Linux 5.17 To Finally Enable Variable Rate Refresh For Intel Ice Lake

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 1 December 2021 at 06:08 AM EST. 8 Comments
An early batch of Intel kernel graphics driver feature updates intended for Linux 5.17 was sent out yesterday to DRM-Next for queuing until that next merge window opens around the start of the new year. Notable with this pull is Icelake "Gen11" graphics finally seeing variable rate refresh enabled!

With the Linux 5.16 merge window well past, the Intel open-source graphics driver developers have been turning their attention to material they want to see in Linux 5.17 for that kernel to be introduced in the early months of 2022. Sent out yesterday was the first of several PRs to DRM-Next of changes to be queued for that next kernel version. Highlights of yesterday's pull request includes:

- Variable Rate Refresh (VRR) support has been extended to now work with Icelake "Gen 11" graphics rather than being limited to Gen12 and newer. Last year Intel ironed out their Gen12 VRR support on Linux and got that in order for use with Adaptive-Sync displays. Gen11 hardware supports VRR too but it wasn't enabled in the Linux driver until now.

VRR finally for Gen11...

- Alder Lake P has DSI (MIPI's Display Serial Interface) support in place.

- A display audio codec keep-alive feature has been enabled for Xe LPD for use when in low-power states.

- Run-time power management auto-suspend is now enabled by default.

- Per-lane DisplayPort drive settings for Icelake Gen11 graphics and newer.

- Continued work on frame-buffer compression (FBC) and prepping support for multiple FBC instances.

- Various Alder Lake fixes.

See the pull for the lengthy list of patches so far for the Intel i915 DRM driver with Linux 5.17.
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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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