Intel Remains Confident In Fixed-Up RC6
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 24 March 2012 at 08:45 PM EDT. Add A Comment
Intel's open-source Linux graphics developers remain confident that we're likely to the final chapter of the lets-try-rc6-by-default-one-more-time saga. The RC6 power-savings feature for Sandy Bridge graphics hardware should hopefully be -- finally -- sane to keep enabled by default.

Last month I wrote that Intel Sandy Bridge RC6 Is Good To Go after the Intel OTC developers were spending months trying to figure out why for some Sandy Bridge systems this feature, which can significantly conserve power while the system is idling by dropping the supplied power to the integrated graphics processor, was causing stability issues and problems for a small number of systems. Intel has tried at several different times to enable RC6-by-default, but in the end it was always reverted due to such problems.

Intel remains confident that RC6 should be safe to have by default for the latest-generation Intel hardware (RC6 for Ivy Bridge is already on-by-default as they're confident it's working well there), at least using the "plain" RC6 that avoids the deepest power states. While they have been comfortable with RC6 for Sandy Bridge, the change to enable this hardware power-savings feature wasn't found in the exciting DRM pull for the Linux 3.4 kernel.

Eugeni Dodonov of Intel has now sent two patches to the mailing list for having this support merged.
Daniel Vetter and Chris Wilson noticed that the latest rc6 patches went missing in the latest drm merge requests. So I updated them to the latest Linus' tree, and improved the description a bit.

Those settings have received a huge testing on Ubuntu (thanks a lot Canonical!!), and so far it looks like they solve all the known issues on SNB with RC6 which were out there for the past months.

However, one can never be too sure, so the earlier we get them in the main kernel, the earlier we'll find out if there are still some bugs in the wild (with any luck, there won't be any). And with this, we'll complete the lets-try-rc6-by-default-one-more-time saga.

Eugeni Dodonov (2):
drm/i915: allow to select rc6 modes via kernel parameter
drm/i915: enable plain RC6 on Sandy Bridge by default
Meanwhile, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with its Linux 3.2-based kernel continues to have RC6 enabled. Aside from the RC6 power-savings benchmarks shown in last month's article, there's some more results in Intel RC6 Support On The Sandy Bridge Desktop.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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