Intel Tiger Lake Gen12/Xe Graphics Driver Support Considered Stable With Linux 5.7
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 14 March 2020 at 10:21 AM EDT. Add A Comment
INTEL --
Over the past year we have seen a steady flow of Intel Tiger Lake "Gen12" graphics enablement for the Linux kernel, their first generation also adopting the Xe Graphics branding as part of their discrete GPU initiative. With the Linux 5.7 kernel this spring will be the first release where the Gen12 graphics support is there by default as a sign of stability.

While a lot of Tiger Lake enablement work on the graphics side has flown into recent kernel releases, it hasn't been exposed by default. Only if running i915.force_probe= as a Linux kernel parameter has that Gen12 graphics support been exposed. But with Linux 5.7, that flag will no longer be needed.


With much of the Gen12 graphics code in place and Intel internally running multiple Tiger Lake systems as part of their continuous integration infrastructure, they are comfortable enough with the state of the code starting in Linux 5.7 that the support is effectively ready to be there out-of-the-box.


Note that this is just Tiger Lake PCI IDs being cleared and doesn't appear to host any discrete Xe graphics cards at this time. We've seen Intel dGPU work happening for their open-source driver stack but that portion doesn't appear quite ready yet at least from public indicators.

The stabilizing of Tiger Lake graphics was done as part of drm-intel-next for 13 March that also includes various Gen11 workarounds for Ice Lake and Elkhart Lake plus GVT virtualization improvements and other code clean-ups. It's not to say we won't see more workarounds and other Gen12 features coming to post-5.7 kernels, but Linux 5.7 appears to now be the base point for Tiger Lake support expectations on Linux.

Tiger Lake 10nm++ CPUs are expected to begin appearing in late 2020 on the mobile front. Besides the Gen12 graphics there are Willow Cove CPU cores, PCI Express 4.0, Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 connectivity, LPDDR5 memory, and other improvements expected. The Linux 5.7 kernel will see its merge window happen around the start of April and should be introduced as stable around June. Linux 5.7 (or likely Linux 5.8) in turn is what will be found in various autumn Linux distribution updates like Ubuntu 20.10 and Fedora Workstation 33 for ensuring a nice out-of-the-box Intel Tiger Lake experience.
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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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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