hybrid graphics

Albert Vilella avilella at gmail.com
Mon Jul 6 05:34:32 PDT 2009


I want to give an update on the information we have compiled from different
laptops with hybrid graphics configuration:


We classified them in 4 different configurations:

   - Intel <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel> graphics
shared main memory +
   Nvidia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia> graphics card (e.g. Sony
   Vaio <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VAIO> Z-series)
   - Nvidia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia> processor with shared main
   memory + Nvidia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia> high-end processor
   (e.g. Acer Aspire 7530, also Macbook
Pro<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macbook_Pro>late 2008/early 2009)
   - Intel <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel> graphics processor with
   shared main memory + ATI <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATI> graphics card
   (e.g. Lenovo T400 or Acer Timeline 4810T)
   - ATI <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATI> processor with shared main
   memory + ATI <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATI> high-end processor (e.g.
   MSI PX211)

Currently there is no implementation for hot switching the GPU (dynamic GPU
switching). The biggest limitation seems to be the available
BIOS<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIOS>information in current systems.
The best known system today is the Sony Vaio
Z-series laptop, and there is an updated sony-laptop module with partial GPU
switching capabilities. In Windows
the user can switch freely between configurations or set up a profile to do
so automatically (e.g. when on battery use low power processor and when
plugged in use the more powerful processor).

The wikipedia link above contains a table compiling DSDT table dumps for
systems that have a hybrid graphics configuration. This is being filled by
more and more users for different laptop models. I hope this is useful
enough for developers interested in developing hybrid graphics features in
Linux, let me know what else would be interesting to compile.

Although it's still difficult for the Xorg developers to be able to
contribute with new code, I think it's worth to explain the situation in
this list, so that people is aware that these hybrid graphics systems are
common and there is some DSDT info to start investigating.


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