One of the special abilities of ATI's R600 GPU family is the integrated 5.1 surround sound audio support through HDMI. Many Radeon HD 2000 and HD 3800 series graphics cards also ship with a DVI to HDMI dongle, so that one can experience the full video playback capabilities of these discrete graphics cards. But what level of HDMI support can Linux users expect when using these latest ATI graphics cards? We have done some testing internally and have the initial ATI Linux HDMI video and audio results to report in this article.
The graphics card used for this Linux HDMI (High Definition Media Interface) testing was the ASUS Radeon HD 2600PRO 256MB, which was connected via a DVI-to-HDMI dongle to a Sharp Aquos LC37D43U 37" LCD HDTV. For the video portion of the HDMI, we had tested both the fglrx and RadeonHD drivers and ALSA for audio.
Using the ATI Linux "fglrx" driver, the system running Ubuntu 7.10 had booted without any issues and was running at 1920 x 1080 through no end-user intervention or manually specifying any display modes. Entering the AMD Catalyst Control Center Linux Edition, there were no problems with managing the Sharp HDMI display and everything had worked out smoothly.
At 1920 x 1080, the Radeon HD 2600PRO had no problems running Compiz Fusion at this resolution. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars was also running at this resolution and high-quality settings, with an average frame-rate of ~26 FPS. Everything on the display front had worked out, though we didn't expect any problems as this was just running through an included DVI-to-HDMI dongle.