Intel Meteor Lake Introducing "Standalone Media" Unit

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 30 August 2022 at 06:34 AM EDT. 7 Comments
With Intel's Meteor Lake moving to a tiled/chiplet approach, we have already seen some interesting changes on the Linux driver side and confirmation of the introduction of a "Versatile Processing Unit" coming with Meteor Lake (MTL) for inference acceleration. Another interesting confirmation from new Linux driver patches is their media encode/decode moving to a "standalone media" Graphics Technology (GT) block.

Intel's media block has been part of their integrated graphics technology but with Meteor Lake will now be "standalone". Intel has already been working on early Linux graphics enablement for Meteor Lake, which according to the patches thus far show these integrated graphics to boast similar capabilities to DG2/Alchemist Arc Graphics. One of the other differences to come with MTL is more of a separate of its media engine. Patches posted by Intel engineers yesterday spell it out:
Starting with [Meteor Lake], media functionality has moved into a new, second GT at the hardware level. This new GT, referred to as "standalone media" in the spec, has its own GuC, power management/forcewake, etc. The general non-engine GT registers for standalone media start at 0x380000, but otherwise use the same MMIO offsets as the primary GT.

Standalone media has a lot of similarity to the remote tiles present on platforms like [Xe HP Software Development Vehicle] and [Ponte Vecchio], and our i915 [kernel graphics driver] implementation can share much of the general "multi GT" infrastructure between the two types of platforms.

There are 8 patches so far beginning to prepare the the Intel Linux kernel graphics driver for this standalone media with Meteor Lake. Expect for the Linux kernel changes around Meteor Lake to continue flowing upstream over the next several months in preparation for these Intel client CPUs expected to ship by the end of next year. It will be interesting to see if this standalone design will be used for any iGPU-less MTL processors or for perhaps allowing the doubling of media engines on select SKUs or other more adaptable configurations.
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