AMD finally release open source Radeon 7000 GPU drivers for Linux

If you are in the market for a new graphics card, you could do a lot worse than considering one of the latest AMD Radeon HD 7000 series cards. That is, unless you run Linux instead of Windows as your operating system.

The 28nm 7000 series Southern Islands GPU family has been out for a few months now and consists of the Radeon 7700, 7800, and 7900 lines. However, AMD has not provided proper support and open source drivers for the cards, meaning Linux users have had to make do with seeing their cards recognized as unsupported hardware using even the latest proprietary Catalyst drivers.

That situation is set to change though, as AMD has just released the Linux driver code for the Southern Island series of cards. The release comes in the form of 48 patches which also include support for the latest Fusion Trinity APUs. It is now hoped that the patches can be merged into the kernel in time for the Linux 3.4 release, although the window to achieve that closes at the end of next week.

Adding full support for the Southern Islands cards makes them a much more desirable option for Linux users. It will now be much easier to benchmark their true performance as well as overclock them. It also allows for improved power management, thermal sensors to be read correctly, better compliance with standards like OpenGL, and overall improved performance in areas such as video acceleration and games.

AMD taking a relatively long time to release Linux drivers for cards already on the market doesn’t help sales. It has surely put some people off purchasing one of their high end cards purely because it couldn’t be taken full advantage of in a Linux system.

Read more at Phoronix

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