Nouveau Open-Source Driver Will Now Work With NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti On Linux 5.0
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 18 January 2019 at 06:00 AM EST. 8 Comments
NOUVEAU --
Among the many Linux 5.0 kernel features is initial open-source NVIDIA driver support for the latest-generation Turing graphics processors. Missed out on during the Linux 5.0 merge window was "TU102" support but now that is coming down as a fix for the 5.0 kernel.

Back in December, Ben Skeggs of Red Hat posted the initial Turing support for Nouveau in the form of the TU104 (RTX 2080) and TU106 (RTX 2060/2070) but was lacking coverage of the TU102, which is for the flagship RTX 2080 Ti and TITAN RTX. He wasn't able to test the support at the time and thus left it out. Skeggs has now been able to verify the TU102 support is working and that patch is now on its way to the mainline kernel tree.

Before getting too excited, as outlined previously, this initial Turing open-source support is just good for kernel mode-setting. Turing GPUs at least can have KMS and run at the monitor's preferred resolution so it's better than nothing, but there is not yet any hardware acceleration support. Nouveau is blocked from providing any Turing hardware acceleration until more reverse engineering but more pressing is for NVIDIA to release the signed firmware images for Turing, which has been required since the GTX 900 Maxwell days due to heightened firmware security. Until that point, OpenGL acceleration falls back to the software, e.g. LLVMpipe.

But even when the Turing microcode binaries are published, the hardware will presumably still be struck by the same re-clocking issues that have plagued Maxwell, Pascal, and Volta GPUs... Leading to very poor performance. See The Open-Source NVIDIA "Nouveau" Linux Driver Performance At The End Of 2018 if the state of this open-source NV driver is new to you.


The patch adding the TU102 support is quite simple and simply re-using the existing TU104 code-paths and for some areas even that of older generations still works out plus adding the 0x162 PCI ID.

That patch was sent in today as part of this DRM pull request and should land in time for this weekend's Linux 5.0-rc3 kernel. So now at least there will be kernel mode-setting for a pleasant display experience when booting with the RTX 2080 Ti / TITAN RTX until being able to download and install NVIDIA's full-featured and performant but proprietary Linux driver.

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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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