Rise of the Tomb Raider Linux Performance On AMD Radeon GPUs

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 19 April 2018. Page 1 of 4. 34 Comments

Yesterday Feral announced that the long-awaited Linux release of Rise of the Tomb Raider would be coming tomorrow and now they have honored that release. Rise of the Tomb Raider is now natively available for Linux and this port is exclusively relying upon the Vulkan graphics API for rendering. Here are our initial benchmarks of Rise of the Tomb Raider on Linux with Radeon GPUs while making use of the Mesa RADV driver.

I started my testing of Rise of the Tomb Raider yesterday and have tested the prominent AMD GCN graphics cards thus far. Coming out later today will be the AMD vs. NVIDIA graphics results to really put all these numbers into perspective, but for the morning launch, the Radeon numbers were completed in time. The handful of Radeon graphics cards from Vega to GCN 1.0 were tested while using the Linux 4.16 kernel and Mesa 18.1-dev from the Padoka PPA on Ubuntu 17.10.

Long story short, my experience thus far has been great using RADV for launch day with Rise of the Tomb Raider. This game's Linux performance has been good and the visuals are great -- a nice upgrade from Feral's earlier OpenGL-using Tomb Raider port.

The Official System Requirements

The minimum system requirements for this Linux port are an AMD Radeon R9 285 or GeForce GTX 680. On the NVIDIA side they require at least the NVIDIA 396.18 driver that is currently in beta. With Radeon GPUs for RADV they recommend Mesa 17.3.5 and newer.

Feral recommends though a GeForce GTX 980 series graphics card or better for the best experience playing this Vulkan game port.

GCN 1.0 / GCN 1.1 Support

Feral explicitly lists AMD GCN 1.0/1.1 GPUs as not supported, but that's usual with their titles since by default those older GCN GPUs use the Radeon DRM driver rather than AMDGPU DRM that is compatible with the RADV code. Those daring can boot their system with amdgpu.si_support=1 amdgpu.cik_support=1 radeon.si_support=0 radeon.cik_support=0 to force GCN 1.0/1.1 Southern Islands and Sea Islands GPUs to use AMDGPU DRM and with that RADV should then work.

I did test a few GCN 1.0 and GCN 1.1 cards with Mesa 18.1-dev and Rise of the Tomb Raider and it actually worked out fine. For some past game launches there were a few snags, but this time around with my graphics cards tested it was working fine on Mesa Git.


Thanks to Feral Interactive for contributing the new test profile and ensuring that this Linux port could be benchmarked nicely in a fully-automated and reproducible manner.

Performance Against Windows?

I have not yet had the time to carry out any Linux vs. Windows performance tests for this latest Linux game port, but the performance sounds like it should be pretty reasonable... It sounds like gamers should find roughly 80% or better the performance under Linux as how the game runs natively on Windows, but in some scenarios, the Linux performance may end up being even better than Windows. Cross-platform tests will happen as time allows.

Rise of the Tomb Raider Radeon RADV Linux Benchmarks

The AMDGPU+RADV Benchmarks Today

Anyhow, for launch day from the Core i7 8700K box running Ubuntu 17.10 this round were these benchmarks from a range of Radeon GPUs while using Linux 4.16.2 and Mesa 18.1-dev from the Padoka PPA this week. The Intel P-State performance governor was being used. The tested graphics cards came down to the:

- Radeon HD 7950
- Radeon R9 285
- Radeon R9 290
- Radeon RX 560
- Radeon RX 580
- Radeon R9 Fury
- Radeon RX Vega 56
- Radeon RX Vega 64

Again, I should have out comparison numbers to NVIDIA later in the day due to only getting access to the game yesterday while also prepping for today's Ryzen+ launch as well and also battling the flu. All of these benchmarks were carried out in a fully-automated, reproducible, and standardized manner using the Phoronix Test Suite. Tests were done at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K with a variety of visual settings. The benchmark mode provides three distinct scenes as part of the standard testing process. Thanks again to Feral Interactive for providing this review key and early access to the game.

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