Mesa's RADV Vulkan Driver Holds A Narrowing Lead Over AMDVLK With Ubuntu 21.10 On Wayland
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 30 December 2021. Page 1 of 4. 30 Comments

AMD this week released AMDVLK 2021.Q4.3 as their last open-source Vulkan driver version of the year and with it came finally fixing the poor performance seen by that driver when running under Wayland such as with Ubuntu 21.04 and newer. Indeed, my tests have confirmed the AMDVLK performance now being in far better shape under Wayland, but is it enough to better compete now with Mesa's RADV alternative Vulkan driver? Here are fresh benchmarks.

This week's AMDVLK 2021.Q4.3 release does work much better now such as with Ubuntu 21.10 where GNOME on Wayland is used by default. It's a huge improvement for running AMDVLK on Wayland compositors and good news ahead of the all-important Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

AMD continues to just officially support AMDVLK on the enterprise Linux distributions like Ubuntu 20.04 LTS where the X.Org based session remains the default, which is why it took them so long to fix up this Wayland support only affecting newer Ubuntu releases out of the box.

In today's article is a look at that new AMDVLK 2021.Q4.3 driver release benchmarked against Mesa 22.0-dev's RADV driver. RADV within Mesa remains the popular open-source Radeon Vulkan driver by Linux gamers and is the Vulkan driver that Valve and other community members have been focusing their contributions on. AMDVLK meanwhile is the driver derived from AMD's proprietary Vulkan Windows/Linux driver sources but built against the open-source AMDGPU LLVM shader compiler back-end. Among other differences, AMDVLK does not support Vulkan ray-tracing while the proprietary Linux/Windows drivers do (and separately, even experimental RT within RADV).

In this article the AMDVLK 2021.Q4.3 and Mesa 22.0-devel RADV drivers were tested while running the Linux 5.16 Git kernel on Ubuntu 21.10 with the default GNOME Shell Wayland session, such as what it will be for next spring's Ubuntu 22.04 release. An AMD Radeon RX 6800 graphics card was the focus of this round of benchmarking for the latest-generation RDNA2 Navi open-source support tested across a variety of native Vulkan Linux games/benchmarks as well as various Windows games running on Linux through Valve's Steam Play (Proton) and mapping Direct3D to Vulkan with DXVK.

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