1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

AMD Video BIOS Disassembler Released

Michael Larabel

Published on 8 January 2009
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 1 - 1 Comment

Just a little more than a week after AMD openly released R600/700 GPU code to begin development of an open-source 3D driver for their ATI Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 hardware, a disassembler and table dumper for their video BIOS abstraction layer has been released to developers. This tool called AtomDis was used early on in the development of the RadeonHD driver by Novell and is now being released under the GNU GPLv2 license to assist interested open-source developers or act as an instrument to those learning about graphics processor programming.

AtomDis serves as a BIOS disassembler and table dumper to the AtomBIOS, which is the video BIOS abstraction layer used on ATI GPUs since around the R400 series. The AtomBIOS and debate over its usage was what originally caused the two competing drivers (xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-radeonhd) for the same hardware up until the RadeonHD driver ended up adopting AtomBIOS for use in supporting newer ATI GPUs as they were under pressure from Advanced Micro Devices.

Previously AMD released an open-source AtomBIOS parser for use by the X.Org graphics drivers. In July of last year they released a new AtomBIOS parser that would be ideal for entering the mainline Linux kernel in order to provide ATI kernel mode-setting support. Besides that, however, the low-level code to AtomBIOS has not been open-sourced and because of that was one of the reasons it was initially rejected by the Novell developers working on the RadeonHD driver. In 2007 there was a project started by an independent X.Org developer to create an open-source ATI BIOS by reverse-engineering AtomBIOS, but that project hasn't materialized.

Running AtomDis just requires the header file from the AtomBIOS parser source-code found in the RadeonHD driver and then a video BIOS image. The video BIOS off ATI GPUs can be dumped using the rhd_conntest utility that is also found within the xf86-video-radeonhd repository. When executing AtomDis the AtomBIOS image must be loaded along with a command to dump information on AtomBIOS, list all AtomBIOS tables, create a hex dump, data table dump, command table disassembler, table disassembler, and the last option is a full sanitized dump. Contained in AtomBIOS tables is data for PowerPlay, LVDS details, firmware information, GPU initialization, and many other areas of GPU programming.

For developers or those with any other interest in learning about AtomBIOS can use Git to clone git://people.freedesktop.org/~mhopf/AtomDis.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. CompuLab Intense-PC2: An Excellent, Fanless, Mini PC Powered By Intel's i7 Haswell
  2. From The Atom 330 To Haswell ULT: Intel Linux Performance Benchmarks
  3. AMD Radeon R9 285 Tonga Performance On Linux
  4. Apotop Wi-Copy
Latest Linux Articles
  1. AMD Moves Forward With Unified Linux Driver Strategy, New Kernel Driver
  2. MSI: Update Your BIOS From The Linux Desktop
  3. NVIDIA vs. AMD 2D Linux Drivers: Catalyst Is Getting Quite Good At 2D
  4. 15-Way GPU Comparison With Mesa 10.3 + Linux 3.17
Latest Linux News
  1. Linux 3.18-rc1 Released One Week Early With Many Changes
  2. The VC4 Gallium3D Driver Is Still Moving Along For The Raspberry Pi
  3. Direct3D 9 Support Might Land Within Mainline Mesa 3D Drivers
  4. OpenGL Preview Benchmarks For NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 970
  5. HOPE: The Ease Of Python With The Speed Of C++
  6. Vitesse: Using LLVM To Speed Up Databases
  7. AMD Is Restructuring Again, Losing 7% Of Employees
  8. Linux Testing Of The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
  9. Qt 5.4 Now In Beta With Web, Bluetooth LE, Graphics Improvements
  10. AMD's Radeon R9 285 On Linux Offers Good OpenCL Performance
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. NVIDIA Presents Its Driver Plans To Support Mir/Wayland & KMS On Linux
  2. AMD Is Restructuring Again, Losing 7% Of Employees
  3. Bye bye BSD, Hello Linux: A Sys Admin's Story
  4. Open-Source AMD Fusion E-350 Support Takes A Dive
  5. Upgrade to Kaveri, very slow VDPAU performance
  6. ChromeOS Drops Support For EXT2/EXT3/EXT4 File-Systems
  7. Lennart Poettering On The Open-Source Community: A Sick Place To Be In
  8. The Slides Announcing The New "AMDGPU" Kernel Driver