AMD ROCm Drops Polaris Support


November 15, 2021

amd compute rocm


Starting with the newly-released ROCm 4.5, support for Polaris cards has been removed. This drops support for cards up to and including the RX590, released just over 3 years ago.

Initially released in 2016, the Radeon Open Compute module was the result of work done to overhaul compute support on AMD GPUs. nVidia, with their CUDA compute software stack, had long been a market leader in the compute field.

This move restricts the ROCm stack to more data centre focused cards, such as the new MI250X accelerator card. nVidia, in contrast, continue to support CUDA on their entire range of GPUs, stretching back to those released in 2014 using the Maxwell architecture.

While much of the ROCm stack will be of no use to the home user, one component that may impact the average user is OpenCL. OpenCL is used by a number of popular applications, such as Photoshop, and web browsers such as Google Chrome feature experimental support. It is primarily used to offload computing tasks from the CPU to the GPU, the GPU being better suited at tasks involving number-crunching.

Users of Polaris cards wishing to maintain OpenCL support will instead have to install the closed source AMDGPU Pro OpenCL driver, or stick to an older version of ROCm.

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