Intel's Open-Source Arc Graphics Driver Not Yet Working On POWER Hardware

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 3 November 2022 at 05:30 AM EDT. 15 Comments
INTEL --
Besides open-source drivers being loved by Linux enthusiasts for the greater technical clarity/insight, better security with the ability to verify the driver's behavior, and better durability of the driver over the longer-term, another common open-source driver benefit is being able to get the drivers working on other CPU architectures not otherwise a focus by the upstream hardware vendor. With Intel's open-source graphics driver stack for Arc Graphics and also in the data center with the Data Center GPU Flex Series and forthcoming Ponte Vecchio, it's drawn interest from ARM, RISC-V, and POWER folks. Unfortunately at least in the case of the POWER9 hardware, the current Intel Linux graphics driver isn't yet building properly there.

In the past with only having integrated graphics, the open-source Intel Linux driver hasn't had to care about non-x86/x86_64 architectures since their graphics processors were only tied to x86 cores. But now in the discrete graphics world, we've seen some work by Intel engineers on improving the build-ability of their driver for Arm / RISC-V / POWER but not everything is buttoned up yet.

A Phoronix reader tweeted about his recent experience in buying an Arc Graphics A770 with hopes of using it on his POWER system. POWER9 has a special place in the hearts of many open-source enthusiasts thanks to Raptor Computing Systems with their Talos II server and micro-ATX Blackbird systems. These POWER9 systems can run on fully free software down to the microcode and board schematics being open.

Unfortunately for Arc Graphics, the current i915 Linux kernel module isn't yet building cleanly for POWER. While the Phoronix reader is hopeful the Intel driver support for POWER will improve, for now he ended up returning the A770 over the lack of being able to get the driver working on his non-x86 system.


Raptor's Blackbird with POWER9 CPU.


Surely with time the Intel Linux graphics driver support for non-x86 architectures will improve -- certainly at least for RISC-V and Arm with Intel engineers having made some strides there already and hopefully lifting POWER too.
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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 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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