Linux Gamers Should Stick With Mesa’s RADV Drivers For RDNA 2 GPUs As It Outperforms AMD’s Official AMDVLK Vulkan Driver

Jun 29, 2022 12:58 EDT

Last week, AMDVLK 2022.Q2.3 was unleashed as an update to the official AMD open-source Vulkan Linux driver, which showcased notable graphical performance improvements on RDNA 2 GPUs.

The Mesa RADV Linux driver outperforms the official AMD AMDVLK Linux driver for RDNA 2-based GPUs

Due to this release, Michael Larabel from Phoronix felt that updated benchmarks were necessary, posing the update against the Mesa Project's RADV Vulkan driver. Larabel showcased the results on his website, utilizing an AMD RDNA 2 GPU to see the differences between the drivers.

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As a reminder to our readers, RADV, or Radeon Vulkan graphics driver, was developed by community engineers from Google, Red Hat, and other contributors working within the Linux platform. The driver is, by far, the go-to choice for users of AMD graphics cards utilizing them in Linux. With the amount of backing from some of those top names, it sees plenty of updates and improvements that affect all aspects, including performance. With the Mesa Project's RADV driver, every primary Linux distribution channel sees it, unlike the AMD-backed AMDVLK, which does not see as much steam as the former.

Source: Phoronix

Regardless, AMD updates the AMDVLK code as part of their official Linux updates, based on the same source code for the Windows and Linux proprietary Vulkan driver. The only downfall to utilizing the source is that the LLVM AMDGPU shader compiler that the company uses instead of their proprietary shader has missing areas to the support, such as Vulkan ray-tracing.

When Larabel d both the current RADV and AMDVLK 2022.Q2.3 open-source graphics compilers, he incorporated an AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT GPU while using the Ubuntu 22.04 OS and an Intel Core i9-12900K CPU. The compiler he used was Mesa 22.0.1 (shipped with Ubuntu 22.04 LTS) and the AMDVLK 2022.Q3.3 driver using official AMD binaries recently released.

Readers should note that "no Radeon Software for Linux proprietary Vulkan driver testing was conducted ... with AMD having yet to release a driver with official support for Ubuntu 22.04 LTS," states Larabel in his article.

Below are screenshots of all tests compiled by the website Phoronix and some takeaways from the testing.

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After testing, the Mesa RADV driver consistently grows and maintains a healthy lead over the open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan driver. Hopefully, we will see improved performance in the RADV department upon releasing the new RDNA 3 architecture later this year.

Source: Phoronix

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