AMD Drops Pre-Polaris GPU Support From Their Mainline Radeon Software Driver

Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 22 June 2021 at 06:04 AM EDT. 40 Comments
AMD has shifted all their graphics processors and APUs prior to Polaris / GCN 1.4 to being legacy and will not be supported by their new Radeon Software Adrenalin releases.

AMD announced that products ranging from their A-Series APUs up through the Radeon R9 300 series (including R9 Fury) are now legacy and will not see new releases with their mainline driver. On Monday for Windows users they published the Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.6.1 release while 21.5.2 is the last for these pre-Polaris graphics processors.

This basically makes legacy their graphics processors prior to 2016 when Graphics Core Next 4 was launched with the Radeon 400 series. Their Radeon Software support announcement was made at

AMD has made legacy (end of life) their driver support up through the Radeon Rx 300 series and R9 Fury/Nano. That's for their packaged Windows driver while on Linux there is still some life left to them.

Of course, this is is in relation to their Windows driver and Radeon Software packaged driver. For those making use of the mainline open-source AMD Radeon graphics drivers, it should largely be business as usual. The Radeon and AMDGPU kernel drivers remain part of the mainline kernel and obviously no plans to eliminate those while the R300g/R600g/RadeonSI OpenGL drivers remain in Mesa. AMD's open-source Linux developers have largely been focusing on the latest generations of GPUs already but thanks to the open-source nature the older GPU support sticks around and the community and any other capable individuals are able to keep improving the old GPU support as we've seen. There's been Gert still working on a NIR back-end for R600 Gallium3D and various other individuals working to improve older generations of Radeon GPU support. Just don't expect any big breakthroughs or focus from AMD engineers on the older hardware support.

One of the few improvements still sought after for GCN 1.0 and GCN 1.1 graphics processors on Linux has been migrating the default kernel driver from the Radeon DRM to the AMDGPU DRM, which would allow for better performance, Vulkan support, and more. Users at run-time can still shift to the AMDGPU driver but there hasn't been any action lately on trying to make the default change. Such a changeover had been held up by the AMDGPU DC code with various display features not at parity with one of the only lingering shortcomings of AMDGPU DC being no support for analog outputs.

AMD may end up marking the pre-Polaris support in the Radeon Software for Linux driver as end-of-life, but there that packaged driver is of limited popularity anyways outside of enterprise Linux environments. So the Linux impact overall should be small from AMD's support change around these early GCN graphics processors and prior.
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