Open-Source NVIDIA Volta GV100 Support Queued For Linux 4.18
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 18 May 2018 at 05:44 AM EDT. 3 Comments
NOUVEAU --
Initial open-source driver support for the NVIDIA GV100 "Volta" GPUs will be introduced with the upcoming Linux 4.18 kernel cycle.

Earlier this month I wrote about the initial open-source GV100 Volta patches coming out for the Nouveau Direct Rendering Manager while now that work has been queued into the DRM-Next tree ahead of the Linux 4.18 merge window opening in June.

Nouveau is the open-source NVIDIA Linux driver largely based on reverse-engineering although a few weeks ago NVIDIA published initial Volta display hardware documentation. NVIDIA has yet to publish any documentation concerning Volta's 3D hardware or on their Tensor cores and other exciting aspects of the GPU.


The NVIDIA Quadro GV100


To date the Volta GV100 hardware on the market in discrete form is the Titan V and Quadro GV100. But if you put down either $2,999 USD or $8,999 USD on those graphics cards, respectively, you definitely won't want to be using Nouveau for now. This Nouveau support is basically good enough if you want kernel mode-setting and a nice display experience until getting around to installing the proprietary driver, but this won't work for any compute/3D scenarios yet, among other reasons, still waiting on NVIDIA to release the signed firmware images to support hardware acceleration.

But like with Maxwell and Pascal, even when hardware acceleration is working, the GPUs will likely be stuck to their boot clock frequencies until figuring out the re-clocking situation that will likely be dependent upon more signed firmware images being released by NVIDIA. There also is not yet a Nouveau Vulkan driver or suitable Nouveau compute support, but Red Hat developers are currently pursuing this work with their SPIR-V/NIR upbringing. For the time being, the NVIDIA GPUs with the best and most useful open-source 3D driver support is the GeForce GTX 700 "Kepler" graphics cards.

NVIDIA at least has been providing great Volta Linux hardware support since day one with their official binary Linux driver. The Volta GV100 enablement and other code restructuring for Linux 4.18 can be found via this merge to DRM-Next that yields over 15,000 lines of new code and around 8,000 lines of code deleted.

The Linux 4.18 development cycle should officially kick off by mid-June while the Linux 4.18.0 stable kernel release should happen around late August.
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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 10,000 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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