AMD A10-7850K Kaveri: The Linux Introduction
Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 14 January 2014. Page 4 of 4. 38 Comments

After the open-source AMD Kaveri graphics tests from the previous page, tried next was the official AMD Catalyst Linux graphics driver.

AMD Kaveri On Linux With Catalyst

After the open-source GPU driver attempt failed, the Catalyst Linux driver was tried. The fglrx-updates package in the Ubuntu Linux archive is also too old and goes without proper A10-7850K Radeon R7 graphics support (LightDM / X.Org would keep crashing when using fglrx-updates on this Kaveri review system). However, the fglrx driver in Ubuntu should be updated in due time. AMD did supply a Kaveri press driver for both Windows and Linux. The binary driver was labeled "AMD 13.30 RC2 Linux Jan7 2014" and was used for all of the Catalyst testing today and in the coming days on Phoronix. This updated AMD Catalyst Linux driver will likely be made public today or in the very near future; the fglrx version string was 13.30.1. Installing this AMD Catalyst Linux driver on Ubuntu 14.04 was possible after downgrading to the Linux 3.12 stable kernel. The Kaveri Catalyst driver didn't build properly against the current Linux 3.13 kernel with fglrx 13.30.1.

From the testing done this weekend, all basic support appears in place on Ubuntu Linux for the new AMD A88X chipset on the ASUS A88X-Pro motherboard. The only real Linux problem experienced is the lack of "out of the box" open-source graphics driver support. AMD should be releasing their new Catalyst driver soon that fully supports the Kaveri Radeon R7 Graphics so at least the binary driver will be there for providing 3D hardware acceleration along with OpenCL and other graphics-related functionality. The testing for AMD Kaveri and the ASUS A88X-Pro was done on both the Ubuntu 14.04 development release as well as the current Ubuntu 13.10 stable Linux release.

When the open-source AMD Kaveri graphics support is in working order, it still would likely be wise to use the Catalyst binary driver for at least a few months. The open-source AMD Radeon Linux graphics driver is still maturing, especially for the Radeon HD 7000 series GPUs and newer on the "RadeonSI" driver code. Compared to the older open-source "R600g" driver, the RadeonSI driver isn't as comparably fast to the Catalyst driver, the OpenCL compute support in the open-source driver support still has a long ways to mature, the open-source Radeon driver only supports OpenGL 3.x compared to OpenGL 4.3 on Catalyst, and various other features are missing from the open-source AMD Linux driver.

So long story short, the AMD "Kaveri" APUs are out today. If you don't mind using the binary Catalyst driver, the Linux support is there for the new APUs and the new motherboards. Benchmarks and other articles in the coming days will cover the performance of Kaveri to other APUs and CPUs. For those strict open-source Linux users, you will likely need to wait some months before being satisfied with the open-source support, or just cave and use the AMD Catalyst driver the first few months. Thanks again to AMD for getting out the Kaveri review sample and stay tuned for the exciting benchmark results.


About The Author
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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 10,000 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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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