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Old Jan 7, 2011, 02:25 PM   #1
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AMD AMD Splits Linux MESA and Gallium3D Drivers - Cayman & FUSION APU's under G3D

Phoronix brings us news of AMD's latest Linux driver offerings, where the HD 5000 and HD 6000 series are now supported under the open source MESA driver for OpenGL. Well, except for Cayman, the GPU core powering the Radeon HD 6900 series, and FUSION APU's - those will be Gallium 3D, instead.

AMD's Alex Deucher has pushed out the patches to the Linux kernel DRM, Mesa, and xf86-video-ati DDX that enable the support complete with 2D and 3D (OpenGL) acceleration. The Mesa support is initially for the classic Mesa driver, but the Gallium3D support should arrive literally at anytime now. The HD 6000 series support extends the R600 drivers, which was already extended once to support the Radeon HD 5000 "Evergreen" hardware. This though means that the HD 6000 series support is already fairly reliable thanks to leveraging the existing code-base and its support should be comparable to that of the ATI Radeon HD 5000 series GPUs. The Radeon HD 6000 series support should be at the same level as the HD 5000 series.

A limitation though of today's open-source push is that it only supports the Radeon HD 6000 "Northern Islands" GPUs as in the Barts, Turks, and Caicos GPUs, but not the newest GPUs under the Cayman codename, which are the Radeon HD 6900 graphics processors. There's significant enough differences in the ASICs that the support couldn't be delivered at the same time. When this Cayman support is delivered, it will come only atop the Gallium3D driver and not the classic Mesa driver.

When might we see open-source AMD Cayman support? According to AMD's John Bridgman when writing to us, "Cayman was the "next generation GPU core" where we plan to only implement on g3d. The other NI parts basically have a 3d core that uses the same programming model as Evergreen so there was no reason not to support classic mesa as well...It's hard to say because we don't have it running yet, we haven't started to look at IP issues, and I don't know how much bug fixing will be needed for Ontario and the first three NI parts (if you see a reference to btc that's barts / turks / caicos, ie the three NI parts that aren't cayman ). Somewhere between 1 and 3 months is probably a safe guess."

Read the full article @ Phoronix

Last edited by caveman-jim : Jan 7, 2011 at 02:27 PM.
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Old Jan 8, 2011, 01:47 PM   #2
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I don't understand the title. Mesa classic is pretty much dead man walking, but it supports Evergreen and so was extended to support NI. By the time AMD releases Cayman FOSS drivers, Mesa will probably be all dead.
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