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February 9, 2024

AMD Linux Driver Hints at Upcoming ‘RDNA 4,’ As Radeon Team Shifts Focus from RDNA 3


According to rumors, AMD is planning to launch its next-generation RDNA 4 GPUs later this year. The new leading Radeon RX 8000 Series card is expected to be a mid-range product, offering Radeon RX 7900 XTX performance but at a fraction of the cost. This could be a potential game-changer. However, it seems NVIDIA could be left alone in the high-end enthusiast market with the upcoming release of the GeForce RTX 5090 and GeForce RTX 5080.

A recent article from the Linux-focused outlet Phoronix provides further interesting updates on AMD Graphics for Linux. Since Radeon drivers on Linux are open-source, the “updated IP (intellectual property) blocks within the open-source AMDGPU Linux kernel graphics driver” are specifically tailored for RDNA 4.

Moreover, the volume of work being carried out for these new “blocks”, which cover GPU tasks, suggests that AMD’s engineers are fully committing to RDNA 4 (or GFX12) and are shifting away from tweaking and optimizing RDNA 3.

The latest patch/update introduces ATHUB 4.1, LSDMA 7.0, IH 7.0, and HDP 7.0. Since these updates are quite technical, here’s Michael Larabel to explain what these “blocks” do.

ATHUB 4.1 is essential for clock-gating / power management features, while LSDMA 7.0 is the most current IP for Light SDMA, which is general purpose System DMA (SDMA) on the GPU. Similarly, IH 7.0 is necessary for the Interrupt Handler on the GPU, and HDP 7.0 aids the Host Data Path in supporting CPU accessing the GPU device memory via the PCI BAR. A significant part of the work comes from the auto-generated header files.

These enhancements may be integrated into the forthcoming Linux 6.9 version later in the year, signalling that RDNA 3 and Radeon RX 8000 Series GPUs could be launched this year.

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