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Old 29th June 2014
e1-531g e1-531g is offline
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Default Does the OpenBSD support well AMD's APU hardware?

I am a student from Poland (country in Central Europe) and I would love to use OpenBSD everyday. I must have Windows operating system too. I must have it because of Autodesk's Inventor and Autocad software (in future probably also SolidWorks) and Ansys and so on. For that software I need something more powerful than Intel's GPU (not only for performance but also for quality). Today I have laptop with Optimus (Intel's GPU + Nvidia's GPU, if Nvidia's GPU renders something, Intel's GPU is proxy). It works well under Windows. Under Linux Intel's GPU works well, Nvidia's GPU is by default powered off. I can use it by manually typed commands. I can not do anything in BIOS to turn off Nvidia's GPU.
OpenBSD can not turn off my Nvidia's GPU (despite the fact that it not renders or passes by anything) and just consumes a lot of energy from battery and heats my laptop.
So I would consider buying a new laptop with AMD APU if it is supported well by OpenBSD and not heats laptop to high temperatures. Does anybody have experience with AMD APU's on OpenBSD and can let me know if it performs well?
I know for a lot of you buying laptop is relatively more affordable. Please consider that in Poland we have the same (or even a bit higher) prices of electronics and considerably lower earnings, so I don't want to make a mistake and buy hardware based on my wrong opinion about support of AMD's GPUs with OpenBSD.
I don't posted this topic in „General Hardware” because I am particularly interested in OpenBSD support, but if you consider it should land there please place this topic there.
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Old 29th June 2014
shep shep is offline
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This recent post on the OpenBSD mailing may help
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Old 29th June 2014
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Originally Posted by e1-531g View Post
I am a student from Poland...
This same message was also posted to misc@:


Here are a few guidelines to consider:
  • Search through the archives of the project's mailing lists to see if others have asked the same questions before. A favorite archive site of many is http://marc.info/.
  • nVidia does not release specifications for their GPU's, & given the OpenBSD project's stand on open specifications, nVidia & OpenBSD do not play well. You can search the archives both here & on the project's mailing lists to find countless stories of those trying to get stellar performance from their nVidia hardware, & frequently they don't. The general mantra is to avoid nVidia at all costs.
  • When it comes to hardware compatibility -- especially in terms of amd64 & i386 platforms, the project does not have access to every last motherboard available, & new products are being introduced at a rate where knowledge and/or direct experience is not possible.
    • If you are dealing with used hardware, install OpenBSD to a flash drive, & boot directly from the flash drive to determine compatibility. Information on installing to a flash device can be found in Section 14.17.3 of the official FAQ.
    • If you are dealing with new hardware, do the same testing if possible. If booting from flash is not allowed or possible, be very clear on the return policy from where ever you are buying the system. Most likely they are selling Windows or Apple systems, & do not have the knowledge of dealing with Open Source operating systems.

      New cutting edge hardware may have problems not yet resolved with OpenBSD. The issue is whether the project developers have run into these problems & determined a solution. What isn't supported today may be supported in the next few months, & compatibility will be found in -current first. If you are not familiar with OpenBSD's flavors, see Section 5.1 of the FAQ.
  • Having said all of this, most Dell or Thinkpad (IBM or Lenovo...) laptops are largely compatible. Many project developers have Thinkpad laptops in their collections, so you can guess that compatibility will be forthcoming.
I can certainly understand that you don't want to waste funds searching for hardware, but that market is oriented to where they are likely to make sales, & that is towards the Windows & Apple ecosystems. By going into the world of Unix-like operating systems, you will need to have the patience to search for information. When it comes to OpenBSD in particular, searching archives of the project's mailing lists is most likely your best choice outside of experimenting yourself.
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Old 29th June 2014
e1-531g e1-531g is offline
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I know story about Nvidia GPUs. I used Linux for a long time. In Linux Nvidia GPU is disabled and this is great for me. I need Nvidia (or AMD) GPU only in Windows. On Linux Intel GPU is sufficient for me. Nvidia's GPU is powered down by default. Unfortunately OpenBSD doesn't know how to turn off Nvidia GPU and as one of developers told me on ports mailing list, there is no driver easy to port to OpenBSD to turn off that graphics card.

Originally Posted by shep View Post
This recent post on the OpenBSD mailing may help
I read this before, but thanks. Newest AMD's APUs are based on GCN (like ATI Radeon HD7770) but only newest. Older AMD's GPUs in APU are based on VLIW-* architecture and in Linux are well supported by open source drivers. So I am considering purchase of laptop with APU based on that architecture. I think performance in Windows will be sufficient for my projects, and only bothers me temperature (and compatibility) when I will run OpenBSD on it.
I searched mailing lists but there a little recent informations about AMD GPU and none informations about APU's GPU (integrated with CPU GPUs).

Last edited by e1-531g; 29th June 2014 at 04:51 PM. Reason: I corrected sentence.
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amd apu, amd gpu, amd hardware, graphics support, openbsd

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