The New Features Of Mesa 17.2
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 31 July 2017. Page 1 of 1. 6 Comments

Mesa 17.2 will be officially released in one or two weeks, so here's a recap of all the improvements made to this open-source 3D Linux driver stack over the past quarter.

Mesa 17.2 continues with complete OpenGL 4.5 support for Intel i965 and RadeonSI while offering partial OpenGL 4.6 support. Hopefully for Mesa 17.3 next quarter we will see OpenGL 4.6 compliance.

Among the new GL extensions for Mesa 17.2 are RadeonSI supporting ARB_bindless_texture as one of the big features and used by newer Linux games like Dawn of War III. The Nouveau NVC0 driver also adds ARB_post_depth_coverage, AMD_vertex_shader_layer, and AMD_vertex_shader_viewport_index. The Intel i965 driver meanwhile picked up support for ARB_shader_ballot and ARB_shader_group_vote for Broadwell hardware and newer.

The Intel ANV Vulkan driver has also picked up new extensions for Vulkan 1.0.54. RADV is also closer to Vulkan 1.0 compliance with Mesa 17.2 and has picked up new features like sisched support. There is also support for Intel/RADV Vulkan with Doom under Wine.

In the Mesa OpenGL space there was also a lot of KHR_no_error work to land this cycle.

For RadeonSI in particular, Mesa 17.2 has performance improvements and for the RADV Vulkan driver too. On the Intel side I haven't seen much of a OpenGL performance difference and only a slight boost with the ANV Vulkan driver. On the Nouveau side, their most severe performance bottleneck remains in kernel-space with re-clocking or there the lack of. One of the big RadeonSI performance improvements is around the RadeonSI/Gallium3D threading support and glthread.

With Mesa 17.2, RADV is almost fully compliant for SteamVR on Linux. The main thing missing from a good open-source Radeon Linux VR gaming experience is the external memory objects support for RadeonSI OpenGL, which should be landing soon in Mesa Git.

New hardware support in Mesa 17.2 continues a lot of work on Radeon RX Vega support, but for that you are best off sticking to Mesa Git as the support stabilizes. With that said is also initial Raven Ridge suppoort. There's also Intel Cannonlake support. Also noteworthy on the Intel side is the Gen 4~5 BLORPing work.

In the ARM space there are many Raspberry Pi VC4 Gallium3D improvements as well as Freedreno work like enabling NIR by default.

Overall, there are a lot of changes for Mesa 17.2 that makes it one of the largest releases ever. I'll have more benchmarks soon while already in Mesa Git will be a lot more interesting code to land soon for Mesa 17.3 due out around November. If I missed any other interesting Mesa 17.2 features, feel free to point it out in the forums.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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