NVIDIA 15 Times Faster?

I came across a link to this article in the SL Forum: NVIDIA, AMD, Intel Explain How OpenGL Can Unlock 15x Performance Gains. That means if you are getting 20 FPS you should jump to 300 FPS.

The long version is the video and it is way techy:

So, what are they saying? Loosely… They are creating sides of the render process that are not locked together. This means the CPU and GPU are mostly never waiting on each other. As it is now, single note pads (large blocks of memory} are being cleared, being drawn to by a single process to build up images, then used, and erased with the process starting over. Multiple processes need multiple note pads. The next process can’t use the resources until the preceding processes release the resources/note pads. The memory that makes up the note pads has to be moved around.

The newer idea is to change how processes work so they can be writing to and changing the buffer at the same time without waiting or a need to erase the buffer. Plus the buffer doesn’t need to move around.

The take away is that using the new ideas and features in OpenGL results in far fewer waits, less work, allows more things to be done at once, and more activities combined to run in parallel. The result is a huge gain in OpenGL render performance.

So, will these ideas be useable in Second Life? Probably. Will the Lab adopt them? Probably. When we will see the boost in performance? No clue. But, I would say not any time soon.

If I assume the Lab is just hearing about this at the GDC meet up, then it will likely be a year or more before it starts coming out the other end of the tube. But, that is pure speculation on my part.

Will a third party add it? I suppose there is a chance. But, most third party developers do not have people with experience in render engines. That is a part of the viewer few developers mess with. Even the Lab only has a small number of people that know render engines. So, I’m not hopeful that third parties will get out front on this issue. But, they may surprise us.

Apparently the biggest gains will be in the Android operating systems. That would be nice. But, it has potential for desktop games too.

If the Lab does change the engine to use the new techniques, the upgrade in performance would allow them to add more features that would currently drag the system down to unacceptable levels. So, I expect they will be interested. But, with a new CEO a project of this scope won’t start without his blessing. I doubt he will be starting any new massive projects until he has more of an idea of what SL is and where he wants to take it.

11 thoughts on “NVIDIA 15 Times Faster?

  1. Well, now that Steam machines will all run using OpenGL, they surely willimprove the API a lot. Even more taking into account the new improvements in Mantle or the upcuming DX12. So OpenGL cant stand behind in the race.

    The improvement will appear somewhat soon as it is really needed now that Steam machines started and all new render engines like Unreal 4 and Unity 5 are cross-platform and OpenGL compatible.

    As for LL improving that in the viewer… I guess it may depend right? They keep working on the shiny fixes that have already improved a lot the performance. If it comes that this new updates doesnt requires so much workaround to adapt to any project using OpenGL already, then we could have them sooner than we expect. But again, with LL, one never knows. We can just hope for this to happen pretty soon. We could see a large improvement that is REALLY needed nowday.

    About third party viewers using it… this sounds a bit beyond of their capabilities. I wouldnt be surprised if Singularity or Exodus gets it as the developers always worked hard in those aspects. We will see, we will see… 🙂

  2. I have no faith in this ever arriving on SL in the next decade. No 64bit viewer yet, no support for anything higher than OpenGL 2.1 on a mac. It would appear the biggest innovations will come from sources that offer them to LL on a shiny plate.

    • You sound pessimistic. LL is laying the groundwork for a 64 bit viewer. But, the stats Oz has related show the major gains are in simply running the 32-bit viewer in a 64-bit OS. So, their choice to focus on other projects seems reasonable to me.

  3. It’s slow in coming for the simple reason, bigger numbers aren’t automatically better. A 64bit viewer offers nothing over a 32bit viewer in terms of performance, but it does feel better .. the same as buying ram with red heatsinks.

    64bit presents some problems of its own. the viewer becomes more tolerant to certain types of bug. Where as a 32 bit version would crash, the 64 bit just gobbles up more and more memory and keeps running. This makes it much harder to find and fix problems. This is also why all viewers are more reliable on 64bit operating systems.

    It is desirable to actually find and fix problems. Crashes, especially reproducible ones are extremely useful to developers.

    As for Mac .. If OpenGL developers were hens teeth, Mac devs are chicken nipples. .. Mac OpenGL developers, that’s just crazy talk.

  4. Pingback: GDC News: OpenGL bald bis zu 15 mal schneller? (Post-27533) - Old London Docks

  5. There have been highly optimized drivers around for the PRO versions of the nVidia cards, so I wonder if they just moved that stuff into the regular drivers by now, as the competitors come closer.

    • I have no idea.

      But, I suspect whatever is in a driver, the game designer has to do something to take advantage of it. And, what I got from the discussion is there is a paradigm shift in how the image rendering buffers are used. This suggests to me that some part of the SL render engine would need to change.

  6. And about 64bit … I don’t care if the client is more stables because the bugs just eat more memory and break the client way later than on a 32 bit. Stable client is stable. That’s what matters for me. If it eats the 16GB in my PC, so be it. As long as it doesn’t stop running or stop other apps from running well I am all ok. SURE bugs should get fixed. But during a fashion show in SL, when taking photos, I don’t care WHY I can still take photos and do not crash.

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