Linux 5.9.12 Is In Good Shape With The AMD Radeon RX 6800 Series
Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 7 December 2020 at 03:37 AM EST. 18 Comments
RADEON --
With my testing of the Radeon RX 6800 series graphics cards last month it's been off Linux 5.10 (aside from when using the Radeon Software for Linux package driver) due to the Linux Git state often offering the best performance and features particularly for brand new hardware. As mentioned in the launch day article for the RX 6800 / RX 6800 XT, there was also an issue being encountered on Linux 5.9. Fortunately, that bug is indeed fixed with the recently released Linux 5.9.12 kernel.

Linux 5.9.12 was released a few days ago and I've had time to confirm on my end it indeed works fine on the Radeon RX 6800 series graphics cards. In particular, a fix from Linux 5.10 was mistakenly not back-ported to Linux 5.9 for handling newer versions of the RLC iRAM and dRAM microcode. Without that it could lead to hangs for these new "Sienna Cichlid" GPUs.

So if you prefer not running Linux 5.10 since it's not yet formally released (but should be next week) or using the packaged driver on a supported Linux distribution, Linux 5.9.12 should be in good shape. Along with the Linux 5.9.12+ kernel you will want to be using Mesa 20.2 at least (or ideally 20.3 or 21.0-devel for the best performance), ensuring Mesa is built against LLVM 11.0+, and also running linux-firmware.git for the necessary microcode files. With that combination you should be in good shape - the requirements haven't changed compared to the launch day report on Phoronix, just that now Linux 5.9 is playing nicely in the mix if on 5.9.12 or subsequent point releases.

Linux 5.9.12 has many other fixes in general as well and can be downloaded from Kernel.org if wanting to spin it up from source.
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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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