Radeon Page-Flipping Patches Come About
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 26 October 2010 at 08:10 AM EDT. 52 Comments
Since the Linux 2.6.32 kernel there has been the KMS page-flipping ioctl and it's been hooked into the Intel DRM driver for providing tear-free updating of the screen by low-latency page-flipping. This KMS page-flipping ioctl is also used by Wayland. Since late October there's also been Nouveau patches for page-flipping, but now patches have finally emerged for bringing this support to the Radeon DRM driver.

AMD's Alex Deucher shared these latest patches last night that go against the Radeon DRM and the xf86-video-ati DDX for providing this page-flipping support. The announcement was made here and require using the drm-next tree plus David Airlie's 2D tiling fix patches. Alex is reporting that the page-flipping is working out well for Radeon R600/R700/Evergreen GPUs (the Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000/5000 series), but earlier R100 through R500 ASICs still need additional work.

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear as if this work would be ready before the merge window for the Linux 2.6.37 kernel closes. The page-flipping still isn't working well in tiling scenarios and as aforementioned the support for earlier GPUs needs some additional attention. As such, we may not see mainline ATI Radeon page-flipping support with the open-source driver until the Linux 2.6.38 kernel. At least we have XvMC on R600g support to play with for the time being.
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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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