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AMD Launches Pitcairn GPUs, Open-Source Not There

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  • AMD Launches Pitcairn GPUs, Open-Source Not There

    Phoronix: AMD Launches Pitcairn GPUs, Open-Source Not There

    Yesterday AMD officially launched the Radeon HD 7800 "Pitcairn" series as the latest hardware in their Southern Islands family to reside between the Radeon HD 7700 series and their flagship Radeon HD 7900 cards. Unfortunately, the open-source support for these latest AMD GPUs remains unavailable...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTA2NjU

  • #2
    You could have just titled the article something about getting a HD 7950 and you probably have got more hits... LOL

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    • #3
      Catalyst 12.2 is coming out today I think and Catalyst 12.3 is only 15 days away, so take that into consideration when doing tests.

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      • #4
        Lack of open-source driver is basically what is keeping me back from buying a new video card. I want it to be the the most durable possible, so I won't buy an older generation one, also I want to but AMD to thank for their openness. And no, Catalyst in not an option thanks.
        Oh well, I was ready to cash out for a 7770 (or even a 7850 now that I saw the reviews) but that'll have to wait. In the meantime Nvidia's Kepler might come out, forcing AMD to reduce the prices. My win, but not AMD's.

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        • #5
          what is the actual reason, why AMD isnt going intel's way with only providing open source? or maybe rather: how can Intel go open source only, do they have less patents or something?
          i mean, if they are considering using the gallium arch for win8 on mobiles (or whatever the exact statement was), why not dropping catalyst? advertising on the boxes of their hardware that they support linux.
          (if you dont advertise linux its no wonder nobody uses it. imagine how the linux world would grow when someone like amd advertised that they support linux on their product. there is no market? then make one!)

          and something off topic that just came to my mind:
          why cant you reuse the power saving features of the cpu on the gpu?
          (i guess its some sort of algorythm counting how many cycles the proc went idle, compared with the framerate/task to do. -->many idle cycles: ramp down, not fulfilling task/not having finished job, more power!
          but i guess its the timing when reclocking and stuff should occurr, still why is the problem not there for cpus?)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jakubo View Post
            what is the actual reason, why AMD isnt going intel's way with only providing open source? or maybe rather: how can Intel go open source only, do they have less patents or something?
            We make 3D workstation products which need very high performance 3D drivers, to the extent that the only practical way to provide that performance for the Linux market is to share code with other OSes. Sharing code exposes enough other stuff that the resulting driver needs to be largely proprietary/binary.

            The workstation business is what funds most of the fglrx (FireGL aka workstation -> fgl) development, so that is where many of the priorities come from as well.

            Originally posted by jakubo View Post
            i mean, if they are considering using the gallium arch for win8 on mobiles (or whatever the exact statement was), why not dropping catalyst?
            Not Win8 on mobiles - Windows Embedded Compact, where having easy access to source code is important. Win8 on mobiles uses the regular Catalyst driver.

            Originally posted by jakubo View Post
            advertising on the boxes of their hardware that they support linux. (if you dont advertise linux its no wonder nobody uses it. imagine how the linux world would grow when someone like amd advertised that they support linux on their product. there is no market? then make one!)
            I don't understand the question/statement.

            Originally posted by jakubo View Post
            and something off topic that just came to my mind: why cant you reuse the power saving features of the cpu on the gpu?
            Do you mean "why can't the GPU power management hardware be designed to be programmed the same way as CPU power management ?" CPU power management is based around having the OS control power state for each core - works OK with 4 or 8 cores but not so good with hundreds or thousands. The two power management models developed independently (in different companies ) -- they are gradually moving together but both will need to change.

            Originally posted by jakubo View Post
            (i guess its some sort of algorythm counting how many cycles the proc went idle, compared with the framerate/task to do. -->many idle cycles: ramp down, not fulfilling task/not having finished job, more power! but i guess its the timing when reclocking and stuff should occurr, still why is the problem not there for cpus?)
            The main short term problem is that GPUs have display outputs, so you can't re-clock the memory while the display is running -- only in a blanking period which is too short for the current PLL programming code to complete. If you don't change the memory clocks you can't change the voltage, and if you don't change the voltage there's not much benefit from changing the engine clock.
            Last edited by bridgman; 03-06-2012, 07:26 PM.

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            • #7
              ok, thank you! =)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                We make 3D workstation products which need very high performance 3D drivers, to the extent that the only practical way to provide that performance for the Linux market is to share code with other OSes. Sharing code exposes enough other stuff that the resulting driver needs to be largely proprietary/binary.

                The workstation business is what funds most of the fglrx (FireGL aka workstation -> fgl) development, so that is where many of the priorities come from as well.

                Not Win8 on mobiles - Windows Embedded Compact, where having easy access to source code is important. Win8 on mobiles uses the regular Catalyst driver.

                I don't understand the question/statement.

                Do you mean "why can't the GPU power management hardware be designed to be programmed the same way as CPU power management ?" CPU power management is based around having the OS control power state for each core - works OK with 4 or 8 cores but not so good with hundreds or thousands. The two power management models developed independently (in different companies ) -- they are gradually moving together but both will need to change.

