While there still is no open-source R600/700 3D documentation or code, Pierre Ossman and AMD's Alex Deucher working on the xf86-video-ati driver have added a feature that should please those with already supported GPUs. They have added what should be tear-free X-Video support!
AMD has yet to go through their final intellectual property review on the R600/700 3D documentation that could yield open ATI R600/700 3D graphics by Christmas (though the chances of this happening are slimming), but Novell's Hatthias Hopf has provided a status update to report that they have internally begun work on an RV770 DRI driver for Mesa.
Egbert Eich has announced this morning on the RadeonHD mailing list that rotation support has been added to this open-source ATI R500+ driver. This is a feature requested by many to be able to rotate the screen using RandR with the xf86-video-radeonhd driver, which is now possible. It is recommended that if you're using the rotation option that you use EXA acceleration. In addition, the panning mode currently isn't supported when using the rotation support. This support can currently be found in git master and will appear in the next stable release of the RadeonHD driver.
Earlier this month we shared that an experimental ATI DRI2 driver had emerged that offered Direct Rendering Infrastructure 2 support to the open-source ATI Linux driver with GEM and TTM bits. Today though Compiz is now working with this ATI DRI2 code.
In addition to announcing the Shanghai Quad-Core Opterons today, AMD has also released an updated Linux graphics driver. The AMD Catalyst 8.11 binary driver though doesn't have many Linux changes worth speaking about. The advertised features for this release is support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.7 (RHEL 4.7), a CrossFireX watermark, and display scaling support for DVI/HDMI/analog interfaces to 480i/p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p.
As the successor to their Barcelona Quad-Core Opterons, Advanced Micro Devices has this morning announced Shanghai. AMD's Shanghai is the code-name to their next-generation 45nm quad-core Opteron processors. In addition to moving over to a 45nm process for reduced power and improved performance, Shanghai CPUs are slated to deliver unsurpassed virtualization performance, improved energy efficiency, and a more competitive price-performance ratio.
Yesterday we shared about the experimental DRI2 work for the Radeon driver and today we have another open-source ATI accomplishment worth sharing: the R600/770 DRI support is nearing a working state. Matthias Hopf, one of the Novell developers working on the xf86-video-radeonhd driver, has stated that the Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI) support needed for 3D acceleration with the R600/700 series is getting closer.
It's been a while since Jerome Glisse last had any major announcements to share, but today he's announcing that he is in the progress of bringing DRI2 (Direct Rendering Infrastructure 2) to the open-source Radeon driver.
When reviewing the Radeon HD 4670 and Radeon HD 4550 we found neither solution to be open-source friendly. Due to changes between the RV770 that powers the Radeon HD 4800 series and the newer RV710 and RV730 GPUs, these graphics cards wouldn't cooperate with the xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-radeonhd drivers.
Last week new RadeonHD HDMI audio patches were released by an independent developer that allows the integrated audio processor on ATI R600+ graphics cards to be used over HDMI using the open-source RadeonHD driver (xf86-video-radeonhd). Today those patches have landed in the master branch of this X.Org driver. Some registers had to be reverse engineered because AMD hasn't released the documentation surrounding HDMI audio, but this support is known to work on at least several different card series. Check out the master branch of xf86-video-radeonhd for this committed work.
Christian König has released his latest HDMI audio patch on the RadeonHD mailing list. With the ATI R600 GPUs and later having an integrated APU (Audio Processing Unit), when using an HDMI connector it's possible to use your Radeon graphics card for sound too. There's been patches in ALSA for the sound support, but additional code is needed within the open-source X.Org drivers too. At this time neither the xf86-video-ati or xf86-video-radeonhd have support for the integrated audio, but on the RadeonHD side there have been these patches maintained by Christian.
If you thought disputes among X.Org developers were going to stop in regards to there being two leading ATI drivers (xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-radeonhd) after RadeonHD switched to using AtomBIOS, guess again. Daniel Stone committed a change to the X Server this morning that drops the RadeonHD driver from the X.Org module build infrastructure.
Yesterday we reported on Canonical shipping an unreleased ATI Catalyst driver with the forthcoming release of Ubuntu 8.10. This driver labeled fglrx 8.54.3 adds support for X Server 1.5 / X.Org 7.4 and the Linux 2.6.27 kernel. Later in the day then, AMD did go ahead and release Catalyst 8.10. However, this isn't the same driver as what's found in Ubuntu.
With Canonical publishing the ATI Catalyst 8.10 driver even before it's been announced by AMD or appearing on their driver download page, we've taken this opportunity for an early look at this next Linux driver. In early September we confirmed XvMC and UVD are coming to ATI's Linux driver and that it would be enabled in the October driver. Looking at the default AMDPCSDB (AMD Persistent Configuration Driver Store Data-Base) in this driver for Ubuntu 8.10 there is indeed the Unified Video Decoder (2) option and it's enabled.
Behind open-source 3D acceleration for the ATI R600 and R700 series, improved power management has been a much sought after feature among those using the open-source xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-radeonhd drivers. There has been Dynamic Clocks support since earlier this year, but it's not nearly as advanced PowerPlay found within the Catalyst driver. We are now though getting closer to reaching open-source PowerPlay support.
Since Advanced Micro Devices acquired ATI Technologies back in 2006 they have experienced some financial hardship over this $5 billion USD purchase. In hopes of turning around this situation, AMD has announced this morning they have split themselves from their manufacturing facilities as part of their Asset Smart strategy.
