Intel Graphics Driver Has Alder Lake N & DG2/Alchemist Performance Boost For Linux 5.18

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 9 February 2022 at 07:07 AM EST. 4 Comments
Intel on Tuesday submitted to DRM-Next what is likely to be their biggest set of feature updates for their "i915" kernel graphics driver in this spring's Linux 5.18.

Yesterday's pull request has Alder Lake N platform support is now in place. The Alder Lake N support isn't much of a difference from the driver perspective over the existing Alder Lake S and P support that has already stabilized. Mesa 22.0 adds ADL-N for their OpenGL and Vulkan drivers and now with Linux 5.18 the necessary kernel-side support is in place. With Linux 5.17 are also some bits of ADL-N support already too like working audio. Alder Lake N is for Intel's 12th Gen ultra low voltage SoCs for use in Chromebooks and other low-power, lower-end devices. With the graphics support for Linux 5.18, this seems to be the base kernel version for expecting good ADL-N support when hardware surfaces.

On the Intel discrete graphics front is support for reading the DG1 OPRM through the SPI controller, an async flip optimization for DG2/Alchemist GPUs, and other changes. The async page flipping optimization for DG2/Alchemist is limiting the watermark levels to zero during async flips. Intel's hardware team reported to the driver engineers that this can help "achieve higher perfomance."

It would appear with the latest Linux kernel the DG2/Alchemist support is settling down at least in terms of basic requirements. There still are various patch series floating around for improving the dedicated video memory handling and other features, but would seem with Linux 5.17~5.18 will likely be the minimum viable kernel version for the upcoming Intel Arc graphics cards. Intel hasn't publicly confirmed Linux version requirements but at least from my monitoring that is where things appear at and once getting my hands on Arc graphics cards will be able to provide more light as to the Linux support and performance.

This i915 pull for DRM-Next with Linux 5.18 also has continued work on the frame-buffer compression (FBC) code, DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (DP MST) fixes, disabling unused power wells left enabled by the BIOS, and a variety of other fixes throughout the growing driver's code-base.

The Intel-powered GPD Win Max

Included as part of this pull is also an orientation quirk for the GPD Win Max. It's using a 800 x 1200 panel but mounted in a laptop form factor. The GPD Win Max is an Intel Tiger Lake powered 8-inch mini handheld game console / tablet PC.

The full list of patches can be found via this pull request. There will likely be another one or two Intel pulls ahead of the Linux 5.18 merge window opening up around the end of March, but this PR is expected to be the bulk of their expected changes for this next kernel version.
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