AMD Releases Open Source Radeon HD 8000 Series Driver

AMD isn't yet ready to welcome its upcoming Radeon HD 8000 Series graphics cards to the world, but the company is preparing for the impending launch, in part by publishing initial open source Linux drivers. Found in the Mesa graphics library, the open source drivers pertain to the Radeon HD 8870 and 8850 graphics cards.

Barring any delays or issues, the new parts will arrive in the second quarter of 2013, followed by the rest of the Radeon HD 8000 Series GPUs. The Radeon HD 8850 and Radeon HD 8870 are built on a 28nm manufacturing process and both feature 3.4 billion transistors on a die that measures about 270mm2, according to previous leaks.

Radeon graphics card

The open source drivers were discovered by Michael Larabel over at Phoronix, who offered some words of caution.

"Before getting too excited, the open source Radeon HD 7000 "Southern Islands" support is still a mess and the Sea Islands support is just building upon that," Larabel states.

There's also the issue of missing features, such as the lack of Unified Video Decoder support and no support beyond OpenGL 3.0. Whether or not any of that will change by the time the Radeon HD 8000 Series debuts remains to be seen.