Open-Source R600g Driver For Old AMD GPUs Is Seeing New Activity To Improve GPU Compute

Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 27 April 2022 at 07:27 AM EDT. 11 Comments
While AMD long ago stopped actively contributing to the open-source R600 Gallium3D driver on Linux systems for OpenGL on Radeon HD 2000 "R600" through Radeon HD 6000 "Northern Islands" graphics cards, thanks to a few open-source community developers this Mesa driver code continues seeing improvements even with the Radeon HD 6000 series already being more than one decade old. The latest on the R600g front are various efforts improving the GPU compute support.

Much of the R600g work in recent times has been by independent developer Gert Wollny working on NIR support as an alternative to TGSI. He is in the process of rolling out a rewritten NIR back-end and making other improvements to this driver intermediate representation.

Open-source developer Jason Volk meanwhile has recently been working on R600g improvements to benefit the GPU compute support/performance. There is a now opened merge request to improve the compute memory pool performance and reduce fragmentation for the R600g driver. There is also another MR for improving the compute memory handling too.

Jason Volk has also been staging other R600g improvements via his Mesa repo where he has a branch working on user pointer "userptr" support and other compute-related improvements for these pre-GCN AMD GPUs.

Interesting to see all this R600 Gallium3D work happening in 2022. Separately Mesa has been seeing the new "Rusticl" OpenCL stack come together. It will be interesting to see how well Rusticl works with R600g and if it ultimately is able to deliver better OpenCL support now than back when Radeon HD 5000/6000 series were common and at that (pre-ROCm) time when AMD was working on the Mesa "Clover" OpenCL stack that to this day remains in rough shape.

Thanks to open-source, old Radeon GPUs maintain better value on Linux.

Meanwhile for the Radeon Software driver on Windows and in AMD's official support capacity, last year AMD made pre-Polaris GPUs legacy while thanks to the Linux/open-source ecosystem GPUs much older are continuing to see these community-driven improvements.
Related News
About The Author
Michael Larabel

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

Popular News This Week