RADV ACO SMEM Patches Land - Taking ACO To Feature Parity With AMDGPU LLVM
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 24 June 2020 at 08:24 AM EDT. 15 Comments
MESA --
As of today in Mesa 20.2-devel Git, the Radeon Vulkan driver (RADV) with the ACO back-end is now effectively at feature-parity to the default AMDGPU LLVM shader compiler back-end.

Earlier this month we reported on the matter that RADV was looking at switching to ACO by default as its shader compiler back-end in place of the common AMDGPU LLVM back-end. But for that to happen they first needed to hit feature parity.

Marked as blockers were FP16 features that since merged and also handling some SMEM bits for 8/16-bit accesses where it's safe. That big merge request was pulled into Git master today for Mesa 20.2 with the ACO and relevant SPIR-V/NIR changes.

In other words, the previously expressed blockers for switching to RADV ACO by default are now merged.

So it's quite possible now in the very near future we'll see RADV using ACO by default for offering quicker shader compile times and in turn quicker game load times while for many games offering faster Vulkan performance than the AMDGPU LLVM code path. There is talk of Valve working on ACO for RadeonSI but at this point the change is just in the context of RADV.

There is about one month to the Mesa 20.2 feature freeze so it's quite likely for this next release due out at the end of August we'll be seeing the RADV ACO default. Stay tuned for the likely change-over and subsequent benchmarks.
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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 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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