OpenGL vs. Vulkan On The AMD Ryzen 3

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 18 August 2017. Page 1 of 3. 54 Comments

We have previously looked at Vulkan vs. OpenGL Linux game CPU core scaling and Linux game scaling across multiple CPUs but at the time did not have a Ryzen 3 system. Now having Ryzen 3 Linux box, here is a look at how the Vulkan versus OpenGL performance compares on the low-end processor. As well, it's a fresh look at the NVIDIA vs. RadeonSI/RADV performance.

For this testing a Ryzen 3 1200 was used. This ~$110 USD processor is a quad-core CPU without SMT and has a 3.1GHz base frequency with 3.4GHz turbo. This is AMD's current lowest-cost Zen-based processor. I'll have more Ryzen 3 Linux gaming benchmarks this weekend while this article is just a look at the OpenGL vs. Vulkan performance.

Vulkan vs. OpenGL On AMD Ryzen 3

The NVIDIA 384.59 driver was used when testing a GeForce GTX 1060. Mesa 17.3-dev built against LLVM 6.0 SVN (via the Padoka PPA) was used while testing a RX 480 Polaris on the Radeon side. The Linux 4.13 kernel was used throughout the testing process. Ubuntu 17.04 x86_64 was running on the host system. Before getting to the results, first: yes, there was indeed a measurable CPU utilization difference on the Ryzen 3 between the games running with the Vulkan renderer and then OpenGL:

Vulkan vs. OpenGL On AMD Ryzen 3

That Phoronix Test Suite graph was generated when comparing OpenGL vs. Vulkan with Dota 2, Dawn of War III, and Mad Max on the GeForce GTX 1060. The Ryzen 3 1200 saw about 8% lower CPU utilization on average when using Vulkan. The peak CPU utilization during this Linux gaming session was also 6% lower with Vulkan.

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