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The RADV Radeon Vulkan Driver Performance Over 2018
As the latest from our year-end Linux benchmarks, here are tests when seeing how Mesa's RADV open-source Radeon Vulkan driver performance has evolved for Linux gaming. With a Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics card, the performance was looked at from Mesa 17.3 through Mesa 19.0-devel for showing the driver's evolution.
The RADV Vulkan driver continued maturing a lot this year with support for countless new features, many fixes, improved support/performance particularly for GFX9/Vega, and countless optimizations thanks to Valve's developers, Bas at Google, David at Red Hat, and the others involved in maintaining the RADV Mesa driver as an alternative to AMD's official Vulkan Linux driver options.
For showing how the performance has evolved for 2018, I benchmarked Mesa 17.3.9, Mesa 18.0.5, Mesa 18.2.7, Mesa 18.3.1, and Mesa 19.0-devel on the same system while testing with a RX Vega 64 graphics card and running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. (Yes, Mesa 18.1 is missing from the comparison as when running the Mesa 18.1 branch it was yielding bad graphical corruption but fortunately running fine on the newer/older branches.) I didn't go further past Mesa 17.3 due to the older RADV driver builds not working with many of the newer Vulkan games. The latest AMDGPU LLVM supported by each release were used when building Mesa: LLVM 6.0 for 17.3/18.0 and LLVM 8.0 for Mesa 18.2 and newer.
All of these Radeon Vulkan benchmarks were carried out using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite. Similar RadeonSI OpenGL benchmarks showing its progress over the past year will be coming up on Phoronix in a separate article in the days ahead.