NVIDIA 470 Series Driver Looks Like It Will Bring OpenCL 3.0 Support

Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 9 March 2021 at 05:00 PM EST. 36 Comments
We are already quite eager for NVIDIA's 470 series Linux driver due to Wayland / DMA-BUF improvements coming to this next major feature release for their proprietary driver stack. Making it all the more exciting is it looks like the NVIDIA 470 series driver will have OpenCL 3.0 support.

NVIDIA today released an updated WSL driver for use on Windows 10. What makes this notable though is the driver adding support for OpenCL 3.0.

Today's R470 beta (470.05) driver drop is the WSL/Windows driver build but considering NVIDIA's driver stack is largely shared across platforms and OpenCL is equally -- or even more -- important on Linux systems, it's likely safe to assume their Linux driver will also be supporting OpenCL 3.0 either for its inaugural 470 series beta or shortly thereafter. Such features not explicitly tied closely into the OS/platform tend to be supported across NVIDIA's Windows and Linux drivers roughly around the same time.

NVIDIA's drivers have been notably absent of supporting OpenCL 2.x that was said to be due to Shared Virtual Memory (SVM) issues. But with OpenCL 3.0 the SVM support and other CL 2.x features are made optional, thereby allowing NVIDIA and other vendors to support their desired subset of functionality above OpenCL 1.2. The Khronos Group released OpenCL 3.0 officially in September after being announced in April 2020.

OpenCL 3.0 allows for an easy upgrade path from OpenCL 1.2, but with all the optional bits, it will be interesting to see all of what capabilities are being supported by NVIDIA's OpenCL 3.0 driver.

Outside of the NVIDIA scope, Intel's open-source stack supports OpenCL 3.0 under Linux. There is also work-in-progress OpenCL 3.0 for Mesa's Clover. We are still waiting on OpenCL 3.0 support out of the AMD / ROCm Linux compute stack.
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