Working Around “[drm] stuck on render ring” on Intel GMA

After acquiring a Broadwell generation Core i3 NUC (the NUC5i3RYK to be exact) and installing Linux, KDE/X.Org would lockup and crash frequently. Checking dmesg, the following messages appeared:

[drm] stuck on render ring
[drm] GPU HANG:…

From the dmesg report, it is clear the crashes were caused by the GPU hanging. After further inspection of the dmesg logs, it appears this is due to a bug between Intel’s graphics and IOMMU drivers. The easiest way to work around this is to disable Intel IOMMU support.

Since I had compiled IOMMU support into my kernel, removing IOMMU support involved a kernel recompile. When configuring your kernel using menuconfig, make sure that “Support for Intel IOMMU using DMA Remapping Devices” under “Device Drivers > IOMMU Hardware Support” is unchecked. This is equivalent to ensuring that INTEL_MMU = n in your .config file. For the NUC, that was all that was required to keep the GPU driver from crashing and taking X.Org and KDE down with it.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

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