During that time, I was speaking with several important people in the Linux ecosystem, including RADV developers, System76 employees, and engineers at Red Hat.
All important people in the Linux space. All of whom did their best to assist me in getting the RX 6800 XT and RX 6800 working properly on a variety of distros. Collectively, we failed.
There were a LOT of moving parts involved, and I still maintain that the process was daunting for anyone who’s not a kernel-compiling Linux wizard (like Wendell
Oh, one more thing: approximately zero of these people received pre-launch hardware samples. Suffice to say, I kind of agreed with many of the disgruntled Linux gamers in the video’s comments, suggesting that AMD should have just sent the cards to the distro maintainers and graphics stack developers, and not to reviewers like me.
The outlook is bright now
Back to the present tense. It’s the end of March, and I just used a custom script from System76 engineer Jeremy Soller to (quite effortlessly) get my Radeon RX 6800 XT up and running on Pop OS 20.10.
What’s the good news for you? System76
will be updating its Pop OS ISO
to include support for all Radeon RX 6000 cards. It’ll pull in a newer kernel and updated MESA drivers.
I’m also hearing they’ll begin evaluating these cards with their Thelio desktops.
The RX 6000 story is also bright on Fedora 33. Yesterday I did a clean install on the same machine, and after the initial system update, the GPU was recognized and performing like the beast that it is.
If you’re wondering: Shadow of the Tomb Raider cranked out an average of 78 FPS at 4K with the graphics quality settings dialed to maximum.
(Oh! Speaking of Fedora, you haven’t lived until you’ve installed the Fedora 34 Beta and witnessed the buttery smooth experience GNOME 40 gives you on a 4K, 120Hz display. Holy. Freaking. Crap.)
These cards should be working out of the box on rolling distros like Manjaro, and Ubuntu 21.04 (launching next month) will also introduce support for the RX 6000 series.
And now that the outlook is much better, I’m going to start benchmarking and playing with them!
I’ll keep you posted right here.