AMD Linux Driver Bringing BACO Support To Older Sea Islands / Volcanic Islands GPUs
Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 11 October 2019 at 06:22 AM EDT. 19 Comments
RADEON --
It's fairly rare these days seeing big patch sets out of AMD focused on improving the open-source Linux driver support for the likes of aging GPUs such as the Sea Islands and Volcanic Islands generations, but this Friday there is some notable development activity.

Sea Islands as a reminder is the original Radeon R7/R9 200 series and wound up in other graphics cards as well. Volcanic Islands made up the Radeon Rx 300 series as well as the R9 Nano/Fury graphics cards. A set of 15 patches posted today provide "BACO" support for these Sea and Volcanic Islands GPUs.

BACO is Bus Active, Chip Off and predominantly a power-savings feature to allow shutting off most of the GPU during idle periods in order to lower power consumption. BACO is also marketed as AMD ZeroCore Power. There has been BACO support for newer AMD graphics processors on Linux while now BACO is being enabled for these older GCN graphics cards.

The aim at this point though isn't for helping the power efficiency of CI/VI GPUs but rather using it for GPU reset functionality. With the BACO sequence turning the GPU on/off, it can be used for GPU reset functionality and the Linux driver has used it for this support on other GPUs.

So with these 15 patches, BACO is working for Volcanic Islands while Sea Islands still needs some tweaking. The BACO power-savings feature will follow in an additional patch-set, but at least this is good news for GPU reset functionality on the Linux driver with these older generation of AMD GPUs.
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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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