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

Open-Source Radeon HD 6000 Series Still Borked

Michael Larabel

Published on 25 June 2011
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 1 - 98 Comments

The first of the AMD Radeon HD 6000 "Northern Islands" graphics cards launched late last year, and while the open-source Linux driver support is technically there for those interested in this alternative to the proprietary Catalyst driver, the support is still largely broken. Here is a quick look.

It was back in January that AMD began pushing open-source Radeon HD 6000 series support with KMS and Mesa/Gallium3D support, which covered all of the "Northern Islands" ASICs. In February, AMD then released the first part of the AMD "Cayman" documentation, which is their Radeon HD 6900 series and architecturally is different from the rest of the HD 6000 series. In March there was then Cayman KMS support and in late May there was finally Cayman accelerated support for EXA/X-Video and Mesa/Gallium3D.

Exactly one month ago, I wrote that the Northern Islands support was busted on open-source. Still, even with the most recent kernel code as of yesterday following another DRM pull with more bug-fixes, the Northern Islands and Cayman code is still not very useful for those into OpenGL gaming. The Linux 3.0 kernel development cycle is ending, but still there are problems.

When running OpenGL games and other select workloads, it is choppy as shown one month ago in the video as the GPU keeps being tapped in the wrong way. If looking at the dmesg kernel output, there is a continuous stream of IB scheduling problems. This is a slightly different issue (though perhaps related) to the GPU lockup issue that I created a bug report on FreeDesktop.org back in April, but it remains open to this day. This issue has also reportedly affected others, for some even experiencing GPU hangs from the desktop when Compiz is active.

I've hit these Radeon HD 6000 series support problems with the latest components in a variety of configurations and with all Northern Islands / Cayman GPUs at my disposal: Radeon HD 6570, Radeon HD 6870, and Radeon HD 6950.

At least kernel mode-setting seems to be working fine and once fixing up a few bugs the overall support will hopefully be on par with that of the Radeon HD 4000 and Radeon HD 5000 series. The “R600g” driver provides the Radeon HD 6000 series Gallium3D support so most of the code is shared going back to the Radeon HD 2000 series when it comes to this user-space driver.

When this support is fixed up, we will finally be able to deliver open-source benchmarks, but hopefully this is cleaned before the Radeon HD 7000 series launch. This belated support is not a complete surprise when it was only last month that the open-source AMD Fusion driver had stabilized. Further out, we are excited about the Radeon HD 8000 series when there should be a major open-source milestone in that we'll hopefully see on-time open-source Linux support for this hardware right around the time the hardware first ships.

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. MSI X99S SLI PLUS On Linux
  2. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 Offers Great Linux Performance
  3. CompuLab Intense-PC2: An Excellent, Fanless, Mini PC Powered By Intel's i7 Haswell
  4. From The Atom 330 To Haswell ULT: Intel Linux Performance Benchmarks
Latest Linux Articles
  1. RunAbove: A POWER8 Compute Cloud With Offerings Up To 176 Threads
  2. 6-Way Ubuntu 14.10 Linux Desktop Benchmarks
  3. Ubuntu 14.10 XMir System Compositor Benchmarks
  4. Btrfs RAID HDD Testing On Ubuntu Linux 14.10
Latest Linux News
  1. Fedora 21 Beta & Final Release Slip Further
  2. Mesa 10.3.2 Has A Couple Bug-Fixes
  3. RadeonSI/R600g HyperZ Support Gets Turned Back On
  4. openSUSE Factory & Tumbleweed Are Merging
  5. More Fedora Delays: Fedora 21 Beta Slips
  6. Mono Brings C# To The Unreal Engine 4
  7. Coreboot Now Has Support For Intel Broadwell Hardware
  8. Enlightenment's EFL 1.12 Alpha Has Evas GL-DRM Engine, OpenGL ES 1.1 Support
  9. GTK+ Lands Experimental Backend For Mir Display Server
  10. Ubuntu 14.10 Officially Released
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. AMD Radeon VDPAU Video Performance With Gallium3D
  2. HOPE: The Ease Of Python With The Speed Of C++
  3. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  4. Ubuntu 16.04 Might Be The Distribution's Last 32-Bit Release
  5. Linux hacker compares Solaris kernel code:
  6. Advertisements On Phoronix
  7. Users/Developers Threatening Fork Of Debian GNU/Linux
  8. AMD Releases UVD Video Decode Support For R600 GPUs