17 Years Later: Intel 865 Chipset Seeing FBC Enabled On Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 29 April 2020 at 07:28 AM EDT. 15 Comments
If you are still running any pre-Sandybridge Intel hardware, you should really consider upgrading to modern hardware for the performance and efficiency gains... But should you still be tied to an old i865-based system, there is an improvement coming in 2020 for Linux users.

The Intel 865 "Springdale" chipset came in 2003 with Intel Extreme Graphics 2. While the OpenGL 1.3 era hardware will have a tough time running any modern workloads or even composited desktops, just this week frame-buffer compression (FBC) support for i865 was sent out for the Linux kernel.

Yes, really. As part of a set of patches containing FBC fixes, enabling FBC was flipped on for vintage Springdale systems.

The i865 enablement patch notes, "Unlike all the other pre-[Sandybridge] desktop platforms i865 actually supports FBC. Let's enable it."

Frame-buffer compression is used for performance and power efficiency advantages by reducing memory bandwidth needed for screen refreshes. While this FBC support for Springdale is long overdue, for years the Intel Linux display driver did struggle in enabling FBC by default due to various bugs. That was finally ironed out in recent years for BroadwelL~Skylake and newer.

Other work in that FBC patch series includes fixes for Geminilake, tightening up the compression interval, and other general fixes around frame-buffer compression for the Intel Linux kernel driver.

These FBC fixes will likely end up being integrated into the Linux 5.8 kernel this summer.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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