Nouveau Updates Submitted For Linux 4.16, Bringing GP108 & Kepler Clock Gating

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 9 February 2018 at 06:49 AM EST. Add A Comment
Last week the big DRM feature update for Linux 4.16 was sent in that included many AMDGPU updates, AMDKFD HSA updates, better Intel Cannonlake graphics support, Jetson TX2 display support, MSM DEVFREQ handling, and much more. But missing were any open-source NVIDIA "Nouveau" driver changes. There is now a secondary DRM pull request with Nouveau updates.

When there weren't any Nouveau changes for last week's pull request and no new material staged in DRM-Next it looked like this reverse-engineered NVIDIA graphics driver wouldn't see any improvements until Linux 4.17. While Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem maintainer David Airlie is usually strict about cutting off new feature material well before the previous kernel's release, this time around he allowed a late queue of Nouveau changes that have now been mailed off to Linus Torvalds.

David Airlie submitted a "part 2" of DRM work for Linux 4.16-rc1. There are fixes for Intel and AMDGPU while the meat of this PR is the Nouveau changes. The Nouveau changes aren't overly huge but do include some new functionality.

The GP108 GPU now has accelerated support following the necessary "secure boot" changes to allow for compatibility with NVIDIA's signed firmware bits. The GP108 is the low-end Pascal GPU notably used by the GeForce GT 1030 series.

The GT 1030 / GP108 can make for some nice, affordable, passively-cooled graphics cards and now you can use them with Nouveau for acceleration. There is no Pascal re-clocking with Nouveau yet so performance will be slow, but at least when re-clocking begins to be hacked on, with the passively-cooled GPU models you don't need to worry about working fan management code.

The other feature work to talk about with for Nouveau in Linux 4.16 is Kepler clock-gating support. This is the code recently worked on by Lyude Paul at Red Hat. This allows for easy power-savings with Nouveau and currently is just for GeForce 600 / 700 "Kepler" graphics cards but Fermi and other hardware might be supported in future kernel releases.

Aside from that you can see the complete list of changes via this mailing list post.
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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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