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Graphics: VC4 Gallium3D, AMD RadeonSI, Vulkan 1.1.84

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  • VC4 Gallium3D Gets Much Faster Texture Upload/Download Performance, Helping GLAMOR

    It's been a while since last having major progress to report on the Broadcom VideoCore 4 (VC4) open-source driver stack most notably used by the Raspberry Pi boards or the next-generation Broadcom VideoCore "V3D" driver stack. The lack of recent progress has been due to lead developer Eric Anholt being away on paternity leave, but he is back now with another update on this open-source ARM graphics undertaking.

    While in his limited time working he has been addressing some OpenGL ES conformance test suite failures with the VC4 Gallium3D driver, he did manage to score a big win for the texture upload/download performance.

  • The RadeonSI Performance Tuning For AMD Zen CPUs Has Landed In Mesa

    Earlier this week I reported on the RadeonSI Gallium3D code being tuned for AMD Zen CPUs in an attempt to deliver greater gaming performance for Ryzen processors. That work has now been merged into Mesa 18.3.

    As explained when the patches surfaced for tuning RadeonSI/Gallium3D for Ryzen CPUs, the work by AMD's Marek Olsak is due to the CCX (core complexes) design of Zen, it will try to pin the application thread and driver execution threads to the same CCX so that they can share the same L3 cache. With these patches, Marek found in some OpenGL benchmarks that there was an increase by 25~32% in some micro-benchmarks, but real-world gaming performance has yet to be analyzed -- I'll be running some benchmarks shortly.

  • Vulkan 1.1.84 Brings KHR Memory Model, ASTC Decode Mode Extensions

    There's nothing like a new Vulkan spec update to help waking up on a Sunday morning. Vulkan 1.1.84 is out today and is the first since the minor 1.1.83 revision last month at SIGGRAPH.

    With Vulkan 1.1.84 there is the usual documentation churn with a variety of issues being rectified, mostly clearing up confusing elements of the specification. Given it's been a few weeks since the last revision to the Vulkan documentation, it's no surprise there are a few new extensions too. These newest additions include VK_KHR_vulkan_memory_model, VK_EXT_astc_decode_mode, and VK_EXT_inline_uniform_block.

Mesa 18.2 Released With Vega 20 Support, OpenGL 4.4 Compat Profile & A Lot More

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Following a few delays that pushed back its release date from August to ultimately today, Mesa 18.2 is out as this third-quarter 2018 update to the Mesa3D graphics driver stack most commonly associated with the Linux desktop's open-source Vulkan/OpenGL drivers for Intel, Radeon, and Nouveau (as well as many smaller drivers).

Mesa 18.2 brings a ton of new features with some of the most notable ones improving the RadeonSI OpenGL and RADV Vulkan driver support. On the Radeon front is support for the yet-to-be-released Vega 20 GPU, ASTC texture compression support for RadeonSI, various new RADV Vulkan driver extensions, OpenGL 4.4 compatibility profile support for RadeonSI that notably helps out many Wine/SteamPlay titles, OpenGL ES 3.2 support for RadeonSI too, faster LLVM shader compilation in RADV, Radeon EQAA anti-aliasing, and minor performance improvements.

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Also: Unofficial Vulkan Transform Feedback Is Being Worked On for DXVK / VKD3D

Mesa 18.1.8 Released

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  • mesa 18.1.8

    This mail announces the immediate availability of mesa 18.1.8. This release is a
    bugfix release, and thought it was previously planned to be the last 18.1
    release, it is not, there will be at least 18.1.9.

    This has been a busier cycle than last time, apart from all of the book keeping
    done for stable releases we've had fixes to:
    - i965
    - radv
    - meson
    - anv
    - nir
    - egl
    - dri2
    - st/dri
    - radeonis
    - glsl
    - glapi

  • Mesa 18.1.8 Released With More Stable Fixes

    In addition to Mesa 18.2 expected today, also out this Friday is Mesa 18.1.8 as the latest stable point release for this important piece of the open-source Linux graphics stack.

    Mesa 18.1.8 brings a number of RADV Vulkan driver fixes, Intel support improvements for Geminilake, Meson build system updates, a Tegra memory leak fix, various Intel fixes, a few Intel Vulkan updates, and other random fixes throughout.

