Intel Slips Battlemage Support And Power-Saving Features Into Linux 6.11

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"The year of the Linux desktop" is a long-standing meme among PC enthusiasts, but thanks to controversial decisions by Microsoft, continual development effort from Linux lovers, and the massive success of Valve's Steam Deck, Linux is seeing greater adoption than ever among consumer PC users.

Intel has had excellent software support in Linux for a long time, and that extends particularly to its graphics hardware, which has historically had even better drivers in Linux than in Windows. The company already shipped support for the Xe2 graphics in Lunar Lake, but Phoronix is now reporting that Intel has pushed patches "focused on enabling the Xe2-based Battlemage discrete GPUs."

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Intel says that Xe2 represents a huge leap in efficiency over the original recipe.

Yes, indeed—contrary to reports from certain circles, Arc is not canceled, and Battlemage is very real. That's the codename for Intel's second-generation Arc discrete graphics based on the very same Xe2 architecture that will power Lunar Lake in a few weeks. Where the original Xe architecture was forked into many variants for different market segments, Intel has told us that Xe2 is going to be applied universally, meaning that the Xe2 GPU in Lunar Lake will simply be a smaller form of what gets sold as Battlemage.

This is smart, as it's the exact same thing that AMD and NVIDIA already do for their own consumer hardware. Both teams green and red ship significantly modified designs for datacenter, and it's likely that Intel will do the same, but as far as consumer hardware goes, it's normally one architecture at a time. Kudos to Intel for seriously simplifying its product stack, then.

intel i915 linux 611 patch notes

The actual changes in the Intel graphics driver for Linux v6.11 are quite sizable, and include a lot of refactoring, cleanups, and fixes. However, the really exciting stuff has do to with Xe2, both for Battlemage and Lunar Lake. In addition to supporting display output on Battlemage, the i915 driver update also adds support for Panel Replay and Content-Matched Refresh Rate. These features will have been present for some time on Windows, but having them available on Linux could be critical if someone decides to make a Lunar Lake-based laptop or handheld sporting SteamOS or a similar Linux distribution.

You can head over to this link to view the patch notes, or head over to Phoronix to read site founder Michael Larabel's thoughts on the topic.