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Following on from the OpenGL shader cache, RADV the open source Vulkan driver for AMD cards can also now make use of a shader cache.

Entering into the public Mesa-git mailing list last night were these two commits.

In the initial commit, the developer said:

This is the drivers on-disk cache intended to be used as a fallback as opposed to the pipeline cache provided by apps.

Then, in another commit this feature was turned on:

If the app provided in-memory pipeline cache doesn't yet contain what we are looking for, or it doesn't provide one at all then we fallback to the on-disk cache.

This feature should be available in the upcoming Mesa 17.3 release. Right now I'm unsure when it release, it's looking like possibly in November going by their release schedule.

What is a shader cache?

In simple terms, it stores compiled shaders that games require to speed up things like loading times. Otherwise, each time you load a game it would need to do it again resulting in more waiting around.

Misc Mesa news

In other Mesa news, it seems Feral Interactive sent in another patch which got accepted into Mesa-git recently for RADV. Interesting to see another Vulkan-related commit from them.

On top of that, it seems another patch landed recently into Mesa-git to improve Vulkan performance in Feral Interactive's Linux games.

There's also a new patch in the Mesa-dev list adding a new drirc workaround which should fix an issue with ARK: Survival Evolved. This has not yet made it into Mesa-git, it seems it might not be finished just yet.

S3TC (S3 Texture Compression) support is now baked into Mesa, since the patent has expired. The initial patch-set was sent the the Mesa-dev mailing list and a day later a bunch of it landed in Mesa-git.

Finally, there's also another patch in the Mesa-dev mailing list, which can improve "Vulkan demos" performance by "+1% to +3%". Small, but multiple smaller patches in the end do add up to something rather nice.

 

Looks like Mesa 17.3 is going to be a fun release, for those of you who've updated to Mesa 17.2, how's it going?

4 Likes, Who?
Brisse 12 October 2017 at 10:55 am UTC
Quote, for those of you who've updated to Mesa 17.2, how's it going?

Had some serious problems (<1fps, even at menus, unplayable) with the 17.2 release candidates and Deus Ex Mankind Divided on Ubuntu 17.04, but now I'm at Ubuntu 17.10 which comes with mesa 17.2.2 and it's working really well. Haven't retried DE:MD though, because I beat the game and uninstalled it before moving to Ubuntu 17.10.

Using mesa with an R9 Fury.
liamdawe 12 October 2017 at 2:51 pm UTC
Small edit to the article, the 17.3 release looks like it might be in November: https://www.mesa3d.org/release-calendar.html
Linas 12 October 2017 at 4:17 pm UTC
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Running a risk of looking like a total noob, but how do you install RADV? Does it come with Mesa?
mirv 12 October 2017 at 5:32 pm UTC
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LinasRunning a risk of looking like a total noob, but how do you install RADV? Does it come with Mesa?

Yes, it's part of Mesa, assuming a relatively recent enough version. Also assuming it's "enabled" on that distro, though I think it would be for Debian.
Brisse 12 October 2017 at 5:48 pm UTC
LinasRunning a risk of looking like a total noob, but how do you install RADV? Does it come with Mesa?

On Ubuntu you have to install the package 'mesa-vulkan-drivers'
ronnoc 13 October 2017 at 8:00 pm UTC
Brisse
LinasRunning a risk of looking like a total noob, but how do you install RADV? Does it come with Mesa?

On Ubuntu you have to install the package 'mesa-vulkan-drivers'

Also risking sounding like a noob - but I did not know this. Why would someone *not* want to install RADV?
Brisse 13 October 2017 at 8:27 pm UTC
ronnocAlso risking sounding like a noob - but I did not know this. Why would someone *not* want to install RADV?

There's basically no risk and the amount of disk space required is tiny, so I don't see why you wouldn't install it.

With that said, I can understand why it doesn't come installed out of the box. There are very few real world use cases so far, most software that makes use of it is experimental, and RADV itself is under heavy development and probably not quite ready for prime time. In most cases, OpenGL is still working better, and even faster in some cases, than RADV.

The only good example I have seen so far where RADV is of benefit is the Mad Max beta, and I can't even get it to run without fetching mesa straight from git (does not apply to OpenGL). Tried lots of other games on Vulkan, but haven't seen any benefit in most of them.

I've also experienced Vulkan with my AMD Fury on Windows 10 before I ditched Windows early 2017 and that was totally awesome, so there's definitely potential for something great. It's just sad that Linux has fallen behind and AMD hasn't opened up their closed source Vulkan driver like they said they would.
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