AMD Is Expanding Power-Sharing SmartShift Support to Linux

AMD SmartShift
(Image credit: AMD)

As reported by Phoronix, AMD is focusing on expanding its SmartShift ecosystem to support operating systems beyond Windows 10. AMD has released two patches this week that continue adding support of SmartShift's features to the Linux ecosystem. That's excellent news for Linux buyers who want to use AMD's shiny new PowerShift notebooks.

SmartShift was released last year by AMD (with only one laptop, the G5 SE) as a way to further improve notebook performance and efficiency when using AMD CPUs and discrete GPUs together. The technology aims to turn both the CPU and GPU into one cohesive system, allowing both chips to dynamically share power depending on the workload at hand.

At Computex this year AMD showed off its second wave of SmartShift laptops (like the new ROG Strix G15 Advantage) based on the all-new RX 6000M GPUs and Ryzen 5000 mobile CPUs, plus new enhancements for the Smartshift technology. This aggressive push for SmartShift adoption shows us that AMD is really focused on bringing this technology out in full force. And the push to expand adoption to Linux users seems to be part of that, despite the fact that those users make up a part of the notebook segment.

Just a few days ago on May 30th, AMD released a patch to Linux which allowed support for SmartShift when a discrete Radeon GPU was detected in a notebook with SmartShift Support.

Today, another patch was released, further adding support for Smartshift's features. This patch exposes SmartShift's power-share info to the user-space via sysfs, meaning Linux can now monitor SmartShift's behavior and judge to see if the system is working as intended or not.

Another patch was released as well, adding controllability of SmartShift's power-sharing parameters to Linux, meaning the OS or possibly a user can control how much power goes to the CPU or the discrete GPU.

With all this effort, it seems AMD is preparing to make SmartShift a mainstream technology, with not only Linux support, but also a wide variety of notebook support coming in the not-so-distant future. Some serious questions remain, though, like when we'll see the tech in more than a handful of laptop models. 

And for those AMD-based models to expand, the company will need to assure its partners that it can pump out a substantial and consistent amount of its current-gen CPUs and brand-new mobile GPUs. In the current climate of high demand for desktop graphics cards, chip shortages, and TSMC's production pushed to its limits, the only thing certain seems to be uncertainty. 

Aaron Klotz
Freelance News Writer

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.