Open-Source NVIDIA Vulkan Driver "NVK" Begins Running Game While Using GSP Firmware

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 21 March 2023 at 08:50 AM EDT. 20 Comments
Red Hat developer David Airlie has shown off the progress being made on bringing up not only the open-source Mesa NVIDIA Vulkan driver "NVK" but doing so while making use of the NVIDIA GPU System Processor (GSP) firmware that ultimately is needed for being able to deliver better open-source driver support and performance.

The developers involved have been successful in getting the NVK Vulkan driver working atop their experimental Nouveau DRM kernel driver code that is being adapted to make use of the GSP firmware with RTX 20 series hardware and newer. The Nouveau GSP support hasn't been upstreamed to the mainline kernel yet nor is it clear when that will happen, but it's been a big focus recently for the developers.

David Airlie shows off driver progress

By leveraging the NVIDIA GSP with newer hardware generations, the hope is that will overcome their re-clocking / power management limitations that they've been challenged by since the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 series. With the NVIDIA GSP now responsible for such tasks and NVIDIA publishing the GSP firmware as part of their open kernel driver effort, hopefully in time things will come together for offering a decent and fully open-source experience on NVIDIA GeForce hardware. Nouveau kernel driver improvements are also needed to properly handle the NVK driver and modern Vulkan API needs.

In any case, David Airlie today shared a video of the NVK driver atop the GSP firmware in action... Running the game Talos Principle, which was the original Vulkan API launch title.

Before getting too excited, it's running at a mere 13 FPS. Airlie explained in a tweet as part of the reason for the low performance, "The laptop is running the nvidia GPU in offload mode, so 4k image is being copied to the internal Intel GPU for display."
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