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I have difficulty getting hardware accelaration to work properly with my integrated Intel 5500 graphics even with the use of newer drivers.

I'm using a stable version of Debian 8 / Jessie (with the stock 3.16.0-4-amd64 kernel) on a Thinkpad T450s.

I know that Debian 8 doesn't support the Broadwell chips out of the box, so I installed xserver-xorg-video-intel from the backports. Things looked bright at first... I have hardware acceleration working, however this has made the system unstable. Occasionally, videos will stutter, Gnome may crash, or Gnome even completely hangs and prevents me from taking any action any more.

Most of the time there is no real issue, and the above mentioned problems happen about once every 2 days.

I've tried seeing if there is an improvement after a configuration change by creating a configuration file in the following location: /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf. The configuration files reads as follows:

Section "Device"
   Identifier  "Intel Graphics"
   Driver      "intel"
   Option      "AccelMethod"  "uxa"
EndSection

The problem persists with or without the above configuration change.

Any suggestions on how to deal with this?

UPDATE:

I've been using the 4.5.1-1~bpo8+1 backported kernel now for about 2 weeks, as suggested in an answer. It has improved the situation in part, but errors persist.

The problem now is that, at times, the system stutters and appears to hang for 1 second to 1 minute, on occasion. This happens about once or twice during a day of 7 + hours of use. This is an improvement over the previous problem of a full system hang. Now, I can wait out the temporary hang, then restart the computer without losing any ongoing work. I haven't been able to figure out what causes or triggers this issue.

Further suggestions welcome.

  • Are there any messages in the kernel logs? Stalls should be traced... (See dmesg's output.) – Stephen Kitt May 25 '16 at 12:54
  • The kernel log seems to be OK save for these lines: [69200.685346] thinkpad_ec: thinkpad_ec_request_row: arg0 rejected: (0x01:0x00)->0x00 [69200.685349] thinkpad_ec: thinkpad_ec_read_row: failed requesting row: (0x01:0x00)->0xfffffffb [69200.685350] thinkpad_ec: initial ec test failed [69200.775121] thinkpad_acpi: EC reports that Thermal Table has changed – thisthatother Jun 6 '16 at 20:17
  • Is there some particular things I should keep an eye out in terms of errors in the various logs? xorg.0.log shows no errors. Warnings are: (WW) Falling back to old probe method for modesetting (WW) Falling back to old probe method for fbdev (WW) Falling back to old probe method for vesa – thisthatother Jun 6 '16 at 20:24
  • The error/bug is strange. I'll have a system that runs just fine for a couple of days then it will stall very regularly for a couple of days, then back to fine and so on. I can't discern a pattern. I noticed that the screen brightness control is always acting up, however, in that changing brightness will stall video while an incremental change in brightness is taking place. – thisthatother Jun 6 '16 at 20:27
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Since you've already enabled backports, I'd suggest trying the latest backported kernel, 4.5.1-1~bpo8+1 as of this writing. The kernel's Intel GPU driver has been vastly improved since 3.16, and should be much more stable.

  • I'm testing out your suggestion now, Stephen. If anyone else intends to upgrade to a newer kernel on Debian, it's possible/probable that your wireless/wifi won't work. In that case, I upgraded my firmware-iwlwifi package to the latest backport/bpo to fix the wifi issue. I'm now testing the graphics hardware acceleration over the course of time... – thisthatother May 12 '16 at 8:53
  • I've updated the question with new details. The issue is not as severe as before following the kernel update, but problems persist. – thisthatother May 25 '16 at 11:48
  • UPDATE: This problem has now been fixed. The above answer did not quite work for me until after an apt-get upgrade. Following the upgrade, all issues that I had with stalls were fixed (tested for 2 days before this confirmation message has been posted). – thisthatother Jun 9 '16 at 17:03
  • That's good to know! Did your apt-get upgrade by any chance upgrade the kernel to 4.5.4? – Stephen Kitt Jun 9 '16 at 19:22
  • Yes, it did update the kernel to 4.5.4. – thisthatother Jun 12 '16 at 8:42

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