Open-Source ATI Evergreen Support Arrives
Months after the ATI Radeon HD 5000 series (known by the "Evergreen" family codename) was introduced, AMD has finally pushed out the first bits of open-source code. This morning if you are to checkout the xf86-video-ati DDX driver branch there is initial user-space mode-setting support for the Radeon HD 5000 series GPUs. The ATI kernel mode-setting support that we really care about these days is also about done, but it isn't yet published. The open-source ATI driver currently offers no 2D (EXA) acceleration and the 3D support either through a classic Mesa driver or Gallium3D also is not yet available.
The DDX driver supports mode-setting on the Evergreen/R800 series GPUs with VGA and DVI connectors while the DisplayPort connectivity is still not working right, according to AMD's Alex Deucher who had written most of this code. These new AMD graphics cards have been around since September while there was no open-source support at that time. In December just before Christmas there was Evergreen Shader documentation that was made publicly available and around that time it was confirmed via our forums that initial VGA mode-setting was working with Evergreen internally on unreleased code. Since then the digital connector support has been added in and this code has finally cleared AMD's legal review. The revised target was to publish this code by FOSDEM, which is this weekend so AMD did hit the target this time.
Ideally we can see the initial Evergreen kernel mode-setting support land in time for the Linux 2.6.34 kernel merge window that should be opening up next month. At this time there is no Radeon HD 5000 series support via hard-coded paths or AtomBIOS with the xf86-video-radeonhd driver, nor do we know if any support will ever come.
For those interested in the Radeon HD 5000 series and the Catalyst Linux driver, which has been supported since the first Evergreen GPUs were introduced, we have benchmarks of the Radeon HD 5750 and Radeon HD 5770. Logs of the chatter surrounding the open-source Evergreen push can be found at RadeonHD.org, which is also owned by Phoronix Media.
The PCI IDs added to the xf86-video-ati DDX driver for the Radeon HD 5000 series card support includes the desktop and mobile GPUs currently released (from the Radeon HD 5450 through the Radeon HD 5970) along with some unreleased ASICs. There are a few other Cypress/Redwood ASICs, including the FirePro version of the Cypress, another Redwood, and multiple Cedar (HD 5400/5500) GPUs. Check out this patch.
The xf86-video-ati patches to support these new ATI graphics processors is currently several hundred lines of code without any acceleration support. The introduced patches (driver log) update AtomBIOS, add AtomBIOS support for the new digital output setup on Evergreen, LUT support, hardware cursor support, and CRTC/PLL updates.
Now we just need to wait for 2D and 3D acceleration support along with KMS, which fortunately is right out on the horizon or so it seems. We're also waiting to find out what other sort of hardware documentation will be released for the Evergreen ASICs like AMD has done with Radeon product families. You can discuss this and hear from AMD and driver developers in our forums.
The ATI Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 (R600/700) graphics processors are what up to this point have been the biggest focus among open-source driver developers, which now has proper kernel mode-setting support and 3D acceleration via Mesa. The Radeon X1000 (R500) support is basically 2D/3D complete at this time as with the much older ATI Radeon hardware, which now is in the process of migrating to a Gallium3D stack.
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