Nouveau Working On Bringing Up Some OpenGL Compute Shader Support For NV50 Era GPUs

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 1 May 2021 at 08:16 PM EDT. 23 Comments
Open-source "Nouveau" driver developers have been working on at least partial support for OpenGL compute within the NV50 Gallium3D driver that is used by the NVIDIA GeForce 8 series through GeForce 300 series graphics cards.

Longtime Nouveau contributor Ilia Mirkin has been working recently on compute support for NV50 Gallium3D driver for pre-Fermi GPUs. The focus with this compute support seems to be about working towards OpenGL ES 3.1 requirements where ARB_compute_shader is mandated.

This merge request, which was pushed into Mesa 21.2-devel on Saturday, explains: "This doesn't actually flip any caps [the feature capabilities to be exposed] - that has to be done a bit more carefully, since it will likely enable extensions we don't want enabled. However this is enough to pass most of ES 3.1 dEQP tests. There are some outstanding issues with constbuf updates, and perhaps some other things. But any fixes to that will be incremental on top of these changes."

Nouveau is still working to improve the open-source driver support for decade old NVIDIA hardware.

So for those still relying on pre-Fermi GPUs and using the open-source Nouveau driver stack with NV50 Gallium3D, there is some level of OpenGL compute shader support at least being pursued for next quarter's Mesa feature release.

We'll see what more comes for these aging NVIDIA GPUs on this unofficial open-source NVIDIA driver stack. Then again, it was 5+ years ago when some Nouveau NV50 compute support got underway with an aim for eventually bringing up OpenCL albeit still is a work-in-progress.
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