Running The New Open-Source NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series Support In Linux 6.2

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 20 December 2022 at 08:14 AM EST.

While NVIDIA is already out with multiple GeForce RTX 40 series products, coming only now with the Linux 6.2 kernel is initial open-source 3D acceleration support for the GeForce RTX 30 "Ampere" graphics processors. Here is my initial experience with this open-source NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series support in Linux 6.2.

It's been a while since there has been any major new upstream additions in the Linux kernel for the open-source Nouveau driver, but now ahead of Christmas there is this accelerated GeForce RTX 30 series support.

The RTX 30 open-source support in Nouveau is late as the Red Hat engineers working on Nouveau had to wait until NVIDIA published the signed Ampere firmware images earlier this year and then they could begin tackling this accelerated DRM kernel support and the Mesa changes for the Nouveau Gallium3D driver.

Plus the Nouveau developers have been busy working on enabling the NVIDIA GPU System Processor (GSP). While earlier this year NVIDIA announced their open-source GPU kernel driver effort, that code itself isn't yet suitable for upstream and by itself hasn't changed anything for the Nouveau developers. But using that the Nouveau developers have been working to restructure their kernel driver to allow making use of the NVIDIA GSP to ideally address the performance challenges and other enablement hurdles they've had to deal with over the years.

Nouveau developers have been preparing for GSP use and ideally get the re-clocking challenges and other long-standing issues addressed. But for Linux 6.2 that isn't yet in place and with this initial RTX 30 accelerated support it's in similar standing to their prior generations of NVIDIA GPU support.

But at least for closing out 2022 there is the NVIDIA RTX 30 kernel support in Linux 6.2 and initial RTX 30 support in Mesa 23.0 for the Nouveau Gallium3D driver. While there has been a lot of work this year on "NVK" as an experimental open-source NVIDIA Vulkan driver for Linux systems, what's upstream in the kernel and with Mesa 23.0 is only the Gallium3D/OpenGL support. The NVK support ultimately will likely depend upon the GSP support in the kernel too and adaptations to the user-space API/ABI. Hopefully in 2023 we'll see this open-source NVIDIA Vulkan driver support become viable considering that -- and the performance challenges due to lack of dynamic re-clocking -- have effectively made Nouveau useless to modern Linux gaming.

Let's see though how this initial RTX 30 series support is with Linux 6.2 and Mesa Git.

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