15-Way OpenCL Comparison With NVIDIA On Linux, ROCm 1.6 For Radeon
Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 10 July 2017. Page 1 of 10. 9 Comments

Given the recent release of ROCm 1.6 and this being the OpenCL stack providing the exclusive compute support for Vega GPUs and newer, I ran some benchmarks of ROCm 1.6 on the various supported Radeon GPUs and compared them to different GeForce graphics cards atop NVIDIA's latest Linux driver release.

The ROCm 1.6 release is geared for Polaris, Fiji, and Vega families of graphics cards. Older GCN cards are not supported by the ROCm stack. Hawaii has previously worked with ROCm, but when trying ROCm 1.6 with the Radeon R9 290 I was just hitting corrupted screen output when booting the system, likely signaling some video memory problem and previously haven't encountered this with ROCm or the mainline driver stack for the R9 290. Another caveat was when booting the ROCm stack with the Radeon RX 550, it was falling back to using LLVMpipe, so this newer Polaris card doesn't appear to be supported yet by ROCm yet the RX 560 and RX 580 had worked fine.

The Radeon graphics cards I had available to test with and compatible with ROCm 1.6 with its patched Linux 4.9 KFD compute kernel included the Radeon RX 460, RX 480, RX 560, RX 580, and R9 Fury.

On the NVIDIA side their OpenCL Linux driver continues to support all GPUs going back to Fermi. The GPUs I then was able to test for this comparison was the GeForce GTX 780 Ti, GTX 960, GTX 970, GTX 980, GTX 980 Ti, GTX 1050, GTX 1060, GTX 1070, GTX 1080, and GTX 1080 Ti. The NVIDIA driver used for testing from the same Intel Core i7 7740X system was the NVIDIA 384.47 driver.

All of the OpenCL benchmarks were conducted via the Phoronix Test Suite, including some recent OpenCL test additions, in total consisting of SHOC, LuxMark, MixBench, DarkTable, ViennaCL, cl-mem, FAHbench, clpeak, Rodinia, Lulesh, XSBench, CoMD, and Ethereum Ethminer. System power consumption was also monitored via the Phoronix Test Suite using a WattsUp Pro AC USB-based power meter.

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