AMD Posts Linux Driver Patches For Video Core Next 5 "VCN 5.0"

Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 8 February 2024 at 03:41 PM EST. 16 Comments
It looks like next-generation RDNA4 graphics will feature a new iteration of the Video Core Next (VCN) for accelerated video encode/decode. VCN 5.0 patches were posted today for the AMDGPU Linux kernel driver.

The Video Core Next engine was introduced with Raven Ridge APUs for unifying the Unified Video Decoder (UVD) and Video Coding Engine (VCE) designs. VCN 2.0 came with Navi 1x, VCN 3.0 was introduced with Navi 2x, and VCN 4.0 arrived with Navi 3x and Phoenix SoCs. Now with upcoming Navi 4x / RDNA4 graphics processors, it looks like VCN 5.0 will be introduced.

With VCN 4.0 having added AV1 encode, Video Core Next is already quite capable but will be interesting to see if they up the resolution support or can handle additional color formats or the like with VCN5.

The patches posted today add 7.6k lines of auto-generated header files and then the other basic AMDGPU kernel driver additions for enabling this IP block and the necessary firmware loading.

As of writing the VCN 5.0 patches for the AMD Gallium3D code haven't yet been posted that would reveal any new end-user capabilities... But for any shiny new Mesa features AMD tends to not implement those bits in public merge requests until closer to hardware launch or afterwards in some cases. Though given the timing this work may be related to the recent AMD VPElib changes for supporting geometric scaling and HLG.

AMD VCN5 support

These AMD VCN 5.0 patches also come just days after other new AMD graphics IP blocks were enabled including ATHUB 4.1, LSDMA 7.0, IH 7.0, and HDP 7.0. Given the timing these new IP blocks appear to be all on the horizon for RDNA4 graphics cards expected to release later this year. If all goes well -- and signs pointing that way with this early enablement work on the AMDGPU kernel driver, LLVM's AMDGPU back-end, etc -- there will be nice out-of-the-box Linux support come launch.

Update (4:18 PM EST): Another new patch series just posted is enabling JPEG 5.0 IP block support too.
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