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

An Open-Source Radeon HD 4670? Sort Of.

Michael Larabel

Published on 16 September 2008
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 1 - 24 Comments

When the Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870 were introduced earlier this year, it was wonderful. These latest high-end graphics cards from ATI had same-day Linux support through their Catalyst driver and the open-source ATI drivers had "just worked" with the RV770 series. The mode-setting support with the xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-radeonhd drivers just required adding in the PCI IDs for these new PCI Express graphics cards and then the rest of the magic was provided by AtomBIOS. However, with the introduction of the Radeon HD 4600 series, not everything is working instantly with the open-source drivers.

The kind folks at Sapphire Technology had sent out the ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics card upon its release. The Radeon HD 4670 retails well under $100 USD and has 512MB of GDDR3 memory with a 128-bit interface. Its RV730 core operates at 750MHz and the memory is running at 1000MHz. We will have our full review on the Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in the near future, but for now we just want to share its open-source status.

We were successful in using the Radeon HD 4850 with an open driver and HD 4870 since most of the architectural changes between the R600 and RV770 are hidden behind the AtomBIOS interface. AtomBIOS is the video BIOS abstraction layer that was designed by ATI and has been implemented within their graphics cards since the R400 series. AtomBIOS itself isn't open-source but their parser is available and most recently they had released a new version. The xf86-video-ati driver has been using AtomBIOS since last year when they decided to add support for the R500/600 series, while it wasn't until July when the RadeonHD driver finally and fully adopted AtomBIOS under pressure from AMD.

With there being more changes from the R600 to RV770 compared to the RV770 to RV730, we expected the Radeon HD 4670 too would "just work" with AtomBIOS and the open-source drivers, but this wasn't the case. After adding in the Radeon HD 4670 PCI ID (0x9490) and rebuilding the driver, it hadn't worked when using a DVI display. The RadeonHD driver wasn't able to output a signal but with the ATI driver it had outputted a signal but the screen remained black. Switching though to using a 1280 x 1024 LCD panel with a VGA interface, both drivers had then successfully worked.

The open-source ATI developers have yet to receive the Radeon HD 4650 or Radeon HD 4670 graphics cards, but we have supplied them with a copy of the video BIOS and verbose logs. There are some display controller changes on the RV730 with the output blocks, but in theory, AtomBIOS should have concealed the differences. Ideally, we will see support for the new RV730 digital output blocks in the near future. For those interested in full 3D support, CrossFire, OverDrive, and other advanced features will need to use AMD's Catalyst driver for Linux. Catalyst 8.9 to be released this month will officially support the Radeon HD 4600 series.

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 Articles & Reviews
  1. AMD FX-8320E Performance On Linux
  2. Linux Compiler Benchmarks Of LLVM Clang 3.5 vs. LLVM Clang 3.6-rc1
  3. Intel Broadwell HD Graphics 5500: Windows 8.1 vs. Linux
  4. Linux Benchmarks Of NVIDIA's Early 2015 GeForce Line-Up
  5. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960: A Great $200 GPU For Linux Gamers
  6. Disk Encryption Tests On Fedora 21
Latest Linux News
  1. GParted 0.21 Brings ReFS Detection, EXT4 For RHEL5, Reiser4 For Linux 3.x
  2. Wine Staging Update Has Better CUDA Support, Driver Testing Framework
  3. Nouveau In Linux 3.20 Will Have A Lot Of Code Cleaning
  4. Compare Your Linux System To The i7-5600U Broadwell X1 Carbon ThinkPad
  5. Debian 8.0 "Jessie" Installer RC1 Released
  6. Chromebook "Rush" With 64-bit Tegra SoC Support Lands In Coreboot
  7. 2015 X.Org Elections Get Underway For Board Members, SPI Merger
  8. Linux 3.19-rc6 Kernel Released: LInux 3.19 Final In Two Weeks
  9. Ubuntu's Mir Gains Server-Side Platform Probing
  10. Broadwell Linux Ultrabook Running MUCH Cooler Than Haswell
Most Viewed News This Week
  1. Windows 10 To Be A Free Upgrade: What Linux Users Need To Know
  2. Google Admin Encourages Trying Btrfs, Not ZFS On Linux
  3. TraceFS: The Newest Linux File-System
  4. My Initial Intel Broadwell Linux Experience With The ThinkPad X1 Carbon
  5. Mozilla's Servo Still On Track For 2015 Alpha Release
  6. Fedora 23 Likely To Pursue Wayland By Default
  7. Keith Packard Leaves Intel's Linux Graphics Work
  8. Interstellar Marines On Linux With Catalyst: Bull S*#@