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16 April 2012, 12:20

Open source 3D drivers for new AMD and NVIDIA GPUs

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GeForce GTX 680
GeForce GTX 680

Over the past few days, developers have integrated code to support the latest generation AMD and NVIDIA graphics chips into Mesa 3D. A major extension enables the NVC0 Mesa driver to support the first graphics chip in the Kepler generation; this chip is used on the recently introduced GeForce GTX 680. To address it, however, the NVC0 driver, which was previously only used for NVIDIA's Fermi generation graphics chips, requires a pre-release version of Linux 3.4 as well as various additional kernel patches.

Another prerequisite to using this driver is the developer version of the libdrm. This is because major libdrm driver changes were made a few hours before the Kepler 3D code was integrated; the Nouveau driver in Mesa 3D uses this driver to communicate with the kernel's DRM/KMS Nouveau driver. These modifications are also designed to improve the 3D performance of chips such as those used on the GeForce 8 and later series. The developers have also integrated a new GeForce series FX, 6 and 7 driver into Mesa 3D; the new driver is designed to fix various problems of the previous driver for these chips, which has now been removed.

A new radeonsi driver has also been added to the developer branch of Mesa 3D. This driver currently only offers basic support for the 3D features of Southern Islands graphics chips. Southern Islands chips are, for example, used on the current series 7700, 7800 and 7900 Radeon HD models. Together with the new driver, the developers have integrated the LLVM backend for the R600 driver into Mesa 3D. The radeonsi driver also requires a pre-release version of Linux 3.4; however, a Southern Islands driver for that works with the Linux kernel drivers and Mesa 3D and offers acceleration is currently still in development, which means that the whole setup only has very limited practical purpose at the moment.


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