AMDVLK vs. RADV vs. AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 Vulkan Performance
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 24 December 2017. Page 1 of 4. 74 Comments

With AMD's release on Friday of the long-awaited open-source "AMDVLK" Radeon Vulkan driver here are our initial benchmarks of this official Radeon open-source Vulkan driver compared to the unofficial RADV Mesa-based Vulkan driver and the similar AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 closed-source Vulkan driver.

This is the first of several upcoming articles looking at the AMDVLK Vulkan performance. In my tests so far of AMDVLK, its been working out fairly well when using Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS. Ubuntu 16.04.3 and RHEL 7.4 are the currently supported Linux distributions; if you are using newer distribution releases, at the moment there are a few compatibility issues with GCC7 and the like, but these initial pains of being newly open-sourced should be overcome in time. Likewise, building AMDVLK right now needs to be done against its own copy of LLVM rather than upstream LLVM.

The AMDVLK code as of Friday was used for testing on a Radeon RX 580 and RX Vega 64 graphics cards. On the RADV side Mesa 17.4-dev built against LLVM 6.0 SVN from the Padoka PPA was used for this round of benchmarking.

AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 was also included in this comparison. The Vulkan drivers of AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 and AMDVLK are derived from the code-base, but the current state of AMDVLK is a few weeks newer than what's found in AMDGPU-PRO. Additionally, between AMDGPU-PRO and AMDVLK is a different shader compiler stack. With the open-source AMDVLK driver it's using its LLVM-based shader compiler unlike the internal closed-source Vulkan driver.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the AMDVLK performance evolves moving forward as well as if RADV is able to squeeze any greater performance into its unofficial Mesa driver with now being able to dive into the AMDVLK code.

For additional reference with these Vulkan numbers are also GeForce GTX 1060 and GTX 1080 TI results when using the NVIDIA 387.34 driver for seeing how the performance roughly compares on the green side. All tests were done on this same Intel Core i7 8700K + Ubuntu 16.04 LTS system with the Phoronix Test Suite.

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