EXA Support Finally Comes To The R128 Driver
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 6 July 2012 at 07:46 AM EDT. 28 Comments
It has been fourteen years since the ATI Rage 128 graphics cards were released, but some within the open-source community are still using this vintage graphics hardware and even advancing the ATI driver.

With XAA 2D acceleration finally being killed within the X.Org driver, the old DDX drivers that don't have EXA support are basically left to use the ShadowFB acceleration on the CPU. XAA hasn't accelerated much modern software and it was just time to kill off the old hardware support.

For those that may still get some use or joy out of using a graphics card that's more than a decade old, Connor Behan has updated the xf86-video-r128 driver to support EXA acceleration so that 2D operations can be accelerated going forward without XAA.

Connor has been one of the few developers (mostly the only one) left working on the ATI R128 open-source Linux driver. Yesterday he published an EXA support patch that hooks in support for EXA operations of Solid, Copy, and Composite. It's been tested with and without DRI, multiple color depths, and with/without the Composite extension. Hardware cursor, X-Video, and page-flipping are all supported.

Implementing EXA support for the R128 driver amounted to nearly 2,000 lines of code. The patch, until merged in the mainline Git repository, can be found on the xorg-devel list.

For those wishing to reminis over the ATI Rage 128 days, the GPUs based upon this design from 1998 were compliant with OpenGL 1.2 / Direct3D 6.0, featured two pixel pipelines, had 16 or 32MB of video memory, compliant with AGP 2x, and the core was fabbed on a 0.25 micr-meter process while features eight million transistors. The Rage 128 primarily competed with NVIDIA's RIVA TNT hardware of the time.

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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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