LM_Sensors 3.0.3 was just released earlier this week, but a rather interesting patch has appeared today on the LM_Sensors mailing list. Back in July an AMD Phenom Thermal Linux driver was made for LM_Sensors, but today's patch adds the AMD Phenom 10h support to the k8temp driver. Additionally, this patch also provides thermal monitoring support for AMD's 11h processors.
After slides had leaked out onto the Internet last month that AMD is going to support playing high-definition multimedia content on Linux, we had talked a bit more about UVD for Linux. There are two shared libraries already shipping with the AMD Catalyst Linux Suite, libAMDXvBA.so.1.o and libXvBAW.so.1.o, that reference XvMC and UVD2 (Unified Video Decoder 2) but they aren't yet being utilized by the proprietary driver. If those slides are to be believed, however, the official high-definition video support (such as Blu-Ray) will arrive this month in Catalyst 8.10.
With the most recent Catalyst 8.9 Linux driver release there is support for MultiView on FireGL and FirePRO graphics cards. This allows the user to use multiple graphics cards together in order to build a single X server that spans all of these displays. With some motherboards such as the ASUS P5E64 WS Professional having four PCI Express x16 slots, you can have four graphics cards and if each one provides two DVI ports you then can have yourself an eight-monitor setup. Each monitor can be configured through the AMD Catalyst Control Center Linux Edition.
Last month the Catalyst 8.8 Linux driver was released with CrossFire For Linux (including support for the Radeon HD 4870 X2) and OverDrive-based overclocking. In that article we also shared two new interesting libraries appeared within the driver package: libAMDXvBA.so.1.o and libXvBAW.so.1.o.
This week marks the one year anniversary since AMD had announced its open-source strategy and in two weeks will mark the anniversary of the xf86-video-radeonhd code release that contained R500 and R600 mode-setting support, but not much more. Celebrating this one year milestone was a celebration with Luc Verhaegen, Jerome Glisse, and Egbert Eich during XDS 2008 at the The Bad Ass pub in Edinburgh, Scotland.
We have just found out from AMD's John Bridgman that Alex Deucher, one of their open-source engineers, has today successfully rendered its first hardware-accelerated triangle on the Radeon HD 4800 series (RV770). In other words, the first open-source 3D milestone for this latest graphics card family from ATI!
For those following the xf86-video-ati developments or use this open-source Radeon driver for their graphics card, you may want to check out the latest development code. Committed to its git branch today was a lot of new work from Alex Deucher, Dennis Kasprzyk, David Airlie, Egbert Eich, and Corbin Simpson.
A month ago we had shared that the RadeonHD driver would be switching to AtomBIOS, or the ATI video BIOS abstraction layer used since their R400 series graphics cards, and today they have completed this code merger. The Novell developers behind the RadeonHD driver have long preferred the route of banging on the registers directly than relying upon this closed-source (aside from the open-source parser) framework, but they had folded due to pressure from AMD with the time it's taken to support new GPUs and the developers behind held up waiting on register documentation to arrive.
In time for SIGGRAPH 2008, AMD has announced the ATI FirePro series with the FirePro V3700 and V5700 being the first two products. However, unlike many of their FireGL graphics cards, the prices on these two announced FirePro parts aren't that bad. The FirePro V3700 will cost a mere $99 USD while the V5700 will be $599 USD. These new workstation graphics cards support DisplayPort, OpenGL 2.1, and PCI Express 2.0. The FirePro series will start shipping in September so we expect there will be Linux support for these graphics cards by Catalyst 8.11. More on the FirePro series can be found in the press release and FirePro product page.
Back in March we had benchmarked the ATI Radeon HD 3200, which is an integrated graphics processor (IGP) built into AMD's 780G motherboard chipset for use with Phenom processors (but is also backwards compatible with early AMD AM2 CPUs). We were pleased with the performance of the Radeon HD 3200 IGP, but today AMD has introduced the 790GX Chipset with Radeon HD 3300 graphics.
For the past two weeks we've been talking about the RadeonHD Command Submission branch that changes all of the driver's command sequencing calls into inline functions in order to offer dramatically improved performance. This branch of the xf86-video-radeonhd driver also presents a command submission infrastructure using the GPU's command processor (CP) for the R500 (Radeon X1000) series using MMIO (Memory Mapped I/O).
For those interested in playing with the latest open-source ATI code but don't want to dive into kernel mode-setting or the new AtomBIOS parser, you may want to test out the CS branch. The CS branch was started last week by Luc Verhaegen as it turns all calls made by the driver into macros. This was done due to GCC not optimizing the inline functions within the xf86-video-radeonhd driver on OpenSuSE, but now the performance of these calls is much more efficient. This driver branch also introduces a command submission infrastructure for R500 MMIO (Memory Mapped I/O) to allow the use of the GPU's CP (Command Processor) without depending upon DRM (Direct Rendering Manager).
Many Linux users will be celebrating the Christmas holiday in five months, but it seems there's a holiday worth celebrating today for open-source ATI Linux users.
There are already separate branches of the xf86-video-radeonhd driver for AtomBIOS support and another one for improved 2D acceleration, but today we have yet another branch. This new branch is called "CS" and what it does is change all calls within the driver for the command sequences (the "CS") into macros.
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