Linux 4.15 Will Finally Graduate Intel "Coffee Lake" Graphics Out Of Alpha Support

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 11 October 2017 at 02:12 PM EDT. 20 Comments
Another set of Intel Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver updates were mailed in to DRM-Next today for the eventual Linux 4.15 kernel cycle.

This latest feature pull comes on top of earlier 4.15 i915 feature work. Exciting me the most out of today's pull request is that it no longer treats Coffee Lake processors' graphics as being alpha.

Coffee Lake CPUs are already available from retailers as the new "Intel 8th Gen CPUs" with more cores and minor refinements over earlier Kabylake CPUs. On the graphics side, the HD Graphics 630 are rebranded as "UHD Graphics 630" but with no big changes. Not until Cannonlake will we be seeing Intel "Gen 10" graphics with what should be some exciting improvements.

While the Coffee Lake graphics are basically unchanged from Kabylake, currently they are marked as "alpha support" and thus will not be enabled by default on newer distributions unless booting with the i915.alpha_support=1 kernel parameter (or building your kernel with the Intel Alpha Kconfig switch). So silly that right now Ubuntu 17.10 and others don't have out-of-the-box accelerated graphics for Coffee Lake considering that I have yet to run into any problems and the graphics is basically unchanged since Kabylake. So now not until Linux 4.15 will that alpha support be removed; not with the upcoming Linux 4.14 kernel. You can see some of my recent tests in Intel UHD Graphics 630 "Coffee Lake" On Linux.

Besides graduating Coffeelake out of alpha support, this new i915 DRM pull request has Display Isochronous Priority Control support, various workaround fixes, GVT virtualization updates, private PAT management, HWSP optimizations, GuC scheduling improvements, and a variety of other mostly internal updates.

The list for this 2nd batch of Intel DRM changes for DRM-Next/4.15 can be found on dri-devel.
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