Linux 5.19 Looks Like It Will Be The Base Requirement For Intel Arc Graphics / Alchemist
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 26 April 2022 at 07:13 AM EDT. 1 Comment
INTEL --
While Intel launched the Arc A-Series Mobile Graphics at the end of Q1, so far at least in major US markets no laptops with these graphics are currently available. As such it's hard to assess the current Linux driver support level and with no clear communication from Intel on the matter. Intel has been working on their upstream DG2/Alchemist support for a while but it looks like with the Linux 5.19 kernel this summer is what will likely be their base version requirement for the DG2/Alchemist-based Intel GPUs.

Intel's open-source engineers have been working hard on the DG2/Alchemist Linux driver support for a while and have been making much progress, going back to their earlier work on DG1 and other underlying Intel Linux graphics driver changes in adapting the code from previously always being able to assume it was for integrated graphics to now having to extend that to support dedicated graphics processors with discrete video memory, among many other changes. It's been a huge undertaking but they have been working on the enablement well ahead of launch and it's continued for bringing up the many new features of Arc Graphics.

Due to the massive work in enabling discrete GPU support and getting things going, the enablement has dragged on -- the Arc Graphics launch delays have been of benefit at least for allowing more time for the driver developers. It's looking like for the Linux 5.19 cycle this summer everything may be buttoned up where this would be the kernel with decent out-of-the-box support for the initial Arc Graphics Alchemist-based devices.

As reported earlier this month, only out now in patch form likely for Linux 5.19 is enabling of DG2 compute support for the Linux driver.


The other sign of Linux 5.19 likely being the point of a stable DG2 starting point is the production PCI IDs now all set to finally be mainlined. Intel has been carrying all the DG2 and Arctic Sound M (ATS-M) PCI IDs just in a code branch for their continuous integration (CI) systems for testing and not in the mainline kernel. But now that they have the necessary user-space API changes complete to "unblock upstreaming the initial subset (which correspond to "motherboard down" designs)" they are preparing to submit those PCI device IDs to the mainline Linux kernel driver code.

There still are some additional PCI IDs just being carried in their CI branch for now until other functionality lands for those yet-to-be-finalized devices.

Those patches adding the DG2 PCI IDs for upstream were sent out this week for review. Given the timing we'll likely see it hit DRM-Next in time for making the Linux 5.19 merge window at the end of May. The Linux 5.19 stable kernel will then be out likely about the start of August. In turn Linux 5.19 is what will likely be used by the likes of Ubuntu 22.10 this autumn.

So at this point it's looking like Linux 5.19 will be the base version for good Intel Arc DG2/Alchemist support ahead of the hardware shipping in the months to come. On the Mesa side, Mesa 22.0+ seems to tentatively be in good shape for the discrete Intel hardware. Of course, once getting my hands on Arc Graphics hardware will be able to tell more definitively and how the performance and functionality is under Linux. In general though with new graphics hardware I always recommend running as new of a kernel and Mesa driver stack as possible. At least by the time of autumn Linux distributions (or sooner for rolling-release distributions) there should be good support for Intel Arc Graphics while we'll see how that timing plays out against the discrete graphics cards shipping at scale.
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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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