The Big DRM Graphics Pull For Linux 4.8: AMDGPU OverDrive, Nouveau Pascal, ARM Mali Driver

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 2 August 2016 at 12:00 AM EDT. 3 Comments
David Airlie sent in the main DRM feature update a short time ago for the Linux 4.8 kernel. The code has already landed while Linus Torvalds was quick to note he's encountered some Intel DRM driver troubles.

Highlights of the DRM tree for Linux 4.8 include:

- The AMDGPU OverDrive support for overclocking the GPU core and memory for the newer AMD Radeon graphics cards on the AMDGPU kernel driver.

- A variety of PowerPlay improvements including new power management capabilities for AMD Polaris GPUs.

- New power capabilities for Carrizo and Stoney and separately improvements for PowerXpress systems. Outside of all the AMDGPU power work, there are also some GPU scheduling improvements too.

- Initial NVIDIA Pascal support in the Nouveau DRM driver. However, for GeForce GTX 1000 GP104/GP106 GPUs, this only includes basic kernel mode-setting support. There isn't yet any accelerated support for the consumer cards until NVIDIA releases the needed signed firmware files. Only with the GP100 is there any accelerated support right now.

- Other Nouveau changes but frankly nothing too exciting like any major advancements with re-clocking / power management, as the main inhibitors right now for getting decent performance on this open-source NVIDIA driver.

- A wide assortment of Intel work as has become common. One of the notables is GVT-g para-virtualization for Broadwell and newer. Intel Broxton support is also now enabled by default.

- An ARM Mali display driver has landed, but it doesn't provide any 3D support.

- Mediatek display improvements.

- Various other DRM updates.

A complete run-down of the DRM driver and core changes for the Linux 4.8 kernel can be found via this Git pull. The code was quick to land, but Linus Torvalds already commented on problems with the Intel i915 DRM driver that he has "nasty flickering" issues with the code using a Haswell ultrabook. I'll be running many Linux 4.8 DRM tests shortly.
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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 20,000 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, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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