RADV Radeon Vulkan Driver Continues To Improve Ray Tracing Performance For AMD GPUs

The RADV open-source Radeon Vulkan driver team continues to improve the ray tracing performance for AMD GPUs.

Google’s Bas Nieuwenhuizen, the co-founder of the RADV driver, held a presentation on the condition of the ray-tracing performance of the open-source Mesa Vulkan driver on day one of the X.Org Developers’ Conference, also known as XDC 2022.

The presentation at XDC 2022 discussed the process of ray-tracing, how the graphical acceleration is processed for AMD Radeon RDNA 2 graphics cards and challenges the team has encountered with the execution, as well as a software-based implementation for older AMD GPUs.

The RADV driver is the first choice for users of AMD graphics cards employing them in Linux. The RADV driver is continuously updated and regularly improved, affecting all aspects, including performance. With the Mesa Project’s RADV driver, every direct Linux distribution channel is aware of any changes, unlike AMD’s proprietary AMDVLK.

The RADV co-founder ensured the video games compatible with ray-tracing on RADV are set to be Control, Deathloop, Metro Exodus: Extended Edition, Quake II RTX, and Resident Evil Village. RADV recently exposed the default Vulkan ray-tracing ray queries extension. However, the ray-tracing pipelines support is still inaccessible past the RADV_PERFTEST=rt environment variable.

Image source: Phoronix

Another topic related to RADV was the performance versus AMDVLK ray tracing support, as well as the performance of the AMDGPU-PRO proprietary driver. RADV is demonstrated to be still sluggish when utilizing ray-tracing, but developers are working with experimental techniques to improve performance.

AMD updates the AMDVLK code as part of their official Linux updates, based on the identical source code used in the Windows and Linux proprietary Vulkan driver. One challenge in utilizing the driver is that the LLVM AMDGPU shader compiler used over the proprietary shader still has missing sections.

Future RADV support that is being developed will cover separate shader compilation and the default enablement of ray-tracing, indirect BHV builds for permitting DirectX ray tracing (DXR 1.1) support, and further optimizations and enhancements on performance.

The video below is the presentation held by Bas Nieuwenhuizen, where he explains additional details on where RADV ray-tracing is currently at during the XDC 2022. The video is the entire first day’s conference and is over nine hours. If you would like to skip to Nieuwenhuizen’s section, it begins at 3:35:09.

News Sources: Phoronix, XDC 2022 on YouTube

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