AMD Publishes Open-Source Driver Support For Vega 20
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 15 May 2018 at 11:23 AM EDT. 31 Comments
AMD --
AMD today published their big set of patches bringing open-source Linux kernel support for the "Vega 20" graphics processor.

Vega 20 is the rumored 7nm AMD graphics processor that is said to be up to 70% faster than the current leading RX Vega 64 graphics card, according to some reported leaks. Vega 20 is expected to offer up to 32GB of HBM2 memory and be announced this calendar year, but there is some belief that it might just be a deep learning accelerator and not focused as a gaming graphics card or at least not initially.

There were 57 patches just made public today adding the Vega 20 support to the AMDGPU DRM kernel driver. This new support amounts to almost 13,000 lines of new code, much of which is the addition of emu_soc code -- this is for getting Vega 20 running on emulator code.

With these patches, Vega 20 is taking many of the same code paths in the driver as Vega 10.

The patches enable a new version of UVD video decoding as well, version 7.2, for this Vega 20 hardware.

There are six PCI IDs currently associated as being Vega 20 and they include 0x66A0, 0x66A1, 0x66A2, 0x66A3, 0x66A7, and 0x66AF. Though that doesn't mean there will be six different SKUs as often the hardware vendor reserves extra IDs in case of future revisions/products or for engineering models as well.

For now the Vega 20 Linux support is hidden behind the amdgpu.exp_hw_support=1 kernel module parameter flag until it further stabilizes. Given the timing of these patches, it's likely this experimental Vega 20 hardware support will land in the upcoming Linux 4.18 kernel cycle.

The timing of this Vega 20 Linux kernel driver support doesn't signify too much with regards to when we might see the hardware announced, just that now it met AMD's internal legal review to publish the code. There is code for Vega 20 on the emulator as part of these patches. Additionally, ZFB patches were posted just prior to the Vega 20 unveiling. ZFB is for Zero Frame-Buffer support to allow the AMDGPU driver to use system memory as its video memory for when used for emulators and early silicon models. Given the maturity of other parts of the Radeon Linux graphics stack, hopefully this indicative of AMD now in a position where they are moving forward with their open-source Linux driver support much earlier than many past generations for where they were battling just to get the code open-sourced in time for launch day.

The patches out today are all on the kernel driver side while we have our eyes out for support to RadeonSI Gallium3D and the other user-space driver components. Usually those other open-source patches are just a short distance behind the kernel code unveiling.

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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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