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Old 11-24-2015, 11:37 AM   #1
1337_powerslacker
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Compiling AMD Crimson Edition


This morning, I was appraised of the release of AMD's Crimson Edition driver via Phoronix, and proceeded to download the new driver. Other than the drop of support for my Radeon HD 6670 (I had a spare XFX R7 handy, so that was no show stopper), I discovered another unpleasant aspect of the driver: The fglrx module failed to compile, and it was not until I perused the fglrx-install.log file that I discovered why it would not compile. My first guess as to why it failed was its lack of support for 4.3.x (My patchset for 4.3 applies, albeit with a few already-applied ones, which can be safely ignored). This was not the case, because even after the 4.3 patches were applied, it still failed. I was perplexed, then I discovered that the Makefile was still pointing to the old gcc-4.9 series! If, like me, you have upgraded to the new 5.2.0 series, you will need to set an environment variable to make sure the Makefile is using the new gcc, like so:
Code:
 
export CC=gcc
export CXX=gcc-5.2
After setting these variables, the driver compiled successfully.

I am not sure whether this will apply system-wide or for just the Crimson driver, but I am going to set the CXX variable in my .bashrc file, just to be on the safe side. Just wanted to let everyone know who has Radeon hardware, what they're in for, and how to avoid the snafu that I encountered.

P.S. I seldom game - the only games I make exceptions for are Quake I (w/ Darkplaces engine & Epsilon), single-player Unreal, and UT 2004. In Quake, when an enemy would come straight up to me and attack, and the only weapon I was using was a rocket launcher, using it would usually result in hesitation before actually registering fire on the old Catalyst driver. On the Crimson Edition, there was no such hesitation; it was smooth as butter. I haven't really measured the improvements against the old Catalyst, but I'm guessing it's a solid 50 percent difference, if not a little less. Color me impressed! Well done, AMD!

P.P.S. In regards to the patchset mentioned above, I have eliminated the patches not needed anymore (and won't apply anyway). For convenience's sake, I have attached the patchset. Please follow my tutorial at http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...2/#post5440497 for instructions on how to apply it.

P.P.P.S. The Phoronix article states that there was no word on whether the Crimson Edition driver supported the Xorg server 1.18 or not. Well, with the recent upgrade of -current's xorg-server to 1.18, I went ahead and made packages for the previous version (1.17.4), seeing as it had subsequently disappeared, and tried out the new server. When my system went to launch X, all I saw was a black screen. So, I used my newly created packages to downgrade to the previous version, uninstalled and reinstalled the Crimson Edition driver, and lo and behold! Working X!

I had set both CC and CXX, but thought that CXX was all that was needed to be set, after giving it some thought. I wasn't sure whether that was overkill, given that the driver successfully compiled. With the downgrade of Xorg to 1.17.4, I tried my new theory; no joy. I'm not quite sure why CC needs to be set as well as CXX, but apparently both do. I'm definitely not arguing with the results.

To recap: No, Crimson Edition does not yet support Xorg 1.18. Stick with the previous version.

Cheers!

Regards,

Matt
Attached Files
File Type: txt patches_crimson-4.3.tar.xz.txt (3.3 KB, 117 views)

Last edited by 1337_powerslacker; 11-24-2015 at 04:40 PM. Reason: Crimson Edition driver performance improvement / Setting of 2 environment variables / No support of Xorg 1.18
 
Old 11-25-2015, 05:10 AM   #2
MarcT
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattallmill View Post
Other than the drop of support for my Radeon HD 6670 (I had a spare XFX R7 handy, so that was no show stopper)
I tried to install radeon-crimson-15.11-15.30.1025 yesterday and it complained my Radeon HD 6450 was not supported. The previous driver amd-catalyst-15.9-linux-installer-15.201.1151-x86.x86_64 works fine though.

Where does it say support for Radeon HD 6xxx series is dropped? I'm not doubting you, but the release notes on the AMD website still says they're supported:
http://support.amd.com/en-us/downloa...Linux+x86_64#2

I was thinking of submitting it as a bug (or bypassing the supported hardware check)...

Last edited by MarcT; 11-25-2015 at 05:12 AM.
 
Old 11-25-2015, 05:56 AM   #3
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The release notes on AMD's website are oftentimes wrong, pre-GCN cards are now considered legacy and won't get any new closed source drivers.
 
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Old 11-25-2015, 06:11 AM   #4
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The article on Phoronix said that the HD 5000/6000 series of cards had been dropped from support. They're usually pretty spot-on when it comes to those things. I was just lucky to have held on to my XFX card. Wasn't of much use after its original use case was done (I was experimenting with graphics for a mini-ITX case. Didn't work out as I expected.) Now it has a new lease on life, and will for some time, especially as I find myself strapped for cash, and as I mentioned in my OP, don't really game much, so a video card upgrade won't be in the works for quite some time, I should think.

Edit: I've found that Phoronix article I was referencing:http://http://www.phoronix.com/scan....rimson-Pre-GCN

Last edited by 1337_powerslacker; 11-25-2015 at 06:30 AM. Reason: Original Phoronix article
 
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Old 11-25-2015, 07:41 AM   #5
TobiSGD
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FWIW, the HD6450 and HD6670 should work reasonably fine with the free drivers if you don't game or only play older games (or games that don't need that much GPU performance), at least if you use -current (and you get working VDPAU support for free).

Last edited by TobiSGD; 11-25-2015 at 07:42 AM.
 
