Hands On With The AMD Radeon VII, Linux Ready To Light Up 7nm Vega

Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 4 February 2019. Page 1 of 1. 24 Comments

AMD's Radeon VII as their Vega 7nm consumer graphics card will be launching on 7 February at $700 USD ($699), but today marks the embargo expiry for the "unboxing" content... Yep, the Radeon VII is in the process of being tested under Linux.

The unboxing embargo has just lifted for the Radeon VII, so now we can share our pictures of the Radeon VII and how it was packaged for reviewers. The performance metrics, etc, though has to wait until the official launch on 7 February so there are no benchmarks today.

This 7nm second-generation Vega graphics card as a reminder has 3840 stream processors and 16GB of HBM2 memory capable of delivering 1TB/s of memory bandwidth.

Powering the graphics card requires dual 8-pin PCI Express power connections. The AMD Radeon VII graphics card has one HDMI port and three DisplayPort outputs.

While we can't talk about performance today, the testing is ongoing under Linux. Of course, with AMD sending out this review sample to us for obvious Linux testing, you can reasonably assume the Linux support is in good shape... As well, we have been covering the Vega 20 open-source driver support for the past number of months. There is mainline support for the Radeon VII support on Linux baked into the latest components, but of course, especially with new hardware it's always recommended to be using the latest and greatest (ideally, Git master) versions of components for the best support and performance. On launch day I'll go into all of the Linux driver requirements/recommendations. If you aren't into riding open-source Git kernels and Mesa on your system, AMD has been good about releasing new Radeon Software (AMDGPU-PRO) releases for Linux with their new product launches.

Having mainline support for the Radeon VII is certainly exciting much better than there was back for the original Radeon RX Vega launch. If you don't recall the Vega launch, back then they had headless/compute support ready and open-source patches available for bringing up 3D on Vega, but the kernel bits were not mainlined. There they had been blocked by the kernel's release schedule alignment and the need to merge the AMDGPU DC "Display Core" code to mainline in order to provide the support for driving the Vega display outputs. So there was day-one open-source support, but not in shipping released code found within any Linux distributions -- it took months until the Linux 4.15 kernel was ultimately out with said support. This time around for Radeon VII the situation is much better, then again it's a Vega refresh, so the real test for their open-source driver support alignment will be later this year with Navi. Compared to the original Vega launch, there is now the mature RADV Vulkan driver, the AMDVLK driver is now open-source -- both of those Vulkan drivers supporting Vega 20 already. There is also the released ROCm 2.0 providing next-generation Vega support, among other open-source AMD Linux milestones since the original Vega launch.

So that's all for now, stay tuned for Thursday.

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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 TwitterLinkedIn,> or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.