Broadcom Valkyrie/Viper VK Accelerators Set To See Mainline Support With Linux 5.12

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 26 January 2021 at 04:53 PM EST. 4 Comments
For nearly one year Broadcom engineers have been working on Linux mainline drivers for their VK accelerators. Finally with the upcoming Linux 5.12 kernel the support is in place for those Broadcom Viper and Valkyrie accelerator cards.

These Broadcom accelerator cards interface via PCI Express and provide offload engines for video transcoding and other tasks. These accelerator cards can be used for other real-time, high performance, high throughput offload compute purposes like around image and audio operations as well as crypto.

The Broadcom VK accelerator card support can be exposed via the BCM_VK Kconfig build switch. The accelerators are exposed to user-space via /dev/bcm-vk.X devices. The kernel infrastructure is quite basic at this point and spans a number of commits bringing up the infrastructure. It's up to user-space for loading most of the work onto these accelerator cards to which we haven't yet seen too much code or details. Details on the Broadcom Viper and Valkyrie hardware in general still appears light, even one year after first writing about this open-source VK accelerator driver work.

Ahead of the Linux 5.12 merge window, all of the Broadcom VK driver patches so far have been queued into char-misc-next. In the past there's been talk of introducing a formal accelerator subsystem for the Linux kernel given the increasing number of drivers for these specialized offload engines / AI accelerators and more, but for now they continue to live within the char-misc realm.
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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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