Power-Saving FBC For Intel Skylake Is Still Baking On Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 24 March 2016 at 08:26 PM EDT. 5 Comments
While the Linux 4.6 kernel is enabling FBC and PSR by default in the Intel graphics driver, it's only for select generations of Intel hardware for these power-saving Frame-Buffer Compression and Panel Self Refresh features. With Intel Skylake, FBC support remains a work in progress.

At least today, Intel's Paulo Zanoni sent out his second version of patches for getting Frame-Buffer Compression support in order for the latest-generation Skylake hardware. He commented on the patch series, "The Kernel patches are mostly the same, but with the review suggestions implemented. The DDX patch is new and should really help things now."

The final patch in the series would enable FBC by default for Skylake hardware to avoid having to boot with the i915 FBC DRM module option (i915.enable_fbc) to enable the support. That last patch is rather ambitious too as it does enable FBC just not for Skylake but all newer hardware too, like the yet-to-be-released Kabylake (KBL) generation. The thinking is that developers will then encounter any issues sooner with being forced along that code path while still the support for post-Gen9 is considered "preliminary" by this open-source Intel Linux kernel graphics driver.

The frame-buffer compression support for Skylake is too late for making it into the Linux 4.6 merge window so the next hope for getting this power-saving feature on the newest Intel-powered laptops will be with the Linux 4.7 kernel.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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