                The main short term problem is that GPUs have display outputs, so you can't re-clock the memory while the display is running -- only in a blanking period which is too short for the current PLL programming code to complete. If you don't change the memory clocks you can't change the voltage, and if you don't change the voltage there's not much benefit from changing the engine clock.
                Could I take the chance and ask why you are restricted on releasing the specs for interfacing with the hardware you sell? Because, to me it doesn't really seem like that would expose either your software parts or the hardware architecture.
                Just curious.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                  Do you mean "why can't the GPU power management hardware be designed to be programmed the same way as CPU power management ?" CPU power management is based around having the OS control power state for each core - works OK with 4 or 8 cores but not so good with hundreds or thousands.
                  Wrong as proven by linux-powered clusters. It has nothing to do with driver - cpu power management is handled by pm-drivers inside the OS. The true only question here is either that driver is opensource or closed source, which you always answer with closed source because you get away with that.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jakubo View Post
                    what is the actual reason, why AMD isnt going intel's way with only providing open source? or maybe rather: how can Intel go open source only, do they have less patents or something?
                    They donīt care about your questions or needs.
                    They focus on windows and they have agreements with microsoft to a) hinder linux b) hinder opensource c) keep windows implementation best.
                    They donīt care about you.

                    If you ask this question here, you will be fed with a lot of excuses and reasonings, which make no sense. Because those who wants to create, finds ways. Those who is lazy, finds excuses.

                    Your question can be answered very briefly - use those who you appreciate, use intel.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by r1348 View Post
                      Lack of open-source driver is basically what is keeping me back from buying a new video card.
                      That was stated mirriad of times. AMD is completely NOT interested in selling their cards!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by crazycheese View Post
                        They donīt care about your questions or needs.
                        They focus on windows and they have agreements with microsoft to a) hinder linux b) hinder opensource c) keep windows implementation best.
                        They donīt care about you.
                        If you ask this question here, you will be fed with a lot of excuses and reasonings, which make no sense. Because those who wants to create, finds ways. Those who is lazy, finds excuses.
                        Your question can be answered very briefly - use those who you appreciate, use intel.
                        Hmm, that's weird, because bridgeman's explanation above about why they can't open source fglrx made somewhat sense to me.
                        I also can't really appreciate intel until they create graphics hardware on par with current nvidia/amd tech, at which point they will be probably forced to close down on specs as well anyway.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ancurio View Post
                          Hmm, that's weird, because bridgeman's explanation above about why they can't open source fglrx made somewhat sense to me.
                          I also can't really appreciate intel until they create graphics hardware on par with current nvidia/amd tech, at which point they will be probably forced to close down on specs as well anyway.
                          Intel has not done it with current hardware, it wonīt even if hardware gets faster. Intel driver on windows is a blob, so on linux they focus everything on opensource driver. Its good you found the explantations reasonable enough, because if youīll start to seek ways to improve the situation, you will be confronted with absolutely completely zero interest soever. This is not how business is done, this is how people do the hobby.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ancurio View Post
                            Could I take the chance and ask why you are restricted on releasing the specs for interfacing with the hardware you sell? Because, to me it doesn't really seem like that would expose either your software parts or the hardware architecture.
                            Just curious.
                            AMD's bosses at Microsoft have their hollywood paymasters who don't want their Digital Restrictions Malware exposed.

                            Bridgman refuses to cut the crap and state frankly that this is the only reason why you can't fully use your own property.
                            Last edited by DaemonFC; 03-14-2012, 07:39 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Peter Gutmann actually has a pretty good explanation of why AMD isn't allowed to tell you how your property works.

                              http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut00...ista_cost.html
                              Elimination of Open-source Hardware Support

                              In order to prevent the creation of hardware emulators of protected output devices, Vista requires a Hardware Functionality Scan (HFS) that can be used to uniquely fingerprint a hardware device to ensure that it's (probably) genuine. In order to do this, the driver on the host PC performs an operation in the hardware (for example rendering 3D content in a graphics card) that produces a result that's unique to that device type.

                              In order for this to work, the spec requires that the operational details of the device be kept confidential. Obviously anyone who knows enough about the workings of a device to operate it and to write a third-party driver for it (for example one for an open-source OS, or in general just any non-Windows OS) will also know enough to fake the HFS process. The only way to protect the HFS process therefore is to not release any technical details on the device beyond a minimum required for web site reviews and comparison with other products.

                              This potential “closing” of the PC's historically open platform is an extremely worrying trend. A quarter of a century ago, IBM made the momentous decision to make their PC an open platform by publishing complete hardware details and allowing anyone to compete on the open market. Many small companies, the traditional garage startup, got their start through this. This openness is what created the PC industry, and the reason why most homes (rather than just a few offices, as had been the case until then) have one or more PCs sitting in a corner somewhere. This seems to be a return to the bad old days of 25 years ago when only privileged insiders were able to participate.

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