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Marek Olšák has recently sent word to the AMD mailing list that they have found a reason for some games performing poorly using Mesa. Another developer noted that a patch is already in progress.

QuoteI'm seeing random temporary freezes (up to 2 seconds) under memory
pressure. Before I describe the exact circumstances, I'd like to say
that this is a serious issue affecting playability of certain AAA
Linux games.


Marek goes on to detail how to reproduce it and suggests some workarounds.
QuoteIn order to reproduce this, an application should:
- allocate a few very large buffers (256-512 MB per buffer)
- allocate more memory than there is available VRAM. The issue also
occurs (but at a lower frequency) if the app needs only 80% of VRAM.

Example: ttm_bo_validate needs to migrate a 512 MB buffer. The total
size of moved memory for that call can be as high as 1.5 GB. This is
always followed by a big temporary drop in VRAM usage.


The good news is that another message from Christian König states they they are already working on it, and they may have something to show rather soon:
QuoteHi Marek,

I'm already working on this.

My current approach is to use a custom BO manager for VRAM with TTM and
so split allocations into chunks of 4MB.

Large BOs are still swapped out as one, but it makes it much more likely
to that you can allocate 1/2 of VRAM as one buffer.

Give me till the end of the week to finish this and then we can test if
that's sufficient or if we need to do more.

Regards,
Christian.


It's really great to see some attention to performance and not just getting their feature list up to spec. Onwards and upwards!

I've said for a long time now to heated debates that AMD drivers (both open and closed) need work on performance and that it's not purely down to game porters. It will be great if this helps certain games gain official support on AMD with Mesa in future. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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mirv 22 Aug, 2016
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Seeing as this has completely derailed, I find it odd that people are accepting of firmware blobs flashed into an eeprom or something, but loaded at runtime into ram is unacceptable. Just find that odd.
I personally accept firmware loaded at runtime: it's for specific hardware, to allow you to interface with that hardware, and is completely dedicated to that task. It's not intended to be changed or used for any other purpose, but it just so happens that hardware these days is complicated and errata can be fixed / worked around with a firmware update.
I would, of course, like to have entirely free and open source code for everything in the entire system that could be modified by software at whatever level, but I also know that the firmware blobs won't be opened up (not by AMD, nVidia, or Intel) and there's not likely to ever be a FOSS replacement for any hardware currently released.
TheRiddick 25 Aug, 2016
I recently moved from a 390x to a 980Ti, not regretting it. To be honest the AMD card was fine under Windows minus some weird Vulkan driver BSOD issues, but under Linux most my games didn't launch or had major performance/graphics issues.

I'm sure within a couple years AMD will figure this whole Linux driver thing out, I just didn't want to wait around for that to happen, if you are comfortable with waiting then that's fine.

PS. I also game at 4k, so, yeah.
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