Some Small Progress On Linux GPU Laptop Switching
Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org on 9 November 2010 at 01:56 AM EST. 6 Comments
A few weeks ago we reported that notebook hybrid graphics switching on Linux still sucks. For these newer laptops that boast dual GPUs -- an integrated low-power IGP and a more performance-oriented discrete GPU for demanding environments with switching between the two being done "seamlessly" in real-time based upon usage or via a hot-key -- the support under Linux is still virtually nonexistent. There is a crude form of Linux GPU switching, but for the most part it's not nearly up to par for what's available in Microsoft Windows 7 or Apple Mac OS X. The situation remains that way, but some small progress has been made.

Red Hat's David Airlie is reporting on some work done by Matthew Garrett and himself on exploring the situation for those notebooks with combined Intel and NVIDIA graphics. They discovered a WMI driver would need to be written for Linux for passing the ACPI output IDs to the WMI MXDS method for switching the MUX. This at least would support some Intel-NVIDIA notebooks, but evidently Apple notebooks are handled differently without WMI/ACPI, but some Nouveau developers are reverse-engineering that side.

There is yet no working support, but at least some progress is being made in learning how these switch-able notebook graphics processors actually work. Read the blog post here.
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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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