Radeon Linux Driver Seeing "MALL" Feature For Big Navi
Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 20 October 2020 at 08:41 PM EDT. 36 Comments
RADEON --
The AMDGPU open-source Linux kernel graphics driver continues seeing work on next-generation GPU support around the forthcoming "Big Navi" GPUs.

Building off the Sienna Cichlid support that has come together and made its debut for Linux 5.9, and has further improvements for the now in-development Linux 5.10 kernel, new patches are now surfacing as material that will eventually make its way into Linux 5.11 for release as stable in early 2021.

One of these late feature additions for Sienna Cichlid is the "MALL" display feature. MALL in this context is the Memory Access at Last Level. This Memory Access At Last Level is a DCN 3.0 feature for enhancing power savings with the screen contents coming from the "MALL" when certain conditions are met. At least at this point the support is only enabled for Sienna Cichlid and not other variants like Navy Flounder.

The patches do not note any estimated power savings benefits or other details on this optimization, but presumably not the most pressing power optimization considering it's taken this long before seeing the patches and won't see a stable mainline kernel for another couple months. But if this isn't too significant savings, it's also good news that the open-source Linux GPU driver support at this state for Linux 5.9~5.10 is in good enough shape that they are beginning to work on the lower priority features like MALL. So either case should be good news for Radeon GPU customers on Linux.

In any case next week is finally the RDNA 2 / Radeon RX 6000 series debut where we will finally learn more about the power and performance optimizations.
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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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