NVIDIA Bringing Up Open-Source Volta GPU Support For Their Xavier SoC

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 17 September 2019 at 08:16 PM EDT. 8 Comments
While NVIDIA doesn't contribute much open-source Linux driver code as it concerns their desktop GPUs (though they have been ramping up documentation), when it comes to Tegra/embedded is where they have contributed improvements and new hardware support to Nouveau and associated driver code in the past several years. NVIDIA's open-source Tegra/embedded contributions come as a result of customer demand/requirements. Their latest work is preparing to finally bring-up the "GV11B" Volta graphics found within last year's Tegra Xavier SoC.

NVIDIA's Thierry Reding who has long been involved with the company's open-source/Nouveau contributions sent out this week prep work to the GV11B support. The six patches don't yet light up the Volta graphics on Xavier, but they make some changes needed ahead of the actual GPU enablement. In particular, GV11B is pickier about the aperture unlike earlier GPUs on Tegra SoCs. So these patches get the Nouveau driver in order.

We'll let you know when the actual Volta graphics enablement for Xavier finally hits. However, don't expect the open-source support to be particularly useful: most Tegra use-cases are focused on compute to which there is no viable open-source NVIDIA compute stack at the moment to compete with their proprietary software stack. Tegra Xavier was introduced last year and besides the Jetson AGX Xavier development board is also found in the DRIVE Xavier and DRIVE Pegasus offerings and is their current-generation chip ahead of Tegra Orin that we haven't heard much about since last year.

Meanwhile for older Jetson TX2 hardware with the GP10B GPU, there is 11 patches new this week to properly enable the GPU on this Tegra SoC. Jetson TX2 / GP10B code has been around before, but there has been issues between some devices.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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