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The Extraordinary DRM Pull Request For Linux 3.11

Linux Kernel

Published on 09 July 2013 12:52 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
17 Comments

David Airlie has submitted the DRM subsystem pull request for the Linux 3.11 kernel that is of monster size. The Radeon DRM kernel driver is now perhaps the single biggest Linux kernel driver by code size after the merging of its huge dynamic power management code addition.

For those not following the flurry of Phoronix articles in recent days/weeks about all of the Direct Rendering Manager improvements for Linux 3.11, they include:

- The AMD Radeon driver finally has dynamic power management support! For Radeon GPUs the core clock and memory clocks will dynamically adjust (along with the voltages) based upon load, this works for multi-monitor configurations, and it's at near feature parity to what's provided by PowerPlay and the features in the AMD Catalyst driver. This is a big win for saving on power/battery when using the open-source Radeon Linux driver along with offering better performance for newer GPUs that have a boot clock speed that's lower than their rated frequencies. This support goes back to Radeon HD 2000 (R600) GPUs but is currently not enabled by default but requires setting radeon.dpm=1.

- The AMD Radeon HD 8000 "Sea Islands" support for the open-source driver. AMD hasn't yet released their GCN 2.0 hardware, but there's early support within the Linux 3.11 kernel. Patches have also been submitted for libdrm and the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver living in Mesa.

- There's a brand new DRM driver in the form of the Renesas R-Car display driver.

- Intel Haswell improvements for the latest-generation of Intel HD graphics on Linux. This includes support for the VECS engine and numerous other enhancements.

- Intel Valley View is now in good shape and stable. This is support for the forthcoming Intel Atom SoCs as part of the "Bay Trail" platform that now boasts in-house HD graphics (derived from Ivy Bridge) rather than the licensed Imagination PowerVR graphics cores. This open-source support has been baking for a while but now should be in great shape.

- There's some Nouveau driver changes with the most notable end-user-facing change being H.264 and MPEG-2 video decoding support via the VP2 engine on select NVIDIA GPUs. There's also some other updates, GF117 support, and GK110 open-source support with acceleration when using the external NVIDIA microcode blob. Sadly missing from this kernel is any re-clocking support.

- Samsung Exynos DRM updates and S3C64XX SoC series support.

- A few nice features have landed for the QXL DRM driver.

- The MGAG200 DRM driver now has G200 mode-limiting and hardware cursor support.

- PRIME support has come to the SHMOBILE DRM driver.

- Various fixes for the NVIDIA Tegra DRM driver.

The DRM pull request for Linux 3.11, which Linus has yet to respond to, can be found on the mailing list. With Phoronix being the leading source for Linux performance benchmarks, all of these new graphics driver updates will of course be benchmarked and well-tested soon enough.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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