Nouveau Lands Initial Open-Source NVIDIA Turing Support - But No GPU Acceleration
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 11 December 2018 at 09:03 AM EST. 12 Comments
NOUVEAU --
Just in time for the upcoming Linux 4.21 kernel, the developers working on the reverse-engineered, open-source support for NVIDIA GeForce RTX "Turing" GPUs have published their preliminary code. But before getting too excited, there isn't GPU hardware acceleration working yet.

Ben Skeggs of Red Hat spearheaded this enablement work. He's got the initial support working right now for the TU104 and TU106 chipsets, but not yet TU102 due to hardware access. The TU106 is the RTX 2060/2070 series while the TU104 is the GeForce RTX 2080 and the TU102 is the RTX 2080 Ti and TITAN RTX. Back on launch day the Nouveau community crew started their Turing reverse-engineering work. NVIDIA doesn't support nor hinder the Nouveau driver work, though these days do sample hardware to the developers and are occasionally able to answer technical questions for them.

With this first-cut support, there is kernel mode-setting, suspend/resume, and other basic support but no hardware acceleration. The accelerated Turing support is again contingent upon NVIDIA releasing the signed firmware images needed to properly initialize the hardware. That's been the case since the GTX 900 Maxwell series and newer, unfortunately. Additionally, when the firmware images do drop, there likely won't be Nouveau support for re-clocking for delivering good performance... For the current Nouveau situation see yesterday's The Open-Source NVIDIA "Nouveau" Linux Driver Performance At The End Of 2018 tests.

But long story short, at least the Nouveau driver will allow lighting up NVIDIA RTX Turing cards with the upcoming Linux 4.21 kernel. That's good enough until installing the NVIDIA proprietary driver for full functionality and performance out of these new (and pricey) graphics cards.
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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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