René Rebe Patches the Linux Kernel for "World's First" Look at a Radeon RX 6700XT on a RISC-V PC

Owners of SiFive's first ITX-format RISC-V PC board may soon be able to add a high-performance GPU to the mix, using the AMDGPU driver.

Gareth Halfacree
7 days agoProductivity

Computer scientist René Rebe has patched the Linux kernel to bring support for AMD's RDNA2-based Radeon RX 6700XT graphics card to RISC-V systems — starting with the HiFive Unmatched board.

"[It] took only 10 hours to debug and proof-of-concept patch the Linux kernel to support [the] additional requirements of AMDGPU for RISCV64 to use the newly arrived RX 6700XT Navy Flounder [graphics card]," Rebe explains of his work, "w[ith] additional VAAPI hardware accelerated video encoding on the HiFive SiFive Unmatched board!"

The AMD Radeon RX 6700XT is now compatible with SiFive's HiFive Unleashed, through an unofficial kernel patch. (📷: René Rebe)

Rebe's work brings a high-performance graphics card option to those working with the HiFive Unmatched, a development board designed for those working on projects using desktop- and server-class implementations of the RISC-V instruction set. In theory, the work is also backwards-compatible with the older HiFive Unleashed — providing you add the required expansion board for PCI Express connectivity.

In a livestream video, reproduced above, Rebe showed off what he described as a "world's first:" Hardware-accelerated rendering and video encoding on the Radeon RX 6700XT graphics card, codenamed Navy Flounder, on a 64-bit RISC-V platform — though the 3D performance appeared to be limited somewhat by the CPU.

The full video and associated chat recording is available on the Bits Inside by René Rebe YouTube channel.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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