AMD Releases R600/700 Programming Guide
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 7 May 2009. Page 1 of 1. 55 Comments

AMD ended out last year by releasing basic R600/700 3D code that allowed the rendering of open-source triangles, but not much in the way of usable OpenGL acceleration for end-users. Just last month AMD had then pushed out new R600/700 code that plugged into the Mesa stack and is being used as the groundwork for the providing open-source OpenGL acceleration on the Linux desktop with newer ATI graphics processors. In between December and April, AMD had also released extensive documentation covering the 3D engines on the R600 and R700 graphics processors along with the R700 instruction set architecture. While the open-source 3D support is still emerging for the Radeon HD 2000, 3000, and 4000 series, AMD has released some more documentation. This time around they have a programming guide for those developers interested in understanding the latest ATI GPUs.

This 43 page document that is entitled "Radeon R6xx/R7xx Acceleration" provides a basic overview of the ASIC architecture and a small programming guide. This document also covers the packet definitions and information concerning synchronization and cache flushing for these newest graphics processors. Explained in detail is the second generation Superscalar Unified Shader Architecture, technical changes between the R600 and R670, technical changes between the R670 and R700 series, the R600/700 3D pipeline, and various other topics that excite graphics driver developers.

This programming guide can be currently found on the X.Org FTP Server and will appear on the AMD web-site in the coming days. Kudos to all of the AMD engineers involved, particularly Alex Deucher and John Bridgman, who continue working on this new documentation and code. For those end-users just interested in usable 3D support for the Radeon HD 2000, 3000, and 4000 series, it should be just a matter of weeks before it reaches a semi-ready state. Those with older ATI hardware should already have proper 3D support in Mesa, while all of this OpenGL support will be enriched once migrating to the Gallium3D architecture later this year.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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