Graphics: Gallium3D and NVIDIA

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  • A Lot More Code Pushed Out For Intel's New Iris Gallium3D Linux Graphics Driver

    Last month we were the first to point out that Intel is developing a new Gallium3D graphics driver for their recent generations of HD/UHD Graphics and presumably moving forward with their discrete GPU solutions coming out in 2020. This new Intel Gallium3D driver called "Iris" continues making progress though isn't yet ready for end-users.

    The Intel Gallium3D driver code activity in the public repository seems to come in spurts with overnight being the last huge pile of commits. The 40+ commits overnight included more low-level infrastructure work, adding new capabilities, various NIR intermediate representation bits, AMD_pinned_memory support, and other driver fundamentals.

  • 10 Reasons To Consider The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 Series On Linux

    As promised, following my 10 Reasons Linux Gamers Might Want To Pass On The NVIDIA RTX 20 Series, here are ten reasons on the opposite side for considering these new Turing graphics cards for Linux.

    While the main selling point of the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 series hardware is ray-tracing with RTX, which Linux games probably won't see for some time -- natively with the pending Vulkan ray-tracing extensions or mapped to those extensions from any yet-to-be-written Wine portability code for emulated Windows games -- there still are many reasons to consider the GeForce RTX 2070 / 2080 / 2080 Ti graphics cards if you are a dedicated Linux user.

SkySilk Launches As Linux-Powered Cloud Provider, Offers AMD EPYC Instances

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There is a new public cloud provider that exited beta this past weekend and is exclusively offering Linux instances from Arch Linux to CentOS to Debian and Fedora. In addition to the usual assortment of Intel Xeon powered clouds/VPS instances, they also offer a range of AMD EPYC powered systems too.

SkySilk has provided some credits for our testing and benchmarking of their new Linux cloud / virtual private servers. I've spent the past few days trying out some of their instances and running off a variety of benchmarks. While reviewing cloud providers isn't one of our main focuses at Phoronix, I always take the opportune to benchmark public clouds for fun. So for now are some of my initial tests for reference purposes should you be shopping around for a new cloud provider.

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Graphics: NVIDIA and AMD

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  • AMD's RadeonSI/Gallium3D Linux Graphics Driver Gets Optimized For Ryzen CPUs

    It's arguably a bit late, but patches are now pending for optimizing the RadeonSI Gallium3D open-source Linux graphics driver for the AMD Ryzen CPU microarchitecture.

    What this set of patches do to the Mesa Gallium3D and RadeonSI driver code is optimize it for the AMD Zen architecture with its multiple core complexes (CCX). The new code allows for the pinning of the application thread and driver execution threads to the same CCX where they are able to share the same L3 cache.

  • NVIDIA Firmware Blobs Get Switched Up For Helping Pascal-Powered Laptops With Nouveau

    There was some NVIDIA signed firmware activity today in the linux-firmware.git tree for Pascal GPUs... Sadly, it's not the long sought after PMU firmware or any breakthrough in allowing the open-source Nouveau driver to properly support re-clocking or other long missing functionality from this open-source NVIDIA driver. Rather, it's just to help out newer laptops with Pascal discrete graphics.

  • AMDGPU & Nouveau Getting HDMI CEC Support For DisplayPort/USB-C To HDMI Adapters

    Another drm-misc-next pull request was sent in Wednesday with new feature material slated for the Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel release by way of DRM-Next.

    This batch of miscellaneous changes does include an AMDGPU and Nouveau addition this time around. After the Linux 4.19 kernel added the infrastructure work for supporting HDMI CEC with DisplayPort / USB Type-C to HDMI adapters, that support is now wired through to the AMDGPU and Nouveau DRM drivers. HDMI CEC, of course, is the Consumer Electronics Control specification that allows for one remote/controller to send command and control signals over the HDMI link to connected devices. HDMI CEC is pretty nifty and its mainline kernel support in general has been brought up over the past number of kernel cycles. With Linux 4.20~5.0, AMDGPU and Radeon can now handle passing CEC commands when using these DP/USB-C to HDMI adapters thanks to these new "CEC-Tunneling-over-AUX" patches.

