Radeon RX 6800 Series Linux Performance Nearly Three Months After Launch
Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 2 February 2021. Page 1 of 5. 37 Comments

Given the daily progress and changes made to the open-source AMDGPU Linux kernel driver and the Mesa drivers providing the open-source OpenGL (RadeonSI) and Vulkan (RADV) support, here is a look at how the Radeon RX 6800 series performance is currently for the latest Linux graphics driver code compared to the performance seen back on the November launch day for the Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT graphics cards.

Nearly three months since the Radeon RX 6800 series first shipped, this article is providing a current look at the open-source Linux graphics driver performance capabilities if opting for the very latest Linux kernel and Mesa 21.1-devel code for the bleeding-edge drivers. There was open-source launch day support for these RDNA 2 graphics cards on Linux but still in early form, some patches not yet mainlined like a Radeon RX 6800 fix/optimization, and then other work landing since to improve the Radeon RADV driver overall as well as targeted RDNA2 / GFX10.3 optimizations.

During this time we have also seen the Linux driver code begin to make use of AMD Smart Access Memory (Resizable BAR). With this system the latest BIOS as well that has brought improvements for the Smart Access Memory handling.

In this article are our original launch day numbers as seen when using the Linux 5.10 Git kernel and Mesa 20.3-devel built against AMDGPU LLVM 11.0 from the Oibaf PPA. The launch day testing there with the ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VIII HERO motherboard was on the 2311 BIOS. The latest stack now puts us on Linux 5.11 Git, Mesa 21.1-devel built against LLVM 11.0.1 from the Oibaf PPA, and BIOS 3202 on this same motherboard/system. The ROG CROSSHAIR VIII HERO WiFi was running with the Ryzen 9 5950X at stock speeds and other same components as the November launch day but now with the fully upgraded software stack.

This Linux 5.11 + Mesa 21.1-devel stack is also close to what will be found out-of-the-box in the likes of Ubuntu 21.04 this spring. With Ubuntu 21.04 it will likely be Linux 5.11 + Mesa 21.0, which on the Mesa side is still close to where 21.1-devel is at given the recent branching. Via the Phoronix Test Suite a variety of OpenGL and Vulkan benchmarks were carried out.

Besides the Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT, the RX 5700 XT and Radeon VII results are also included for reference purposes. Unfortunately I have no Radeon RX 6900 series graphics card for comparison at this point. For those wondering how this latest AMD Radeon graphics driver performance compares to the NVIDIA RTX 30 series on Linux, a fresh comparison is in the works.


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