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Help Make Open Source AMD Graphics Drivers Better

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Lauri Kasanen wrote into Phoronix to request help in gathering information on the r600g open source AMD graphics driver.

For those that don't know, when you are on AMD graphics hardware and don't manually install closed source drivers you will be using one of the different versions of the open source AMD drivers done by the community and some staff from AMD, So this is your chance to help them get better if they run poorly for you.

Lauri KasanenGot a workload that runs badly on the r600g Radeon Gallium3D driver? You can help fix it! Optimizations are coming to the open-source Radeon Linux driver for video memory usage. 

I'm currently working on my thesis (Software Engineering), studying the VRAM behavior of radeon. For r600g, much of the remaining gap to fglrx can be explained by less than optimal VRAM use. There's fragmentation, and there's ping-pong of buffers to and from VRAM.


Here's how you can help:
QuoteYou can help by recording a trace of the app's memory use. If you use Oibaf's PPA, you're set; if you build Mesa yourself, please apply the patches from the stats6 branch

Run the app with the R600_DEBUG environment variable set to enable tracing (bostats), for example "R600_DEBUG=bostats dota2". The trace will be written to /tmp/bostats.[pid].dota2. 

Once a few minutes of gameplay have been captured, exit the game. Please compress this file with XZ, upload somewhere (dropbox, anonfiles, bayfiles, etc) and e-mail me the link to cand at gmx dot com. 

Please include a description of the app, settings used, and the version of the app. If it's a private application, please specify that too. 


Source. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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The comments on this article are closed.
Ilya 13 January 2014 at 4:47 pm UTC
Good, I use Nvidia, but recently made my parents an AMD (because they less energy and because I was curious to see the difference in customer support).
This was last week. I was shocked at first: The open-source driver was slooow, had difficulties running Unity, and my sister couldn't play her steam games on it. The official driver said it was incompatible with the hardware. Luckily a few days later a new version came out that was compatible. Soo much faster than the open-source driver... I really hope they can improve the AMD open-source driver.
The hardware was an R7 240 btw.
dimko 13 January 2014 at 5:07 pm UTC
Ilya, it's not clear, what did you use?
Binary or source driver?
Please clarify this aspect.
gabsd84 13 January 2014 at 5:08 pm UTC
Quote from IlyaGood, I use Nvidia, but recently made my parents an AMD (because they less energy and because I was curious to see the difference in customer support).
This was last week. I was shocked at first: The open-source driver was slooow, had difficulties running Unity, and my sister couldn't play her steam games on it. The official driver said it was incompatible with the hardware. Luckily a few days later a new version came out that was compatible. Soo much faster than the open-source driver... I really hope they can improve the AMD open-source driver.
The hardware was an R7 240 btw.

This work is related to the R600g driver which covers hardware up to the HD6000 series. The R7 240 card you have uses the RadeonSI driver which is not as mature. In addition, without Linux Kernel 3.13 or newer you do not have dynamic power management enabled out of the box which means that the card defaults to its lowest clock rate thereby resulting in poor performance. A lot of performance improvements, bug fixes and improved OpenGL support (as well as dynamic power management enabled out of the box) will be available for Ubuntu 14.04.

Hope this helps explain why you saw such poor performance.
Hamish 13 January 2014 at 5:37 pm UTC
Lauri KasanenYou can help by recording a trace of the app's memory use. If you use Oibaf's PPA, you're set; if you build Mesa yourself, please apply the patches from the stats6 branch.

I do not build Mesa myself but use the version packaged by Arch Linux. Does it use the patches from the stat6 branch? How can one tell?

What about the Mesa shipped with Fedora?
CFWhitman 13 January 2014 at 6:00 pm UTC
Quote from gabsd84
Quote from IlyaGood, I use Nvidia, but recently made my parents an AMD (because they less energy and because I was curious to see the difference in customer support).
This was last week. I was shocked at first: The open-source driver was slooow, had difficulties running Unity, and my sister couldn't play her steam games on it. The official driver said it was incompatible with the hardware. Luckily a few days later a new version came out that was compatible. Soo much faster than the open-source driver... I really hope they can improve the AMD open-source driver.
The hardware was an R7 240 btw.

This work is related to the R600g driver which covers hardware up to the HD6000 series. The R7 240 card you have uses the RadeonSI driver which is not as mature. In addition, without Linux Kernel 3.13 or newer you do not have dynamic power management enabled out of the box which means that the card defaults to its lowest clock rate thereby resulting in poor performance. A lot of performance improvements, bug fixes and improved OpenGL support (as well as dynamic power management enabled out of the box) will be available for Ubuntu 14.04.

Hope this helps explain why you saw such poor performance.

What he said ^.  In fact to say that the RadeonSI driver is not as mature as the R600g driver in, for example, stock Ubuntu 13.10 is an understatement.  I would describe RadeonSI support at that point as rudimentary.  There have been major improvements to it already in newer versions of the kernel and Mesa which will become obvious in Ubuntu 14.04.  However, if you enable DPM for the R600g driver, its performance is pretty good even in Ubuntu 13.10 (and should prove even better in 14.04).

From the HD2400 to the HD7670 cards are all R600G.  The HD7750 and above are RadeonSI.  The old 9500 series (note the lack of "HD" ) to the HD2300 series are covered by the R300g driver.  There are two older drivers that cover earlier cards.  Development of drivers previous to the R600g is not as high a priority.  The newer RadeonSI is still (as stated) not mature.  The R600g driver is actually the sweet spot for driver optimization at the moment.
Hamish 19 January 2014 at 6:36 pm UTC
Well, I think we can definitely say that upstream RadeonSI 3D is close to mature:
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=linux_313_radeonsi

But 2D acceleration through GLAMOUR still needs more work:
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTU3NTI
Anonymous 12 May 2014 at 5:08 pm UTC
BIG BS to all leave VGA GO AMIGA it is TRUE 48bit. Your stuck with inferior true 8bit vga.

doesnt matter taht you have "Dvi" thats just a gender changer. Dam look it up. EVEN NEW TEK and NVIDIA , and AMD admitted to it on their site. WAKE UP and smell the ROSES.

TRUE 48bit is 48bit per each channel of rgb and e and u need that to be true dvi.

you guys have vg and a of which is 8bit each channel . suck suck. you dont use buffering hoser.
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