AMD Radeon VII Linux Benchmarks - Powerful Open-Source Graphics For Compute & Gaming
Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 7 February 2019. Page 11 of 11. 75 Comments

When looking at the geometric mean of all the OpenCL benchmarks carried out, the Radeon VII was 12% faster than the GeForce RTX 2080 and a 52% improvement in compute performance compared to the Radeon RX Vega 64.

I haven't had any time yet to see how the Radeon VII performs on Windows due to being short on time and dozens of other sites covering that anyways, but at least under Linux, the Radeon VII turned out to be a surprisingly great performer. When AMD talked of the Radeon VII competing with the GeForce RTX 2080, I figured that would probably be unlikely until Navi, but with this 7nm Vega they really did manage to compete with the RTX 2080... And AMD's driver is fully open-source and available today in a released Linux kernel and Mesa! The open-source Vega 20 / Radeon VII support appears really spot-on as long as you are using the latest stable components, but unfortunately too old to find good out-of-the-box support in the likes of Ubuntu 18.10 and Fedora 29, though once making the mentioned software upgrades you can quickly be off to the races.

With the OpenGL games tested, the Radeon VII was able to outperform the GeForce RTX 2080 in many instances. With Vulkan games when using the Mesa 19.0 RADV driver, the performance of the Radeon VII competed with the RTX 2080 too but in some games came in lower albeit still generally above the RTX 2070. The slightly less competitive Vulkan performance may be due using RADV as the more common but less official AMD Vulkan Linux driver. I'll be posting some AMDVLK tests in the coming days for looking at the performance there.

When it came to the OpenCL compute performance, the Radeon VII performed very well paired with the ROCm 2.0 release. The OpenCL performance was great and generally ahead of the NVIDIA RTX 2080 OpenCL Linux performance.

With strong performance and fully open-source driver support, the Radeon VII has the potential to be a really great Linux gaming and GPU compute graphics card. From my testing over the past week, the only downsides I've encountered pertain to the already mentioned inaccurate GPU temperature reporting (almost certainly to be addressed soon with a Linux kernel fix) and with the Radeon Software packaged driver stack I did hit some stability issues. AMD is currently exploring those issues that led to VM protection faults and interrupted the gaming experience, but at least the mainline AMDGPU + Mesa code upstream is working out great... So just be forewarned in the rare event you actually use the Radeon Software packaged Linux driver compared to the upstream open-source support.

At $699 USD, the Radeon VII is comparable to the GeForce RTX 2080 coming in at ~$690+. Hopefully in the weeks ahead we'll see slightly more competitive pricing on the Radeon VII or if there is any yet to be discovered performance potential to tap out of Vega 20 via driver updates in order to yield measurably greater value than the RTX 2080.

Stay tuned for more benchmarks in the days ahead of the Radeon VII on Linux. It's certainly been a delight benchmarking this graphics card with its fully open-source and mainline support in time for launch-day and yielding very competitive performance.


About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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