Phoronix: Major Linux 2.6.34 Kernel GPU DRM Updates
There's already quite a bit of code that has been merged into the Linus 2.6 Git tree for the Linux 2.6.34 kernel tree, but the first pull request for the DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) code has went in this morning. As was mentioned last week, the "vga_switcheroo" that allows for dual GPU switching / hybrid graphics support on some notebook computers is now being pushed into the mainline kernel. This support isn't as polished as what can be found on Windows Vista/7 with real-time switching, but for now on Linux the X.Org Server needs to be restarted when switching between the graphics processors...
I found a really interesting thing that might relate to sandy bridge. If they got the gpu/cpu link working better in it than in the previous version. If they did and that gpu goes 1400 mhz it looks like it could hit a good 6 or 7 gTex/s which is 3d playable for most lower end games.
I've seen bits and pieces here and there about switchable graphics support, but I haven't actually been able to figure out *how* you switch between integrated/discreet. Is it something that will be managed automatically?
Right now I believe the procedure for switching is "stop X, run a little switcheroo program, start X", and then only for specific hardware combinations. In general, the only reliable way to use switchable graphics on Linux today is to use BIOS options to enable one or the other graphics system. If you are buying a switchable graphics system for use with Linux, checking for the existence of a BIOS option for selecting (typically integrated OR discrete OR switchable) is a good idea.
Words can not describe my loathing of the one-minute edit rule but I am going to try anyways.