Southern Islands AMDGPU Support Almost Ready To Roll
Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 19 August 2016 at 08:32 AM EDT. 153 Comments
One of the features missing from Linux 4.8 is any Southern Islands / GCN 1.0 support in the new AMDGPU kernel DRM driver. However, it looks like this support ported over from the mature Radeon DRM driver will happen for Linux 4.9.

Many users of Southern Islands / GCN 1.0 GPUs have been wanting the AMDGPU kernel support so they can use the AMDGPU-PRO driver, thereby making use of the closed-source OpenGL driver, the better OpenCL support compared to Clover Gallium3D, and/or the currently closed-source Vulkan driver. But up to now this GCN 1.0 support has been present just on the Radeon DRM driver that isn't compatible with the AMDGPU-PRO components.

This move can allow some new life/features to the original AMD GCN GPUs.

Back in May is when AMD developers published the initial SI support for AMDGPU but it didn't end up getting merged in Linux 4.8 as all the issues weren't baked out. It looks now though like the support is getting squared away. Marek commented on the mailing list, AMDGPU SI support almost fixed, "This amdgpu patch fixes DCE support. Now only the cursor is broken. Everything else seems to work. I've not tested UVD and VCE. Now I'm gonna send out all userspace patches that I intend to merge before the kernel support lands. I think that shouldn't be a problem."

With the kernel code getting squared away, Marek went ahead and published the libdrm SI patches as well as adding the SI PCI IDs for xf86-video-amdgpu.

When this Southern Islands support is merged presumably for Linux 4.9, keep in mind it will likely be disabled by default by being hidden behind a build-time Kconfig switch, similar to the GCN 1.1 support in the mainline kernel being supported by the Radeon DRM unless opting to enable the Kconfig change to use AMDGPU. It could still be some months before the GCN 1.0/1.1 support is in good enough shape for seeing AMDGPU DRM by default, at least in the mainline kernel but the AMDGPU-PRO package with its DKMS module could always make the change sooner.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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