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AMD open sauces MES

by on08 April 2024

Unexpected move

AMD has decided to open source its Micro Engine Scheduler (MES) firmware for GPUs and is handing users the keys to the Radeon graphics cards kingdom.

This is all part of a bigger plan AMD revealed earlier this week. They're making their GPUs more open source, both on the software side with the ROCm stack for GPU programming and on the hardware side. They were a bit tight-lipped about the details at first, only letting slip about a GitHub tracker.

Breaking the silence, AMD made a surprising announcement. They're making the MES firmware for Radeon GPUs open source. This unexpected move has sparked anticipation among tech enthusiasts. They'll be publishing the documentation for MES around the end of May, and then they'll release the source code sometime after that.

For George Hotz and his Open Saucy startup, Tiny Corp, this is like finding a golden ticket in a chocolate bar. Hotz has been banging on about AMD making MES open-source all through March. You see, he's been having a bit of a tough time with his RX 7900 XTX-powered AI server box. He even had a natter with AMD's CEO, Lisa Su.

Hotz was initially "70 per cent confident" that MES would be made open source. But after his chat with Su in late March, he thought it was all a lost cause. This would have been curtains for the AMD-powered TinyBox, which uses six RX 7900 XTXs. But they found a single "umr" repository that made the box work well enough.

Tiny Corp was still a bit miffed, though. They launched an RTX 4090-powered TinyBox anyway since it offered a solution that "just works." They might even be considering an Intel version, although the performance of Intel's best GPU, the Arc A770, is a bit of a worry since it's not entirely up to scratch with the RX 7900 XTX and RTX 4090.

Hotz's 70 percent confidence level was spot on. AMD is doing exactly what he asked for. The ending to the saga is a bit of a twist, and it's a mystery why AMD seems to have changed course now.

Last modified on 08 April 2024
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