Looking Ahead To The Polaris RX 550/560/570/580 On Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 14 April 2017 at 08:57 AM EDT. 55 Comments
Next week AMD is expected to roll-out the updated Polaris graphics cards in the form of the Radeon RX 550, RX 560, RX 570, and RX 580 series. The Linux drivers should be ready.

Details of the Radeon RX 500 line-up were leaked yesterday and those interested in the details can find them on Videocardz.com. This time around I'm not under embargo; I was offered a press briefing and review sample, only to receive another email minutes later saying they sent it to me in error and I wouldn't be getting any hardware or briefing for that matter. So let's dig into those leaked slides, but fear not, I will likely pick up a Radeon RX 580 and another card for getting out Linux OpenGL/Vulkan benchmarks next week.

The Radeon RX 580 is being advertised as 1.6x higher performance than the Radeon R9 380X while the RX 570 is said to offer 2.4x higher performance than the Radeon R7 370 while the RX 560 should come in at 2x the Radeon R7 360. But compared to the current Radeon RX 460/470/480, the Radeon RX 560/570/580 doesn't offer much more.

The Radeon RX 580 has higher clock frequencies at a 1257MHz base clock and 1340MHz boost clock. The RX 580 has 36 compute units and up to 8GB of GDDR5 video memory with a 256-bit interface.

The RX 580 and RX 570 come down basically to faster-clocked cards compared to their current Polaris equivalents. The RX 560 appears to be a bit more capable than the RX 460 with more stream processors and clocked at 1175/1275MHz. Radeon RX 550 details are quite sketchy for now, but looks like it will be rather slow with 2GB of memory on a 128-bit interface, 512 cores, and yet to be fully-reported clock speeds.

With these cards being mostly just higher-clocked Polaris GPUs with some small differences, the Linux support isn't expected to be much different than it is now with the current RX 400 series. Basically, most everything should be in place with the noticeable exception of no DC/DAL support -- thus no working HDMI/DP audio or FreeSync if using the mainline kernel and not AMDGPU-PRO. The RX 550 might be a capable HTPC card especially with open-source video encode/decode support, but the lack of HDMI audio on the free software stack for now could be a blocker for many HTPC users in 2017.

There should be working AMDGPU+RadeonSI support and presumably AMD will release an updated AMDGPU-PRO driver with official RX 500 series support. But for those curious about the performance, I'll likely pickup probably two different RX 500 cards for benchmarking fun while waiting for Radeon RX Vega in May. In the forums feel free to comment on which cards you are interested in seeing tested and any other Linux test requests.
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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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