Mesa RADV vs AMDVLK

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Vulkan-logo.png

There are two Vulkan drivers for AMD graphics cards available: The RADV driver that comes with Mesa and the AMDVLK driver from AMD. GNU/Linux distributions come with the Mesa RADV driver, the AMDVLK driver has to be installed separately. Both drivers will mostly provide the same performance, but there are exceptions. AMDVLK seems more capable in some specific cases where Mesa RADV will simply fail to participate.

Basemark GPU 1.2.1

Basemark GPU 1.2.1 Vulkan at 1080p Medium using RADV Mesa 20.2rc4.jpg
Basemark GPU 1.2.1 in windowed mode using Vulkan at 1080p Medium using RADV from Mesa 20.2rc4.

Basemark GPU, from Finland, fails the "official" test at high with both drivers on a RX 470. It will run on "high" with the AMDVLK driver using the "Custom" tab with quality set to high. It won't run on "high" with any setting or resolution when the Mesa RADV driver is used.

Official Test

Basemark 1.2.1 "Official" test, MSI RX 470 8 GiB
Basemark GPU 1.2.1 test Mesa RADV 20.2rc4 AMDVLK 2020.Q3.5
High Content Quality Edit-bomb.svg Fail Edit-bomb.svg Fail
Medium Content Quality 41316 40944

Basemark 1.2.1 fails to run the "Official" test with "High" content quality with either of these GPU drivers. That's a bit strange since AMDVLK 2020.Q3.5 will run just fine if "High" is chosen in the "Custom" preset. Mesa RADV 20.2rc4 fails to run Basemark 1.2.1 at "High" no matter what you do.

Custom Settings

Basemark 1.2.1 "Custom" tests, MSI RX 470 8 GiB
Score
Custom settings Mesa RADV 20.2rc4 AMDVLK 2020.Q3.5
Resolution 4K Edit-bomb.svg Fail Edit-bomb.svg Fail
Fullscreen Yes
Content Quality High
Enable Z-Prepass Off
Resolution 1440p Edit-bomb.svg Fail C6926
Fullscreen Yes
Content Quality High
Enable Z-Prepass Off
Resolution 1440p Edit-bomb.svg Fail C6931
Fullscreen Yes
Content Quality High
Enable Z-Prepass On
Resolution 1080p Edit-bomb.svg Fail 9436
Fullscreen Yes
Content Quality High
Enable Z-Prepass On
Resolution 1080p Edit-bomb.svg Fail 9424
Fullscreen Yes
Content Quality High
Enable Z-Prepass Off
Resolution 4K C16601 C16302
Fullscreen Yes
Content Quality Medium
Enable Z-Prepass Off
Resolution 1440p C30879 C30502
Fullscreen Yes
Content Quality Medium
Enable Z-Prepass Off
Resolution 1080p C44459 C44097
Fullscreen Yes
Content Quality Medium
Enable Z-Prepass Off

Mesa RADV 20.2rc4 wins the tests it does run by a slight margin. That doesn't help all that much since it fails to run at "High" content quality. AMDVLK 2020.Q3.5 is therefore the winner in Basemark GPU since Mesa RADV gets a zero score in the majority of these tests.

MSI Kombustor 4.1.6.0, Wine

MSI Kombustor v4.1.6.0 On Linux Using Wine.jpg
A MSI logo rendered by MSI Kombustor 4.1.6.0, running in Wine, using Vulkan.

Mesa 20.2 rc 4 RADV and AMDVLK 2020.Q3.5 are essentially equal when it comes to rendering scenes except for the TessMark scenes. AMDVLK 2020.Q3.5 fails horribly rendering those scenes.

MSI Kombustor, Wine 5.16, 1080p
Mesa 20.2 rc 4 RADV AMDVLK 2020.Q3.5
Furkmark-MSI VK 85 FPS 84 FPS
TessMark-X16 VK 254 FPS 71 FPS Blond-anime-girl-with-red-questionmark.png
TessMark-X32 VK 106 FPS 12 FPS Blond-anime-girl-with-red-questionmark.png
Furmark-Donut VK 53 53

It would appear that MSI Kombustor is using some Vulkan features AMDVLK 2020.Q3.5 is really bad at for the TessMark scenes.

Commercial Games

Suggestions are welcome. We're not going to go buy games just to benchmark them. If there's free software or proprietary freeware that should be benchmarked then we'll probably be able to do that.

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