was used and this basically amounts to a straight-forward look at how the OpenGL and Vulkan AMD Linux drivers within Mesa have evolved over the course of 2019. In the case of the RADV Vulkan driver, the end-of-2019 tests were done both out-of-the-box and then when enabling Valve's ACO compiler back-end alternative to AMDGPU LLVM, which can further help the gaming performance at large but is currently not enabled by default.

OpenGL 2018 vs. 2019 RadeonSI Linux AMD

Besides better performance, the RadeonSI OpenGL driver this year recently picked up OpenGL 4.6 support in Mesa 20.0-devel and with that also enabling NIR usage by default. Various new extensions are supported by both the AMD open-source OpenGL and Vulkan drivers.

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