Linux 5.20 To Support The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen3, ThinkPad X13s Arm Laptop

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 30 July 2022 at 09:33 AM EDT. 30 Comments
Submitted early ahead of tomorrow's Linux 5.19 stable kernel release are the SoC changes destined for the Linux 5.20 merge window. There are more than one thousand SoC patches for Linux 5.20 cycle adding and updating many SoCs and board/platform coverage. One of several notable additions this cycle is introducing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen3 support for high-end Arm laptops.

The NXP i.MX93 SoC is now supported with Linux 5.20 as the i.MX6/i.MX8 successor. The NXP i.MX93 announced last year features Arm Cortex-A55 cores, an Arm Cortex-M33, an Arm Ethos U-65 microNPU, and an EdgeLock secure enclave. The NXP i.MX93 is intended for use within industrial automation, automotive, building control, smart homes, and related areas. The integrated NPU aims to make this SoC very efficient for machine learning applications.

Another exciting SoC addition is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen3 (SC8280XP) as the company's latest high-end Arm-based laptop SoC. The automotive-geared SA8540P is also supported. With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen3 support is also adding the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s laptop and reference board support.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13s is a $2,169+ USD laptop featuring this Snapdragon SoC with clock speeds up to 3.0GHz, 13.3-inch 1200p display, up to 32GB of LPDDR4x-4267 memory, and up to a 28 hour battery life. By default the ThinkPad X13s runs Windows 11 Pro Arm, but now the Linux support is getting underway.

A number of new Broadcom broadband SoCs are now supported along with their reference boards: BCM63178, BCM63158, BCM4912, BCM6858, BCM6878, BCM6846, BCM63146, BCM6856, BCM6855, BCM6756, BCM63148, and BCM6813.

Allwinner's H616 SoC is also supported with Linux 5.20 as a newer version of the H6 SoC. The Allwinner H616 features four Arm Cortex-A53 cores, a Mali G31 GPU, and designed to handle 4K@60FPS decoding with this SoC being focused on OTT and IPTV markets. In addition to enabling the Allwinner H616, Linux 5.20 is bringing support for the Orange Pi Zero2 and X96 Mate.

Also new for Linux 5.20 is support for the Marvell Prestera 98DX2530 (AlleyCat5) SoC used by some network switches. New SoC platform support for the Nuvoton NPCM8XX and Sunplus SP7021. Meanwhile the aging DaVinci DM644x/DM646x SoC support has been removed. The Nuvoton NPCM8xx SoCs are used as baseboard management controllers. The Sunplus SP7021 "Plus1" SoC is a general purpose SoC using Arm Cortex-A7 cores.

The Linux 5.20 ARM defconfig will now enabling the V3D DRM driver that is used by the Raspberry Pi 4 and newer. The older VC4 driver was previously enabled and now V3D is also enabled as part of the default configuration to ensure this driver is built by default. There are also many defconfig updates on the Qualcomm side for enabling their LPG LEDs driver, Qualcomm Bandwidth Monitor, and other features.

Linux 5.20 also deprecates old Arm board files in the Linux kernel. For the past decade the Linux kernel has relied on Device Tree while prior to that were old board files grandfathered in. Many of those older targets have since been converted to Device Tree format while those that haven't are now deprecated. The plan is to remove those old files after the Linux 2022 LTS release at the end of the year. If anyone is still running a modern kernel with these old board files will need to speak up over the coming months otherwise those legacy board files will be removed after the next LTS kernel. See the mailing list post for all the legacy board details.

The SoC changes for Linux 5.20 also include adding the Google Chameleon v3 FPGA board that is based on Intel's Arria10 and Stratix 10 platform. There is also improved Chromebook support for various devices based on MediaTek and Qualcomm SoCs. New Chromebooks working with mainline Linux 5.20 include Acer Chromebook 514 (MT8192), Acer Chromebook Spin 513 (MT8195) and SC7180 based machines including the Lenovo IdeaPad Chromebook Duet 3.

More details on all of the big SoC changes for Linux 5.20 via this PR series.
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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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