Upgrading Ubuntu 22.04's Kernel & Mesa For Better AMD RDNA2 Performance

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 1 June 2022. Page 1 of 5. 23 Comments

While Ubuntu 22.04 LTS was just released over one month ago, it is shipping on the Linux 5.15 kernel that was already two stable series behind at release time but chosen as the default due to its long-term support status. Ubuntu 22.04 also shipped with Mesa 22.0 as the latest stable version albeit the open-source OpenGL/Vulkan graphics drivers are quick to advance. So if you've been thinking about upgrading Mesa or the Linux kernel on your Ubuntu 22.04 system for better Linux gaming performance, here are some benchmarks looking at such performance impact for AMD RDNA2 / Radeon RX 6000 series graphics.

Using the AMD Radeon RX 6750 XT that launched last month, I ran a set of graphics/gaming benchmarks on it across a number of different Ubuntu 22.04 configurations. Those configurations tested from an Intel Core i9 12900K Alder Lake system included:

Linux 5.15 + Mesa 22.0.1 - The current default setup for Ubuntu 22.04 LTS out-of-the-box.

Linux 5.15 + Mesa 22.2-dev - Sticking to the default kernel but using the Oibaf PPA to easily switch over to Mesa 22.1-dev for the newest RadeonSI Gallium3D and RADV Vulkan driver support.

Linux 5.17 + Mesa 22.2-dev - Also upgrading to the Linux 5.17 kernel while using the Oibaf PPA for the newest drivers. Linux 5.17 is available as an HWE kernel on Ubuntu 22.04 or easily obtained from the Ubuntu Mainline PPA.

Linux 5.18 + Mesa 22.2-dev - Using the latest Linux 5.18 Git state as of testing paired with Mesa 22.2-dev for seeing how the performance is looking on that very freshest kernel/user-space driver stack.

Radeon RX 6750 XT Linux Driver Comparison

From there a wide variety of different Linux gaming benchmarks were carried out both for native titles and through Steam Play for helping you to gauge whether upgrading your kernel and/or Mesa may be worthwhile on Ubuntu 22.04 if using the latest generation Radeon RX 6000 series / RDNA2 graphics.

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