Enabling Vulkan* VK_INTEL_performance_query extension in Ubuntu*

ID 672487
Updated 9/30/2019
Version Latest



These instructions describe how to compile and use custom Linux* kernel and Mesa* Vulkan drivers that include Intel's Vulkan VK_INTEL_performance_query extension which was first published in the Khronos VulkanDocs repository as part of the 1.1.109 specification. As of January 29th, 2020, their implementation/patches are now in kernel 5.5, and the Mesa branches in 20.0 and 19.3. The VK_INTEL_performance_query extension is designed specifically for 8th generation or newer Intel GPUs including Broadwell, Skylake, Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake. 

Note: These instructions were developed on Ubuntu 18.04. They have not been tested on other Linux distributions at this point.


Install and configure Git if not already set up. Minimally configure a username and email address: 

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install git
git config --global user.name "<User Name>" 
git config --global user.email "<User Name's Email Address>"

If not already installed, install key Vulkan libraries, drivers and utilities: 

sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install git libvulkan1 mesa-vulkan-drivers vulkan-utils 

Run and test a known working Vulkan application on the platform to confirm that the existing Vulkan drivers function properly. If the application does not work as expected, investigate and resolve the problem before continuing with the next steps in these instructions.

Install packages required to compile the Linux kernel:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install build-essential kernel-package fakeroot libssl-dev ccache flex bison libelf-dev libncurses5-dev wget

Warning: Some packages may prompt to make changes to the local platform and an appropriate choice should be selected based off the platform being updated. 

Install packages needed by Mesa: 

sudo apt-get install cmake python3 python-minimal python-mako python3-mako pkg-config libexpat1-dev libxrandr-dev libdrm-dev libxdamage-dev libxcb-glx0-dev libxcb-dri2-0-dev libxcb-dri3-dev libxcb-present-dev libxshmfence-dev libxxf86vm-dev libx11-xcb-dev ninja-build

If using Ubuntu 16.03 install additional packages needed by Mesa: 

sudo apt-get install x11proto-gl-dev x11proto-dri2-dev gettext

Install or update meson to meet Mesa's dependencies (for example, a minimum of version 0.46): 

sudo apt-get remove meson
sudo apt-get install python3-pip
pip3 install --user meson

If the installed version of meson is not in the PATH..: 

export PATH=~/.local/bin/:$PATH

Setup Steps

  1. Create the ~/custom work area where the kernel and Mesa drivers will be built and reside:
    mkdir -p ~/custom
  2. Obtain source for the Linux kernel 5.5 (tag v5.5-rc2, a later release candidate or final 5.5) which contains the i915 driver changes required by the extension, build and install it:
    cd ~/custom
    git clone https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git
    cd linux
    git checkout -b 5.5-rc2 d1eef1c6
    cp /boot/config-`uname -r` .config
    sudo -E chown -R $USER:$USER $HOME/.ccache/ # If $HOME/.ccache exists, avoid potential build failure.
    make menuconfig # Exit immediately and save default tool changes
    make clean
    make -j4 # Enable a faster build by specifying the number of cores/threads on the platform.
    sudo make INSTALL_MOD_STRIP=1 modules_install install
  3. Reboot the platform. By default, grub will automatically boot using the newly built and installed kernel. After rebooting, confirm that the newly built kernel is running with version 5.5.0-rc2 and an appropriate time stamp as follows:
    uname -a 
  4. If LLVM is not installed or at least version 7.0.1 (check with llvm-config --version), download LLVM 7.0.1 source, compile and install it. Compiling from source is necessary because the precompiled packages do not include the needed LLVM dynamic libraries.
    cd ~/custom
    wget http://releases.llvm.org/7.0.1/llvm-7.0.1.src.tar.xz
    tar xvf llvm-7.0.1.src.tar.xz
    cd llvm-7.0.1.src/
    mkdir build
    cd build/
    make -j4 # Enable a faster build by specifying the number of cores/threads on the platform.
    sudo make install
  5. Obtain source for the Mesa Vulkan drivers with the extension and then build them: 
    cd ~/custom 
    git clone https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/mesa/mesa.git
    cd mesa
    git checkout mesa-19.3.3
    git log -1 # The commit should be 35203731.
    # Edit meson.build to change dependency _drm_amdgpu_ver patch revision to 0, thus "2.4.0"
    mkdir build
    meson build --prefix=`pwd`/install -Dplatforms=x11,drm,surfaceless -Ddri-drivers=i915,i965,swrast -Dgallium-drivers= -Dvulkan-drivers=intel
    ninja -C build install
  6. Confirm that the Mesa libraries and Vulkan drivers were successfully built by checking for Mesa .so files in the following directory: 
    Check if the following two files exist:
  7. On boot, the i915 kernal module enables the paranoid performance collection mode by default. To use the VK_INTEL_performance_query extension, this paranoid mode must be disabled.
    1. A manual approach to do this is to perform the following command:
      sudo sysctl -w dev.i915.perf_stream_paranoid=0
    2. An automated approach to do this is to add a cron job that executes whenever the platform reboots, as follows: 
      sudo crontab -e # Add the following line at the end or as the 1st no comment line:
      @reboot /sbin/sysctl -w dev.i915.perf_stream_paranoid=0
    3. After manually performing 7.1 or doing 7.2 and a later reboot, the "0" perf_stream_paranoid mode change can be confirmed by using the following command: 
      sysctl -n dev.i915.perf_stream_paranoid
  8. Lock GPU frequency to get accurate metric values in Graphics Frame Analyzer by:
    1. Modifying the rights to the following files to add write capabilities:
      sudo chmod +w /sys/class/drm/card0/gt_max_freq_mhz 
      sudo chmod +w /sys/class/drm/card0/gt_min_freq_mhz 
      sudo chmod +w /sys/class/drm/card0/gt_boost_freq_mhz
    2. Write the same CPU frequency value in mhz for the three files.
  9. When running Intel® GPA Frame Analyzer, the following is necessary to obtain Vulkan metrics from the GPU. Override the installed Mesa libraries and Vulkan drivers to use the new (custom) locally built ones by defining/updating two environment variables for Intel® GPA:
    1. If starting Frame Analyzer using the Ubuntu desktop launcher icon/links, edit the associated launcher file: 
      By replacing the "Exec=frame-analyzer" line with the following two lines (replace "<user-dir>" with the user home directory name):
      Exec=env LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/home/<user-dir>/custom/mesa/install/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu
    2. Otherwise, Frame Analyzer can be manually started from the command-line as follows:
      cd /opt/intel/gpa
      export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=~/custom/mesa/install/lib/x86_64-linuxgnu:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH

For a PDF version of these, follow the link.