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With the upcoming release of Mesa 20.2 which should hopefully be in late August, it seems AMD GPU owners will get a nice boost thanks to the Valve-backed ACO shader compiler.

Introduced by Valve back in 2019, ACO was designed to replace the huge LLVM project in Mesa for AMD GPUs on Linux, with a specific focus on improving gaming performance. Yesterday, ACO was enabled by default in the Mesa 20.2 development code for the AMD RADV driver, with a note that "No more dragons have been seen, caution is still required...". There's also now a "RADV_DEBUG=llvm" environment variable you can set to force it back to LLVM for testing purposes.

What does all this mean? Keeping it simple: when Mesa 20.2 releases, Vulkan performance across many AMD GPUs on Linux with the RADV driver will see improvements. You can expect to see faster shader compilation times resulting in quicker loading and also often a frame-rate boost too.

Nice to see open source Linux GPU drivers coming along so nicely, this is a pretty exciting change if you're an AMD GPU owner.

Hat tip to Phoronix.

Article taken from
Tags: AMD, Drivers, Mesa, Vulkan
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Linas 26 Jun, 2020
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I am so happy I went with AMD for my gaming build. The experience has been getting better and better. With Mesa, amdgpu, DXVK, Proton, it's almost getting too easy being a Linux gamer. Feel like I am losing my nerd cred because I don't need to put the effort into it anymore.
Anarus 26 Jun, 2020
That's very nice to see; then there's no more hassle of remembering to manually enable it.

I suspect that there are probably more dragons to be seen if one uses LLVM, considering their official logo.

Last edited by Anarus on 26 June 2020 at 12:56 pm UTC
Desperalaw 26 Jun, 2020
This will definitely improve the process of migrating to Linux as a daily driver.

Since ACO got merged into Mesa, I enabled it thanks to a global variable and noticed a smoother gaming experience overall.

With this future improvement, on AMD builds, it will be a plug and play experience (even though NVIDIA builds aren't so difficult to set-up if you don't need Bumblebee).

Valve puts so much effort in the Linux community, I can't thank them enough for their open-minded approach of what a gamer world should be: without any difference because you use an alternative operating system on your PC.
gustavoyaraujo 26 Jun, 2020
I'm alredy loving my RX 5700 XT. Now that makes me curious about how it will behave when this get released.
Shmerl 26 Jun, 2020
That's a major milestone! Next big step - enabling ACO for radeonsi (OpenGL).

Last edited by Shmerl on 26 June 2020 at 3:38 pm UTC
BielFPs 26 Jun, 2020
Open Source at it's finest
lejimster 26 Jun, 2020
Quoting: LinasI am so happy I went with AMD for my gaming build. The experience has been getting better and better. With Mesa, amdgpu, DXVK, Proton, it's almost getting too easy being a Linux gamer. Feel like I am losing my nerd cred because I don't need to put the effort into it anymore.

Yeah I agree, things have improved massively in the last 6 years I've been on Linux. I remember struggling with poor performance on my old R9 270X and constantly switching between proprietary and open source drivers. Since then we've had so many positive changes, mesa has matured and become fully feature complete with OpenGL, performance has increased every year, AMDGPU has taken a lot of the headache out of upgrading the Linux Kernel.

In the past I was always envious of the performance nvidia users were getting, but there is no part of me that feels that way anymore.
raneon 27 Jun, 2020
ACO was a huge improvement already when it first got released to the public. Since then I'm using it and I'm still impressed how fast and stable it is. ACO by default is great choice for the average user not playing around with the environment variables.
AciD 28 Jun, 2020
I always finds it weird when I read people complaining about AMD hardware.

I've been gaming with an HD 7950 for years, and recently switched to a vega64, and both cards allowed me to play flawlessly all my games, including lots of AAA.
Not sure if performance could have been better, but being able to play in ultra without stuttering (except in PoE, about 4 years ago) was pretty common.
It's even better now with Vulkan!

Thanks AMD ;)

Last edited by AciD on 28 June 2020 at 11:48 am UTC
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