Zink OpenGL-On-Vulkan Looking Quite Good & Shining With Mesa 22.1

Recently I carried out some tests looking at the performance of Zink for OpenGL implemented atop the Vulkan API in a generic manner that works across drivers. With the state of Mesa 22.1, all of Zink’s recent improvements are paying off and here is a quick look at where the performance stands against using the RadeonSI OpenGL driver.

Zink has seen much activity over the past year thanks to Mike Blumenkrantz working for Valve and other developers involved in the effort. Zink is now even seeing support on Windows with planned usage by X-Plane, among other exciting accomplishments this year.

From a Mesa 22.1-devel snapshot in April I ran some benchmarks seeing how Zink (atop the Radeon RADV Vulkan driver) is performing against the RadeonSI Gallium3D OpenGL driver from the same Mesa 22.1 state. A Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card was used throughout for all of the testing. The tests were carried out on the usual Intel Core i9 12900K Alder Lake test system with Ubuntu 21.10 while upgraded to using the Linux 5.17 kernel and Mesa 22.1-devel atop the GNOME Wayland session.

The performance was overall in good shape as about to be shown. The experience was also good overall with the game compatibility and rendering quality. The main issues to mention from the testing were excessive flickering seen within BioShock Infinite and green heads/artifacts within Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and some blackened textures.

Overall though Zink is showing incredible results and much potential moving ahead for using Zink as a future replacement to native hardware OpenGL drivers so vendors could focus on Vulkan drivers.

BioShock Infinite was still showing a significant performance penalty to using Zink, but even still the frame-rates were playable. Though there was the annoying flickering as mentioned.

Civilization VI with was performing fairly well with Zink — still showing measurable overhead compared to the RadeonSI driver but at least close to 80% of the bare OpenGL driver performance for this generic Zink driver.

The DDNet platformer game with one of the scenes was one of the rare but celebrated cases where Zink could even outperform the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver on this Radeon RX 6800 XT backed Linux desktop system.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was showing quite healthy performance with Zink although the occasional rendering artifact and some black textures within the benchmark demo.

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