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Thread: AMD Releases R600 GPU Documentation

  1. #1
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    Default AMD Releases R600 GPU Documentation

    Phoronix: AMD Releases R600 GPU Documentation

    AMD's Alex Deucher has today announced the availability of the documentation covering the R600 Family Instruction Set Architecture. This ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) documentation covers the unified shader block found on the Radeon HD 2000/3000 series and newer...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=NjUyMA

  2. #2
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    Your turn nVidia...

  3. #3
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    I think that's what the whole FOSS community has been thinking since AMD started releasing the documentation.

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    I said it once and I'll say it again, nvidia feels no pressure until the ati can match nvidia's features and performance with their blobs.

  5. #5
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    Nvidia should take this as a huge wake up call, because the open source driver for the r500/r600 series of cards is rapidly getting to the point that it will match the nvidia on all grounds with ease. ( less than 7 months and they already have the initial 3d api, compiz and xvideo working on the r500 series of chips, and the r600 is progressing rapidly also. )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dandel View Post
    Nvidia should take this as a huge wake up call, because the open source driver for the r500/r600 series of cards is rapidly getting to the point that it will match the nvidia on all grounds with ease. ( less than 7 months and they already have the initial 3d api, compiz and xvideo working on the r500 series of chips, and the r600 is progressing rapidly also. )

    Meanwhile nvidia is offering prizes for cuda coding and still gives reason to own multi-GPU cards in linux, they could be preparing code for public release right now just sitting on it until the need is there to release it.

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    I don't quite understand how two developers, and one in this case, can document an entire GPU...

    I read somewhere that AMD would not let any of the in house developers work on the open source drivers, due to fear of law suites. So how can these 3 guys know everything about the GPU's?

    It actually also puzzles me, how you can build a GPU, and not have the specs. Don't you write the specs before you build a product?

    How all this works, is really a mystery to me

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louise View Post
    I don't quite understand how two developers, and one in this case, can document an entire GPU...
    We're really smart

    Seriously, all good questions. It's not that we don't have information, it's that we have too much. There's maybe 100,000 pages of documentation for a typical GPU, not counting test programs or test reports. We (mostly Alex really) pick through the information and build up documents, sometimes by cherry picking from design docs, sometimes by writing explanations to fill the gaps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise View Post
    I read somewhere that AMD would not let any of the in house developers work on the open source drivers, due to fear of law suites. So how can these 3 guys know everything about the GPU's?
    We have a good mix of skills (I designed graphics hardware for a lot of years, Alex knows the 2d area & video area really well, we have hired an ex-ATI 3d developer as well, and we get help from folks in the community like Airlie and Glisse who have been working with the 3d innards for years. We also have direct access to the top hardware and software architects although we try not to suck up too much of their time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise View Post
    It actually also puzzles me, how you can build a GPU, and not have the specs. Don't you write the specs before you build a product?
    Yes, hugely detailed specs -- but that documentation is primarily "block level" internals, not "here is a programming manual". We write the programming manuals, at least for the acceleration bits. For display & modesetting, we planned to leverage AtomBIOS to let the driver development move quickly, and also provide enough register spec information to support debugging and make sure developers could understand what AtomBIOS was doing and troubleshoot problems.

    EDIT - I should mention that for this particular document I believe we made use of an outside tech writing firm (at least that's the impression I got from the revision history) to turn the raw documentation into nicely finished manuals. My primary contribution this time was noticing the document while playing with CAL, getting permission to publish it, and letting Alex know that another 50 pages could be chopped out of the R6xx programming guide
    Last edited by bridgman; 06-11-2008 at 10:24 PM.

  9. #9
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    WOOHOO!

    This message was too short before this sentence.

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    This is how I want the morning to start. Awesome

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