Radeon RX 6800 Series Has Excellent ROCm-Based OpenCL Performance On Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 18 November 2020. Page 1 of 6. 62 Comments

While Radeon Open eCosystem (ROCm) support wasn't a focus for the initial Radeon RX 5000 "Navi" graphics cards by AMD engineers, that is fortunately changing for both the RX 5000/6000 series moving forward. With the Radeon RX 6800 series there is at-launch support available with working OpenCL provided by the "ROCr" (runtime) path in their packaged driver. Now that we have looked at the Radeon RX 6800 Linux gaming performance here are some initial OpenCL compute benchmarks between NVIDIA and AMD Radeon on Linux.

The Radeon RX 6800 / RX 6800 XT OpenCL support is in good shape with the launch-day Radeon Software for Linux 20.45 packaged driver, Benchmarks on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS were carried out and going up against the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20/30 graphics cards with their latest proprietary driver. After Navi compute support on Linux being ignored up to now, it's good to see it coming together nicely for Big Navi.

While there are the multiple driver options for AMD Radeon GPUs when it comes to OpenGL/Vulkan support on Linux, as outlined in the prior article, fortunately there isn't that level of driver fragmentation on the OpenCL side. The only OpenCL support option right now is the ROCm-based OpenCL code path found in the packaged driver and presumably within the open-source ROCm repository shortly. (Well, there is also OpenCL support via Clover Gallium3D but that is still a work-in-progress and lacking OpenCL image support among other features... And isn't officially supported by AMD. There are also the various open-source projects like CLSPV for running OpenCL kernels atop Vulkan, but those too tend to be in early stages... So unlike the OpenGL/Vulkan AMD Linux driver and the multiple viable options, the ROCm OpenCL path is the de facto solution for now and far less confusing for Linux consumers.)

On the NVIDIA side was the NVIDIA 455.38 Linux driver providing OpenCL 1.2 support and tested were the GeForce RTX 2080, RTX 2080 SUPER, RTX 2080 Ti, TITAN RTX, and RTX 3080. As mentioned in the prior article, NVIDIA has not submitted any RTX 3070 / 3090 graphics cards for Linux testing at Phoronix, thus no comparison points there today but will hopefully see those other Ampere parts soon. On the Radeon side was the RX 5700, RX 5700 XT, Radeon VII, RX 6800, and RX 6800 XT off the 20.45 packaged driver providing OpenCL 2.0 support.

Via the Phoronix Test Suite a range of OpenCL compute benchmarks were carried out for this testing today. Additional Radeon RX 6800 series graphics and compute benchmarks coming up soon on Phoronix.


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