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Open Source AMD Driver Now Supports OpenGL 3.3 — and It's Getting Faster

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  • Re: 4.0? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Therad (2493316) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @05:40AM (#46065351)
    Because 3.3 is a subset of 4?
  • by complete loony (663508) <Jeremy.Lakeman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Saturday January 25, 2014 @09:57AM (#46066005)

    Looking at those graphs, for those games, the current open source driver is running above the refresh rate of most monitors.

    So while the catalyst driver may be faster, in some cases doubling the frame rate, I highly doubt you'd actually notice the difference.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 25, 2014 @11:16AM (#46066305)

    I was surpriced how well radeon driver is working. I'm not even using the newest version, but still the driver works considerably better on opengl use cases than it did just few years ago.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:04PM (#46066491) Homepage

    This is what I hate about GPU (opensource) drivers. Never EVER can anyone give full explanations on what the heck is going on. Instead we get oblique hints which more or less equals "RTFS". Or in some rare cases, RTFM. Every time I try to google this stuff up, I ragequit in despair after two hours.

    So you're saying you can't write Java without understanding how the JVM is built? The firmware provides you with a very low level API that is very similar to assembler, it's more like runtime-loaded microcode than normal code. If you really care to try, I suggest you start here []. Basically you place commands into a ring buffer that is read by the command processor (CP) on the graphics card and then executed on the GPU. There's a ton of registers you can set up, tons of commands, tons of formats (like all the texture formats) and while it is documented it's literally thousands of pages all together.

    For example, for the Southern Islands generation alone there is:
    229 pages of 3D register documentation
    298 pages of instruction set architecture
    49 pages of programming guide which expands the
    54 pages of evergreen/cayman programming guide which expands the
    43 pages of R600/700 programming guide.

    Those 700 pages only walk you through the very basics of programming the GPU though, like assembler for a CPU. Beyond that there's very little in the way of tutorials, look at the existing source and figure out what it does down to the registers it sets and commands it sends. By the way, if things are not done in the right order the behavior is often undefined and may lead to soft or hard lock-ups. Personally I gave up because I realized the massive complexity of a modern GPU, quite frankly programming it at this level is extremely difficult.

One picture is worth 128K words.