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Linux Patch Triggers iGPU vs. dGPU Debate

Obanla Opeyemi

September 8, 2022 - TuxCare expert team

Kai-Heng Feng released a patch on Tuesday that allows users’ laptops to switch their external monitor connections to be routed via a laptop’s discrete GPU rather the integrated GPU.

A Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is a single-chip processor primarily used to manage and enhance the performance of video and graphics. A GPU is specifically designed to process graphic information such as geometry, color, shading, and textures of an image.

Although Feng’s patch has been criticized by some developers, it is believed that Feng’s patch, which works on mobile workstations such as the HP ZBook G8, can allow external monitor connections to be routed through the discrete GPU rather than through the built-in Intel graphics, ultimately providing space for more monitors to be supported.

Among the biggest critics of Feng’s approach are Lyude Paul of Red Hat and Karol Herbst of Red Hat.

According to Lyude Paul, the HP ZBook and similar notebooks tend to rely on NVIDIA graphics for their dedicated GPU. However, the use of Feng’s Nouveau driver forces external displays to use the Nouveau-powered GPU, which reduces performance due to the current re-clocking limitations.

In his review, Karol Herbst of Red Hat explained that the forced discrete use of GPU for external displays could lead to an increased thermal/power pressure.

Although Feng believes that his approach provides a better experience for users, its use affects the support of the Nouveau driver for booting the clock frequencies. However, his approach could offer significant benefits if it is revised to improve its logic or used as an optional change.

The sources for this piece include an article in PHORONIX.

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