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A few months ago I installed Debian 10 on my laptop, I have already managed to use it regularly for my daily activities, so I am starting to customize my settings.

And started by validating the drivers that are installed for each component of my laptop. I have a Dell Inspiron 15-3567 laptop

According to the details of the specifications manual, the laptop has a 7th generation Intel Core I3 processor. Validate it through the command grep 'vendor_id' /proc/cpuinfo ; grep 'model name' /proc/cpuinfo ; grep 'cpu MHz' /proc/cpuinfo obtaining the following information:

vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
model name      : Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-7020U CPU @ 2.30GHz
model name      : Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-7020U CPU @ 2.30GHz
model name      : Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-7020U CPU @ 2.30GHz
model name      : Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-7020U CPU @ 2.30GHz
cpu MHz         : 600.002
cpu MHz         : 600.045
cpu MHz         : 600.082
cpu MHz         : 600.004

Then use the lspci command to see the PCI controller that the kernel had associated with the processor, finding the following:

diego@computer:~$ lspci -v
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v6/7th Gen Core Processor Host Bridge/DRAM Registers (rev 03)
        Subsystem: Dell Xeon E3-1200 v6/7th Gen Core Processor Host Bridge/DRAM Registers
        Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0
        Capabilities: <access denied>
        Kernel driver in use: skl_uncore

00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Device 5921 (rev 06) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
        Subsystem: Dell Device 078b
        Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 127
        Memory at d0000000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16M]
        Memory at c0000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=256M]
        I/O ports at f000 [size=64]
        [virtual] Expansion ROM at 000c0000 [disabled] [size=128K]
        Capabilities: <access denied>
        Kernel driver in use: i915
        Kernel modules: i915

00:04.0 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation Skylake Processor Thermal Subsystem (rev 03)
        Subsystem: Dell Xeon E3-1200 v5/E3-1500 v5/6th Gen Core Processor Thermal Subsystem
        Flags: fast devsel, IRQ 16
        Memory at d1320000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=32K]
        Capabilities: <access denied>
        Kernel driver in use: proc_thermal
        Kernel modules: processor_thermal_device

00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP USB 3.0 xHCI Controller (rev 21) (prog-if 30 [XHCI])
        Subsystem: Dell Sunrise Point-LP USB 3.0 xHCI Controller
        Flags: bus master, medium devsel, latency 0, IRQ 124
        Memory at d1310000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=64K]
        Capabilities: <access denied>
        Kernel driver in use: xhci_hcd
        Kernel modules: xhci_pci

The first detail that I observe is that the processor is recognized as an "Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v6 / 7th Gen Core Processor Host Bridge" which does not agree with what was obtained from the command grep 'model name' /proc/cpuinfo

My questions are about what would be the procedures for:

  1. How to find a controller associated with the type of processor my laptop really has (7th generation core i3).
  2. How to compare it with the driver that is currently installed
  3. If the driver I find is better, how should I change the driver?

So far I have found tutorials where they tell me how to know the drivers that are installed but not one where they tell me how I could change or optimize them to make the laptop more efficient.

Thanks for the answers.

2 Answers 2

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I believe the 'Host Bridge' that lspci is referring to is the PCI host bridge that connects the CPU to the PCI bus. I have a 3rd generation Core i5 and my host bridge description says:

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v2/3rd Gen Core processor DRAM Controller (rev 09)

I think what it means is that the host bridge is designed for use with the Xeon E3-1200, but it also happens to be compatible with the i3/i5, which is presumably why it is being used on the motherboard.

So, I don't think you have the 'wrong' PCI controller. It is a compatible PCI controller that just happens to be labelled with a description that refers to a different CPU.

Also, I would think that description information from lspci is most likely coming directly from the controller on the motherboard itself (i.e. a built-in chip), rather than from a driver. You are not going to be able to change that, as it is part of the motherboard.

Also, it is unlikely you would see any noticeable performance benefit from trying to optimize the driver for the PCI bus. Are you having any problems that suggest the PCI bus is not working correctly?

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To get the processor info you can use :

sudo dmidecode -t 4 |grep Version

or:

lscpu |grep "Model name:"

The update can be done by installing firmwares and microcodes from buster-backports.

See Getting microcode updates sooner using Debian backports , how to check the microcode version and updates.

Intel: How to update/install microcode downloaded from Intel site on Linux* Operating System.

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  • Thanks for the recommendation @GAD3R, until now I had not heard about microcode but at the moment I have no problems with the processor to the point that I need to update them, my question was more because I thought that the kernel was using an incorrect driver. Apr 2, 2020 at 5:59

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