In the early hours of this morning AMD officially launched the ATI Radeon HD 5800 graphics cards series, currently made up of the Radeon HD 5850 and Radeon HD 5870. Both of these graphics cards are based upon their next-generation Evergreen (RV880) graphics core that brings significant improvements over the RV770 that was launched last July with the Radeon HD 4800 series. Early reviews on these high-end ATI graphics cards have been quite positive, but how's the Linux support? Well, to much dismay, we have to report that we aren't even sure.
Unlike with the ATI RV770 launch where we were able to report on their evolutionary leap in Linux support
through providing same-day Catalyst drivers and many other feature improvements and also had out Radeon HD 4850
and Radeon HD 4870
Linux benchmarks. This time around though, we have nothing. We have no Evergreen hardware in hand and have not even received any technical briefings on this new hardware.
About all we know is that the Radeon HD 5850/5870 graphics cards should
be working with either the Catalyst 9.9 or 9.10 proprietary driver releases. It's anticipated that there would be a similar level of support in terms of features to that of the current Radeon HD 4000 series (R700) support. Earlier this month AMD did release a 24 display Linux demo
using Eyefinity Technology found on these new ATI Radeon HD 5800 series graphics cards, but that is using an internal Catalyst driver release.
In regards to open-source support for the Radeon HD 5800 series, we would expect initial mode-setting support to appear within the xf86-video-ati driver within weeks and hopefully we will also see kernel mode-setting support shortly thereafter or around time of the Linux 2.6.33 kernel, We would expect it to be at least a couple of months before there is any open-source 3D acceleration support for these new graphics cards.
When we manage to get our hands on the ATI Radeon HD 5850/5870 graphics cards we will have our in-depth review with plenty of graphics benchmarks.