AMD Sends Out Linux Graphics Driver Patches For "Arcturus" As New Vega Derived GPU

Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 15 July 2019 at 05:58 PM EDT. 22 Comments
Remember last September when that AMD Arcturus codename dropped in our forums for what at first appeared to be a successor to Navi but later clarified to be used as a Linux driver enablement codename? Well, the Linux kernel driver patches for this "Arcturus" GPU have just been posted.

This Radeon Arcturus support comes just a few weeks after the Radeon RX 5000 "Navi" Linux driver support was posted. But indeed this "Arcturus" part isn't based on Navi but rather a new swing on Vega based on Vega 20 in part. And we haven't heard of "Arcturus" at any recent AMD events nor from leaks on the more Windows focused sites.

So what is Arcturus? Betting on a soon-to-be-announced workstation card we'd bet could be announced as soon as SIGGRAPH. Remember just days ago we spotted a new AMD "GFX908" target added to the AMDGPU LLVM shader compiler code. GFX908 is a new Vega target not paired with an existing graphics card. It points to workstation due to ECC memory and other attributes.

We've also heard from AMD directly at the Navi event and E3 over their plans to continue to use Vega+HBM when it comes to workstation/compute offerings as Vega is still quite good in that regard.

So all things considered, Arcturus appears to be a forthcoming Vega workstation "Radeon Instinct" type offering we'd be could be announced at SIGGRAPH or Hot Chips based on the timing. Digging through this code drop today, it further points at a compute accelerator without any 3D support, "It's because Arcturus has not 3D engine."

Arcuturus isn't a small change over Vega 20 but amounts to 102 patches to the AMDGPU kernel driver and 100,491 lines of new code. Granted, lots of that new code is auto-generated header files for the registers.

Interesting to the code it does reveal a "VCN2.5" Video Core Next implementation and there are just three device IDs added for Arcturus GPUs.

More details as they come to light. Given the timing, this Arcturus code will likely be merged for Linux 5.4 considering we're already through week one of the Linux 5.3 merge window.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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