Intel Sends Linux Kernel Patches For VRR / Adaptive-Sync Enablement

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 22 October 2020 at 08:41 PM EDT. 3 Comments
For months now Intel's open-source Linux driver stack has been preparing for VRR support with Gen11/Gen12 graphics. We've seen user-space patches by Intel around VRR while now they are finally sending out their key Linux kernel driver patches with the i915 DRM code.

This kernel code is what's needed for actually enabling DisplayPort 1.4 Adaptive-Sync / Variable Refresh Rate on capable Intel graphics hardware with capable displays. The 11 patches add just under 300 lines of new code to their kernel driver in making the necessary VRR preparations and handling for this display feature.

VRR/Adaptive-Sync is about adapting a display's refresh rate to match that of rendering speed to avoid tearing and reducing stuttering. This technology is primarily for gaming but we've also seen Wayland compositors adapted for it among other possible uses.

So the kernel code on the Intel side is now out for review and will hopefully be mainlined for Linux 5.11 in early 2021. With the user-space improvements to xf86-video-modesetting and the like already out there, it means by the time of the spring 2021 Linux distributions we might be seeing good Intel VRR support on Linux. Like the AMD open-source driver, these patches are initially only wired up for DisplayPort rather than HDMI, which appears to be due to some legal/licensing limitation for the open-source Linux drivers.
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