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Old 11-25-2015, 08:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
FWIW, the HD6450 and HD6670 should work reasonably fine with the free drivers if you don't game or only play older games (or games that don't need that much GPU performance), at least if you use -current (and you get working VDPAU support for free).
As you might have seen from my OP, my "newest" game dates from 2004; hardly the epitome of graphic eye candy. I might have gone with the open-source drivers if not for the fact that Quake I with the Darkplaces engine & Epsilon add-on plays much better with the proprietary drivers than it does with the open-source ones. So, Quake itself might be old, but the modern enhancements have made it pretty much a necessity to have a relatively modern video card, and the drivers to back them up.
 
Old 11-28-2015, 04:27 PM   #7
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I'm not convinced that HD 6000 series are dropped as it states compatibilty on the AMD Website AND the Phoronix article cites support dropped for both Linux and <cough> Windows <cough>. I just updated an HD 6770 to Crimson on Win7x64. My HD 6950 undoer Linux is causing trouble though I otherwise meet all the requirements.
 
Old 11-28-2015, 10:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpyusko View Post
I'm not convinced that HD 6000 series are dropped as it states compatibilty on the AMD Website AND the Phoronix article cites support dropped for both Linux and <cough> Windows <cough>. I just updated an HD 6770 to Crimson on Win7x64. My HD 6950 undoer Linux is causing trouble though I otherwise meet all the requirements.
After having reviewed the article in question, it would seem that AMD has failed to clearly state that the Radeon HD 6xxx series is dropped only on Linux. Documentation is not the most fun thing to update, but it would make a world of difference to those who are contemplating a driver upgrade, as proper information would allow them to make informed decisions.
 
Old 11-29-2015, 04:45 AM   #9
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To clarify that, since AMD's naming scheme is based on marketing, not on the actual technology they used: On Linux they dropped all cards that do not use the GCN technology, but the VLIW technology in version 4 and 5.
This includes:
- all HD5xxx cards
- all HD6xxx cards
- HD7xxx cards up to the HD76xx series, HD77xx and higher are still supported
- all HD8xxx cards (you will only find those in APUs)
 
Old 11-29-2015, 09:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
To clarify that, since AMD's naming scheme is based on marketing, not on the actual technology they used: On Linux they dropped all cards that do not use the GCN technology, but the VLIW technology in version 4 and 5.
This includes:
- all HD5xxx cards
- all HD6xxx cards
- HD7xxx cards up to the HD76xx series, HD77xx and higher are still supported
- all HD8xxx cards (you will only find those in APUs)
I'm wondering whether that has anything to do with the performance improvement I witnessed with the game I played. Seems to me that maybe some driver code cleanup was involved, and VLIW code, which I would be inclined to think was considered "legacy" code, was removed to facilitate the performance enhancement.

Now, I know what the Phoronix article said about the driver being a "letdown" on Linux, but I also know what I witnessed, and what happened before I upgraded the driver. I don't think that the flat curve is consistent across all Radeon hardware and games. What Michael compared was the latest hardware with the most popular games, and that is already high-end. But on the lower end, where Quake is, there was enough of an improvement that I have put off a video card upgrade for the foreseeable future.
 
Old 11-29-2015, 11:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
To clarify that, since AMD's naming scheme is based on marketing, not on the actual technology they used: On Linux they dropped all cards that do not use the GCN technology, but the VLIW technology in version 4 and 5.
This includes:
- all HD5xxx cards
- all HD6xxx cards
- HD7xxx cards up to the HD76xx series, HD77xx and higher are still supported
- all HD8xxx cards (you will only find those in APUs)
A bit of poking around and I found some interesting details, following in line with what you said. But, in my case it gets a bit more interesting.

Now reading through reviews on my GPU, the HD 6770, it had very good mid-level performance. After the HD 7000 series were released they were looking to fill gaps in their pecking order and AMD is widely known for repackaging/rebranding previous gen hardware and calling it a day. Such is the case with the HD 7770, it is a re-badged 6770.

When trying to identify a HD 6770 via the AMD driver or via lspci, it always comes back as 6700/7700 series. Where my HD 6950 comes back as strictly 6900 series. It seems only through this loophole an HD 6770 is able to pass the hardware compatibility test for the new Crimson Driver.
 
Old 11-30-2015, 05:04 AM   #12
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpyusko View Post
Now reading through reviews on my GPU, the HD 6770, it had very good mid-level performance. After the HD 7000 series were released they were looking to fill gaps in their pecking order and AMD is widely known for repackaging/rebranding previous gen hardware and calling it a day. Such is the case with the HD 7770, it is a re-badged 6770.
I think you mixed that up. The HD 6770 is a rebranded HD 5770 based on the Juniper XT core (VLIW), while the HD 7770 uses the Cape Verde XT core, which is GCN.
 
Old 11-30-2015, 08:42 AM   #13
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To anyone using this driver: there's a slight uproar about this driver only allowing fan speed to come up to 20% and damaging some cards. Don't know if that's windows only. But something to be aware of. Some say that you would hit the thermal limit and the card would throttle itself before damage, but AMD is supposedly aware and releasing an update this week.
 
Old 11-30-2015, 09:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhiloPolyMath View Post
To anyone using this driver: there's a slight uproar about this driver only allowing fan speed to come up to 20% and damaging some cards. Don't know if that's windows only. But something to be aware of. Some say that you would hit the thermal limit and the card would throttle itself before damage, but AMD is supposedly aware and releasing an update this week.
Thanks for the heads-up. I don't think that affects me, but I will keep that in mind. I probably will update just to be on the safe side, though
 
  


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