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
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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