When SiFive launched its HiFive is unbeatable RISC-V Desktop Boards for Developers Last year, it was obvious from the beginning that sooner or later enthusiasts would try to use its U7 SoC for purposes it was not suitable for: general PC use with high-performance graphics and video decoding. This time came, because enthusiasts managed to make AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 XT work with RISC-V SoC under Linux.
According to reports, computer scientist René Rebe decided to prove that SiFive HiFive Unmatched can not only run Linux, but can actually use high-performance graphics processors Hackster.ioTo this end, he spent 10 hours patching the Linux kernel to add support for the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card and Mesa Gallium driver 21.1.5 driver.
Rebe not only managed to get AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 XT to display the Linux GUI, but also let it render 3D graphics in hardware accelerated mode and decode video. He did not try to launch a game (video decoding has certain limitations), but since this is the world’s first attempt to use a high-performance GPU with RISC-V, it can be considered a successful attempt.
SiFive HiFive Unmatched board equipped with Freedom U740 SoC has all PC I/O interfaces that PC users are used to, including PCIe 3.0 x8/16, M.2 slot and USB port. For this reason, almost any modern hardware can be installed in a PC powered by a HiFive Unmatched board. After all, this development board is designed for developers who develop client PC and server software for the upcoming RISC-V SoC. But there is a limitation: Linux cannot properly support RISC-V, because most RISC-V-based chips are microcontrollers that cannot run advanced operating systems. Although there are some RISC-V SoCs that can run them (such as Freedom U740), they are not particularly fast.
For more detailed information on SiFive Unmatched RISC-V motherboards with AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT experiments, please visit René Rebe’s position within YouTube channel.