There Is Finally Open-Source Accelerated NVIDIA Turing Graphics Support
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 15 January 2020 at 06:27 AM EST. 19 Comments
NOUVEAU --
Here is another big feature coming for Linux 5.6: the Nouveau driver will have initial accelerated support for NVIDIA "Turing" GPUs! This is coming at long-last with NVIDIA set to release publicly the Turing firmware images needed for hardware initialization.

As of writing, NVIDIA hasn't yet volleyed the signed firmware needed for Turing hardware initialization, but it appears advanced copies went out to Nouveau DRM maintainer Ben Skeggs of Red Hat. With the firmware bits and some DRM driver hacking, Skeggs now has the Turing GPUs lighting up with the open-source driver.

This initial open-source enablement covers the GeForce 20 series (TU10x) GPUs but notably absent are the TU11x GeForce 16 series. NVIDIA doesn't yet have the signed firmware blobs ready for the GeForce 16 series so with Linux 5.6, only the GeForce 20 series has this new open-source enablement.

This code for Linux 5.6 paired with the forthcoming firmware binaries will allow GeForce 20 "Turing" GPUs to initialize with this open-source driver. Still to be published though are the Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D bits for OpenGL support in user-space. There also isn't yet any Nouveau Vulkan driver. The usual caveats still apply too about the Turing support in regards to the re-clocking fiasco, so don't expect much in the way of good performance at this time out of Nouveau on Turing.

Enabling Turing also required reworking the driver's "secure boot" code and other changes.


The code is in the Nouveau DRM tree ahead of the Linux 5.6 merge window. Once the firmware bits are out there and Mesa support, I'll certainly give it a whirl but for the vast majority of NVIDIA Turing GPU owners right now you'll be best off for best performance and features using NVIDIA's proprietary graphics driver stack.

It's nice finally seeing this long overdue open-source support and we're just two months out now from seeing what open-source announcement is on tap for NVIDIA's GTC.
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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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