Radeon RX 550 Stumbles On Open-Source, Working Fine With AMDGPU-PRO
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 4 May 2017 at 04:44 PM EDT. 19 Comments
AMD --
This week I decided to pick up the Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 2GB graphics card for Linux testing at Phoronix, a $90 USD graphics card that was recently launched as part of the "Polaris Evolved" line-up. It's not working on the upstream open-source code-base at the moment, but at least does function with the latest AMDGPU-PRO 17.10 driver for the RX 500 series.

I only received the Gigabyte RX 550 this morning, so I don't yet have any benchmark results to share, but when being surprised by 3D acceleration not working out-of-the-box with the latest upstream code, I decided to write this preliminary article first while the Linux OpenGL/Vulkan test results will follow.

The Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 Gaming OC 2GB (RX550GAMINGOC-2GD) card retails for $89.99 USD on Amazon where I had purchased this card. This RX 550 card runs up to 1219MHz in its OC mode or 1206MHz in its gaming mode.

The past day waiting for this card I had been testing other low to mid-range Radeon cards in my possession from the Radeon R7 260X, R7 370, RX 460, RX 480, and several other cards including the RX 580. They all played nicely with the Linux 4.12 DRM-Next + Mesa 17.2-dev stack via the Padoka PPA. Even with last month's Radeon RX 580 launch that played nicely on Linux out-of-the-box.

So after the RX 580 testing last month for the MSI card I bought, I wasn't expecting any headaches with the RX 550 with it being another Polaris part, albeit part of the Polaris 12 family. The Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 has a PCI ID of 0x699F with C7 revision.

When booting this card on the same driver stack as used with my other Radeon tests over the past day, the AMDGPU DRM driver initialized fine, the card booted fine with the 4K DP display (no worries, during this low-end testing it's happening at 1080p), but quickly realized hardware acceleration wasn't working and instead the LLVMpipe fallback driver.

Then falling back to Linux 4.10 and 4.11 kernels as well as then building libdrm 2.4.80 and Mesa 17.2 Git from source rather than the Padoka PPA and also ensuring the latest linux-firmware.git for safe measure, the RadeonSI driver was still not loading. (And in the process also noticing libdrm's AMDGPU PCI ID table isn't being kept up to date with the latest marketing names.)

A pity considering the Radeon RX 580 was playing nicely out-of-the-box (including on this same system / software stack) and other recent Radeon GPU launches relatively smooth for being able to jump straight to benchmarking. Anyhow, I did decide to try the latest AMDGPU-PRO driver release and at least it does work fine with this RX 550:

Due to the courier only delivering the card a short time ago, I haven't dug much deeper yet but will be doing so, stay tuned for follow-up articles.

Update: There was a bug affecting Polaris 12 within the AMDGPU winsys code. There's now a fix in Mesa Git.
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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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