For Radeon Gamers On Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, It's Generally Worthwhile Flipping On RADV's ACO
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 29 April 2020 at 02:55 PM EDT. 15 Comments
AMD --
A premium supporter was asking this week whether for those newly-upgraded to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS if the graphics stack is in good enough shape or if I would recommend running Mesa 20.1-devel for better AMD Linux gaming performance... The short answer, sans any particular changes you are after in Mesa 20.1-devel, the bigger gain for running on this new Ubuntu release is to instead enable RADV+ACO as a much more pressing boost.

Following the Phoronix Premium member's request, I ran some Vega and Navi benchmarks to show the current difference of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with its Mesa 20.0 build compared to Mesa 20.1-devel via the Oibaf PPA as of a few days ago. The default (Linux 5.4 based) kernel and other software packages were kept at the same versions.

But besides just running Mesa 20.0 vs. 20.1-devel, I also tossed in ACO benchmarks. For the RADV Vulkan driver, ACO can be enabled with the RADV_PERFTEST=aco environment variable.

Across various benchmarks, the Mesa 20.0 vs. 20.1-devel performance wasn't that much different for tests I ran on both OpenGL and Vulkan. But the more interesting takeaway remains the much better performance for the RADV+ACO combination for faster Vulkan gaming on Linux, including under Steam Play.

If you haven't tried it yet, I would certainly recommend giving RADV+ACO a go for achieving better AMD Radeon Linux gaming performance over simply switching to Mesa 20.1-devel. With Mesa 20.0, ACO is generally in great shape and getting even better for Mesa 20.1 that will be out as stable by the end of May. See more cross-AMD-driver configurations in the recent Radeon Software 20.10 vs. upstream comparison.

More benchmarks soon including a look at whether changing out the Linux kernel build for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is worthwhile on the open-source Radeon graphics driver stack.
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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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