Radeon Crimson 16.3 Released With Vulkan, But No Sign Yet For Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 9 March 2016 at 09:28 PM EST. 25 Comments
Today AMD released the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.3 driver (formerly known as Catalyst), but sadly the Linux driver update is not in tandem with this new driver update which now provides official Vulkan support.

When hearing that Radeon Software Crimson 16.3 brings official Vulkan support over their earlier Windows beta, I was excited and hoping the Linux release would join in. The release notes also mention some performance improvements with this Crimson 16.3 driver and other enhancements to complement the Vulkan mainline API support.

Unfortunately, even with the day ending, there's no sign of Crimson 16.3 for Linux. While back in January I was told by AMD as part of the new AMDGPU Linux driver details that this year they would be looking to sync back their Windows and Linux driver releases, that doesn't appear to be the case yet. From my details back in January, "They will be focusing in 2016 on syncing their Catalyst Linux releases to those on Windows. While years ago they were timed the same, in 2015 that didn't always happen and there were just a few updates issued all year. Fortunately, that looks to be changing this year and they will try to be more timely about releases for fixes to support the latest high-profile Linux games."

The latest proprietary driver release per AMD.com is still Crimson 15.12 for Linux, released back on 18 December... We're going on an entire quarter without an official Crimson Linux update while during this time on Windows has been a few releases.

Anyhow, hopefully AMD/RTG will soon put out a 16.3 Linux driver update that will premiere their Vulkan API support. In case you aren't up on all of your Phoronix reading, the AMD Vulkan Linux driver at first will be closed-source for the near-term. The Vulkan driver will also only work with the AMDGPU kernel DRM driver, which at the moment is officially limited to GCN 1.2+ GPUs and experimental support for GCN 1.1. More details when the release happens.
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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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