Linus Torvalds Decides To Land NVIDIA RTX 30 "Ampere" Support In Linux 5.11

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 15 January 2021 at 05:35 PM EST. 23 Comments
While new feature code is normally not allowed in past the end of the merge window for a given Linux kernel release cycle, Linus Torvalds has decided to merge the newly-published open-source driver code for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 "Ampere" graphics cards for the Linux 5.11 kernel that will debut as stable in February.

Ahead of this weekend's Linux 5.11-rc4 release, Linus Torvalds has merged the new initial open-source code for the NVIDIA RTX 30 / Ampere GPUs via the Nouveau driver. He was fine with allowing this late addition to Linux 5.11 as the new hardware support is all self-contained and doesn't risk regressing the existing NVIDIA GPU support within the Nouveau driver. Thus it's one of the rare times he permits new code to be added after a merge window since there is minimal risk of it regressing the status quo of hardware support.

But as outlined yesterday in the aforelinked article, this initial open-source GeForce 3000 series hardware support is just limited to kernel mode-setting without any hardware acceleration. Initializing the various engines of the GPU are contingent upon the signed firmware blobs that have yet to be published by NVIDIA. Even then, there is the re-clocking / performance situation as the big hurdle that remains for all GPUs beyond the GeForce GTX 950 series...

So at least for the upcoming Linux 5.11 kernel, the open-source Nouveau driver should be in good enough shape for ensuring your display properly lights up with a NVIDIA RTX 30 series GPU so you can have a pleasant display experience while going to download the proprietary NVIDIA kernel graphics driver for enjoying a full-featured, performant experience. Until the 3D acceleration and all other limitations addressed (including no open-source Vulkan driver), the only reasonable path with the RTX 30 series is using NVIDIA's high quality, cross-platform but proprietary driver.

The initial Ampere mode-setting code came to Linux 5.11 by way of this merge.

Also notable in the Linux Git tree is this week's DRM fixes that include some new AMD Renoir PCI IDs, a graphics engine fix for Sienna Cichlid, and other random fixes. On the Intel side is also the Intel Haswell GT1 fix after a half-year of borked support there. Meanwhile with the next cycle (Linux 5.12) is then the ability to optionally disable Intel graphics security mitigations that led to the problem in the first place and can also adversely impact the Intel graphics performance.
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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

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