Vega 20 Supports XGMI Based on Linux Patches

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  • Vega 20 Supports XGMI Based on Linux Patches

    While it is true that currently our best knowledge on the Vega 20 GPU from AMD will be destined for compute applications, this first 7 nm GPU is still a source of some interesting news. Today it was spotted in Linux patches explicit support for XGMI for Vega 20. This technology is a high-speed, peer-to-peer interconnect, so it would allow multiple GPUs to work together and it is based on Infinity Fabric. Global Memory Interconnect, GMI, is already used for connecting the dies on Threadripper and EPYC CPUs from AMD with XGMI, inter-chip GMI, powering the connections between EPYC processors on multi-socket boards.

  • Radeon Vega 20 Will Have XGMI - Linux Patches Posted For This High-Speed Interface

    It has been expected that Vega 20 would feature XGMI as a high-speed GPU interconnect alternative to PCI Express and that was firmed up today thanks to a new set of AMDGPU Linux driver patches.

    XGMI is a peer-to-peer high-speed interconnect and is based on Infinity Fabric. XGMI is basically AMD's alternative to NVIDIA's NVLink for inter-connecting GPUs. Previously leaked slides indicated that XGMI would be supported on Vega 20 along with PCI Express 4.0. That appears accurate as becoming public today were a set of patches wiring in XGMI support to the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager driver and explicitly enabling the functionality for Vega 20. It's also expected AMD's upcoming Naples server CPU architecture will also support XGMI.

A Rolling Battle: Antergos vs. Clear Linux vs. openSUSE On Four Systems

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With the start of a new month comes fresh benchmarks of some of the leading rolling-release Linux distributions. For kicking off September are benchmarks of the Arch-based Antergos, Intel's Clear Linux, and openSUSE Tumbleweed when testing on four distinctly different systems.

This article today is to serve as some fresh reference benchmarks for these continuously evolving distributions. As of a few days ago when the testing began, the three tested distributions were comprised of...

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Linux HDMI Work

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  • Display Engine 3.0 / HDMI 2.0a In The Works For The Allwinner Sun4i DRM Driver

    Patches currently under review for the Linux kernel's "Sun4i" Direct Rendering Manager driver provide support for the Display Engine 3.0 hardware found on newer Allwinner SoCs and most notably HDMI 2.0a support.

  • Nouveau Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Begins Tackling HDMI 2.0 Support

    NOUVEAU --
    One of the few longtime independent contributors to the open-source NVIDIA "Nouveau" driver, Ilia Mirkin, sent out a set of patches today working on basic HDMI 2.0 functionality for this Linux DRM driver.

    HDMI 2.0 allows for 18 Gbit/s bandwidth and can carry 4K video at 60Hz with 24 bit/px color depth. HDMI 2.0 also allows for up to 32 audio channels, new color spaces, new 3D formats, and various other capabilities.

    HDMI 2.0 has been out for years while now the bits for the Nouveau DRM driver are in the works. At the moment the functionality like 12/16 bpc, YUV420, and other bits are not in place but just the basic implementation.

Graphics: Gallium3D, NVIDIA and AMD

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  • Panfrost Gallium3D Driver Begins Working On The Mali T860 Graphics Processor

    Alyssa Rosenzweig and others working on the "Panfrost" out-of-tree Gallium3D driver for ARM Mali graphics hardware have now succeeded in bringing up the newer ARM Mali T860 graphics processor on this open-source driver.

  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Series Expectations On Linux

    One of the exciting events to look forward to this month is the actual launch of the GeForce RTX 2080 series with these graphics cards slated to begin shipping on 20 September. While NVIDIA has talked up the RTX 2080 series performance it has exclusively been under Windows. NVIDIA hasn't provided any official comments about the RTX 2080 series on Linux, but here is my pre-launch analysis and commentary.

  • Initial AMD Radeon "Vega 20" Support For RADV Vulkan Driver

    The Vega 20 open-source driver enablement march continues with Bas Nieuwenhuizen, the RADV independent Radeon Vulkan driver co-founder, introducing an initial patch series this weekend adding support for the unreleased graphics processor.

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