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Radeon R9 290 Testing Update With Linux 4.10, AMDGPU-PRO 16.50
My XFX Radeon R9 290 and other select "Hawaii" GPU owners have been experiencing rather slow performance for months. While unfortunately AMD hadn't been able to reproduce it, recent thinking within the forums as of a few weeks ago was that the linux-firmware shipped by Ubuntu is out-of-date. Well, I ran some fresh tests to verify: using the linux-firmware.git, ensuring it's indeed overwriting the Radeon firmware files, and that the initramfs was updated...
I ran tests with the Ubuntu 16.04 stock firmware using the Linux 4.10 kernel, then with Linux 4.10 when ensuring the firmware files from Git were installed and updated for the running kernel, and also a run when using Padoka PPA atop the Ubuntu 16.04 installation. Also, a AMDGPU-PRO 16.50 run from the same card for comparison.
For some tests, the Radeon R9 290 is still abnormally slow even with the latest firmware files.
But with other tests the firmware files on the Radeon R9 290 do indeed appear to have a positive impact.
Looks like I'll be running some more exploration tests the week ahead... For what it's worth, as mentioned in my previous R9 290 testing article, "But what's rather strange is that after either a certain operation with GpuTest, length of time, or other internal change, the Radeon R9 290 was back to running fast for the remainder of the automated OpenGL benchmarks." So stay tuned for more tests in the days ahead and likely trying some other non-Ubuntu distributions as well; I was optimistic that perhaps the Linux firmware blobs being outdated was what was causing the performance interference, but it doesn't appear to entirely be the case. Meanwhile with AMDGPU-PRO at least this card is still working fine.