Radeon RX 6800 "Sienna Cichlid" Firmware Added To Linux-Firmware.Git

Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 19 November 2020 at 09:29 AM EST. 30 Comments
The last piece of the puzzle to the open-source AMD Radeon RX 6800 / RX 6800 XT driver support is now upstream in its respective location.

The Sienna Cichlid firmware binaries were just merged into linux-firmware.git, the repository where all of the firmware files for hardware devices on Linux are collected and in turn packaged up by the various Linux distribution vendors for shipping as part of their platforms.

As with prior generations, the Sienna Cichlid firmware is necessary for any level of open-source driver support. Up until now these blobs were not public and for those yesterday wanting launch-day support or in our pre-release testing meant first extracting the firmware files from the Radeon Software for Linux 20.45 package. Or I have also heard of AMD distributing the firmware updates privately and directly to some software distribution partners for updating their packages in a timely manner as well.

Now that these Sienna Cichlid firmware files are public, there isn't the extra step involved of needing to pull them from that packaged driver. But as most Linux distributions aren't punctually updating their linux-firmware packages anytime there is a new update, early RX 6800 series customers might still be in the case of pulling from this repository in order to gain this support.

But these files paired with Linux 5.9+, Mesa 20.2+, and LLVM 11.0+ will yield a working open-source driver stack for these "Big Navi" graphics cards. See the Radeon RX 6800 / RX 6800 XT Linux review for more details on the driver support and benchmarks.

The Sienna Cichlid open-source driver support has been public since June and improved since that point. These firmware binaries meanwhile were just dropped today -- similar to past GPU launches. The delay in publishing these binary microcode files isn't clear, but presumably is in regards to not wanting enthusiastic users potentially disassembling the binaries pre-launch and exposing any early hardware information not yet public.

In any case, the Sienna Cichlid firmware binaries are now out there. The other AMDGPU firmware files have also been updated against their latest state as found in yesterday's 20.45 packaged driver.
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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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