Proposed Changes To Intel GPU Top Would Make It A More Useful Utility

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 3 October 2018 at 11:08 AM EDT. 5 Comments
Among the developer/enthusiast tool-set of the Intel open-source Linux graphics driver developers has been Intel GPU Top (the command intel_gpu_top) that is distributed with the Intel-GPU-Tools collection. This GPU information utility inspired by Linux's well known top command reports for Intel HD/UHD/Iris Graphics hardware the usage information, but does require root privileges to operate. Intel GPU Top is about to get a major overhaul.

Intel GPU Top hasn't been the most useful utility particularly among non-developers, but Intel's Tvrtko Ursulin is proposing a set of changes he entitled the "21st century intel_gpu_top." These 13 patches add a lot of useful reporting to the command-line based utility.

What the revised Intel GPU Top would roughly look like.

The patches enable intel_gpu_top to report overall GPU load averages based on queue depths and also per-DRM client per-engine business. The revised Intel GPU Top would report better overall engine business from the render / blitter / video engines and also this reporting on a per-client/application basis.

But besides the intel_gpu_top patches needing to be merged to the Intel GPU Tools, this work also partially depends on some yet-to-be-merged kernel patches for exposing a new sysfs interface for per-client stats and additional PMU performance counter. (I'm personally interested as well as in the new per-client sysfs information reporting and may be useful for integration to the statistics reporting with the Phoronix Test Suite.)

The patches can be found for now on intel-gfx. This utility only works for Intel graphics hardware and unfortunately I am not aware of any other Linux driver/utility offering per-client GPU usage reporting.
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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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