Raptor Computing Is Working On More AMD Radeon Driver Improvements For POWER
Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 8 December 2019 at 12:05 AM EST. 46 Comments
Raptor Computing Systems, the libre hardware company behind the POWER9-based Talos II server board and Blackbird micro-ATX desktop, has been working to improve the open-source AMD Radeon graphics driver support for IBM POWER.

Similar to 64-bit ARM (AArch64) improvements we've seen with time for the Radeon Linux driver, Raptor's Timothy Pearson has been working to improve the Radeon support for PowerPC or more specifically POWER9. While NVIDIA offers a POWER9 graphics driver for IBM POWER servers, AMD Radeon graphics jive much better with Raptor's target customers thanks to the open-source driver stack -- allowing a fully open-source graphics/compute stack with the AMD hardware sans the closed-source microcode required by the GPUs, but much better than the completely closed-up NVIDIA driver stack.

Last month we commented on Raptor's Timothy Pearson working out AMDKFD support for POWER9 that is actually working thanks to upstream changes and just required allowing this "Kernel Fusion Driver" to be exposed as part of the POWER kernel build configuration. That landed in Linux 5.5 but the user-space POWER improvements for the Radeon Open eCosystem (ROCm) stack are pending for allowing open-source GPU computing / OpenCL to happen on the POWER architecture.

The new focus by Pearson now has been getting DCN support on POWER. DCN, Display Core Next, with the newest AMD Radeon GPUs needs some floating-point changes to the driver code for POWER to operate correctly.

It's great seeing Raptor's active contributions to the AMD Radeon Linux driver for making this open-source GPU driver support more viable for their open platform. More details on their liberated POWER9 boards down to the BIOS can be found at RaptorCS.com.
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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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