Ubuntu 20.04 LTS vs. Linux 5.9 + Mesa 20.3-devel Radeon Graphics Performance

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 25 August 2020 at 10:45 AM EDT.

Now that the default graphics driver stack of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is a few months old, here is a look at the AMD Radeon Linux gaming performance of Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS out-of-the-box compared to upgrading against Linux 5.9 Git and Mesa 20.3-devel for seeing if the performance advantages are worthwhile in making the leap to the newer RadeonSI OpenGL and RADV Vulkan drivers paired with the very latest kernel.

Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS is making use still of the Linux 5.4 kernel and Mesa 20.0.8. Meanwhile the very latest development code is Linux 5.9 and Mesa 20.3-devel, which is easily deployable on Ubuntu by means of the Mainline Kernel PPA and Oibaf PPA for those wanting a bleeding-edge graphics driver stack. Those two sources were used for fetching the newest Mesa and kernel for this round of testing on an AMD Ryzen 9 3950X desktop.

Mesa 20.3   Linux 5.9 Radeon Gaming

On this system the graphics cards tested for this comparison included the Radeon RX Vega 56, Radeon RX 5600 XT, Radeon RX 5700 XT, and Radeon VII. Via the Phoronix Test Suite a wide range of OpenGL and Vulkan gaming benchmarks were carried out before/after the driver upgrades. A comparison of the latest AMDGPU + Mesa against AMDVLK and Radeon Software for Linux AMDGPU-PRO are also being worked on and some fresh benchmarks showing how the latest AMD Radeon Linux stack compares to the current NVIDIA GeForce line-up on their latest driver.

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