A little over two years ago an enthusiast managed to make AMD's Radeon RX 6700 XT work on a RISC-V development board under Linux, which was not a particularly easy task. Since then, AMD's Linux graphics drivers have made a big leap in working with RISC-V systems and now it is possible to use AMD's latest graphics cards, including the Radeon RX 7900 XTX, with RISC-V platforms out of the box.
Legacy AMD Radeon graphics cards, such as those based on the company's original GCN architecture from early 2010s, can run on practically all platforms under Linux, according to Phoronix. By contrast, AMD's latest GPUs, such as those powered by the Navi architecture (which are among the best graphics cards), use a different display code to initialize and kernel-mode FPU support that were not supported on RISC-V — which is why they could not work on RISC-V boards out of the box, and required manual patching.
This issue is now being fixed thanks to new updates from SiFive, and it looks promising for the upcoming Linux 6.8 kernel release.
"This series allows using newer AMD GPUs (e.g., Navi) on RISC-V boards such as SiFive's HiFive Unmatched," a statement by SiFive reads. "Those GPUs need CONFIG_DRM_AMD_DC_FP to initialize, which requires kernel-mode FPU support."
These changes are under review and are expected to be included in the next Linux 6.8 kernel release, and will make it easier to use the latest AMD Radeon graphics cards with RISC-V and open-source drivers.
For now, there are hardly any mainstream 3D-accelerated games that directly support the RISC-V architecture. However, advancements like the improved compatibility of AMD GPUs with RISC-V systems could lead to more gaming software being ported or developed for RISC-V in the future.
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Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.