Flickering with page-flipping on Acer Iconia W500 (AMD C-50 APU)

Alex Deucher alexdeucher at gmail.com
Tue Feb 21 12:07:54 PST 2012

On Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 5:43 PM, Felix Kuehling <felix.kuehling at amd.com> wrote:
> Following up on my message from Jan 19, now with a lot more hard data and a
> less intrusive modification. Still a prototype though. CC-ing DRI-devel and
> Mario Kleiner for a larger audience.
> To recap, I was seeing consistent flickering with Mesa/KMS on Android on my
> Iconia Tab W500 tablet with an AMD C-50 APU. I was also noticing occasional
> flickering under Ubuntu on the same system when maximizing/restoring windows
> and releasing windows after moving them.
> I believe that flickering is related to page flipping and the associated
> notifications to user space. A small modification to the page flipping code
> in the Radeon driver made the problem disappear on both Ubuntu and Android.
> As I understand it, the page flip notification logic works as follows:
> Hardware issues vsync IRQ
> IRQ handler calls radeon_crtc_handle_flip
> radeon_crtc_handle_flip calls radeon_page_flip, which programs MMIO to flip
> pages and returns status whether the flip has been completed
> if flip has not been completed, radeon_crtc_handle_flip uses current scanout
> position to predict whether flip will complete in the current frame or not
> if flip is predicted to complete, signal user space, otherwise defer until
> next vsync IRQ
> The condition in step 4 needed a slight modification on my hardware. If the
> current scanout position is negative (inside vblank interval), the page flip
> will not complete until the next vsync on my hardware.
> I'm attaching two patches. radeon_flip_diag.diff adds some debug output to
> the kernel log that helped me understand the timing of VSync IRQs used for
> handling page-flips relative to the screen refresh in progress. It also
> measures the time it takes to program the page flip in MMIO in pixels
> scanned out (typically about 300 pixels, so relatively insignificant
> compared to the vertical refresh).
> On my system it turned out that the scanout position at the time
> radeon_crtc_handle_flip was called was somewhere between 798-800 and -2-0
> (the LVDS screen having 800 visible rows). I used an awk script (also
> attached) to compute some statistics. With the original condition almost no
> page flips were detected as deferred to the next vsync IRQ. With the
> modified condition about 50% page flips were completed immediately according
> to radeon_page_flip and of the remaining ones about 50% were correctly
> predicted to complete based on the scanout position. In total about 25% were
> deferred until the next vsync. These 25% must have been causing flickering
> with the original condition.
> radeon_flip_fix.diff shows the minor modification to the condition used to
> decide whether a page-flip has been completed or will complete in the
> current screen refresh.
> My conclusion is that on this particular hardware the condition that
> predicts page flip completion must be modified in order to avoid notifying
> user space of completed page flips prematurely.

The fix looks ok to me.  Mario any thoughts?

Reviewed-by: Alex Deucher <alexdeucher at gmail.com>

> Regards,
>   Felix
> --
>  _____    Felix Kuehling
>  \ _  |   MTS Software Development Eng.
>  /|_| |   SW-Linux Base Gfx | AMD
> |__/ \|   T 905.882.2600 x8928
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