Radeon RX 6800 Series Performance Comes Out Even Faster With Newest Linux Code
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 23 November 2020. Page 1 of 4. 84 Comments

Last week we delivered AMD Radeon RX 6800 / RX 6800 XT Linux benchmarks and the performance was great both for Linux gaming as well as the OpenCL compute performance. But for as good as those Big Navi numbers were on the open-source Linux graphics driver stack, they are now even better.

That launch-day testing was based on the Linux state in the second-half of October when the cards arrived and initial (re-)testing began in preparing for the Radeon RX 6800 series reviews -- not only the Radeon RX 6800 series but re-testing all of the other AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards for the comparison too. Thanks to the rate of the open-source graphics driver progression and the newest code always being available, now just days after launch the numbers are even more compelling for Linux gamers with the slightly newer Linux 5.10 and Mesa Git compared to just weeks ago.

In particular were the last minute NGG fixes and other Big Navi tweaks along with an important Radeon RX 6800 (non-XT) fix. There has also been other RADV improvements and more that accumulated in Mesa 21.0-devel this month. On the kernel side, Linux 5.10 is still at play. Both the old and newer Mesa snapshots were also on LLVM 11.0.

The same system used for the launch day testing was used for repeating the RX 6800 series tests now on this bleeding edge code. That Ryzen 9 5950X + CROSSHAIR VIII HERO WiFi system with Ubuntu 20.04 Linux was now running even better against the NVIDIA graphics cards on their proprietary 455.38 driver. The AMDGPU-PRO Radeon Software for Linux 20.45 "PRO" results also remain in there for reference of the current packaged Linux driver on AMD.com. The new results are the "Mesa New" numbers.

If going straight to the geometric mean of all the Linux gaming tests conducted, the Radeon RX 6800 XT is now 7.6% faster than the original launch-day results with just the open-source driver progress since the second half of October when testing began. That also puts the bleeding edge open-source driver on the Radeon RX 6800 XT at about 18% faster than the "PRO" packaged driver currently offered on the AMD website and intended for enterprise Linux distributions. For the geometric mean that also puts the Radeon RX 6800 XT on the fully open-source driver at 99% the speed of the GeForce RTX 3080 on its proprietary graphics driver stack.

The Radeon RX 6800 (non-XT) performance is in even better shape thanks to the last minute Mesa work: the RX 6800 is 26% faster than the open-source driver stack from a few weeks ago due to the last minute CU calculation fix and other Mesa work. This lift on Mesa 21.0-devel puts the Radeon RX 6800 now firmly ahead of the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and TITAN RTX graphics cards.

So the Radeon RX 6800 XT is now firmly neck-and-neck with the GeForce RTX 3080 while the Radeon RX 6800 is solidly ahead of the TITAN RTX / RTX 2080 Ti cards. It will be interesting to see how much more headroom the Radeon RX 6900 XT has if we are able to get our hands on the card.

That was the geometric mean overview so let's dive in and look at some of the individual benchmark results.


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