AMDKFD/ROCm GPU Compute Can Work On POWER Systems Like Raptor's Talos II
Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 24 November 2019 at 03:00 PM EST. 7 Comments
RADEON --
While NVIDIA graphics in IBM POWER systems have been known to make a powerful combination for supercomputer deployments, for those wanting a libre GPU compute experience can also use POWER with AMD Radeon's open-source driver with a pending patch to the kernel driver.

With various Radeon driver bugs in the open-source stack having been worked out over time that affect the POWER architecture, it turns out the driver stack is good enough on POWER to even enable the AMDKFD (Kernel Fusion Driver) compute support -- which is the kernel component to the Radeon Open Compute (ROCm) stack that runs in user-space.

The last step is simply this patch to enable the AMD HSA/KFD option to appear on the PowerPC 64-bit architecture. With that patch against the latest kernel is all that's needed to getting the AMD GPU compute code running on POWER9 systems like the libre hardware offerings by Raptor Computing Systems.

Raptor's Timothy Pearson mentioned this support has been verified to work on a Talos II with Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics card though the lower-end Blackbird should presumably be working fine as well. So unlike the NVIDIA proprietary driver with their POWER build, this combination would yield a fully-open-source (sans the GPU firmware/microcode bits needed for Radeon GPUs) GPU-accelerated compute experience.

Given it's just a Kconfig one-liner, hopefully there's chances of seeing this patch still land for Linux 5.5.
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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 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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