Attack of the zombie PowerVR GPUs

Date: 2022-04-10T20:35:00-07:00

Location: www.talospace.com

Like rotted silicon corpses, several new recent GPU cards based on Imagination Technologies' old school PowerVR IP have emerged in the Chinese market, including the Innosilicon Fantasy One series and most recently the Moore Threads MUSA family. Don't kid yourself either about these being particularly more open than AMD and Nvidia offerings, though support for the Rogue GPUs is landing in kernel and in Mesa3D; while there is fairly good documentation on the GPU's ISA the firmware is still likely to be binary blobs (though this is no worse than the alternatives). Moreover, their performance even from the OEM specs just isn't competitive with current cards. That said, any GPU at all beats the flat framebuffer of the ASTs in our systems, and these chips may move more slowly enough to be more stable in the kernel compared to the occasional churn with

amdgpu

and friends. Assuming it can be flexible on page size, another alternative GPU architecture, even a basic one, would be welcome (at least until the Microwatt-based Libre-SoC is a viable option). We'll be watching that space.