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Google's Into Intel Gallium3D For Chromium OS?

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  • Google's Into Intel Gallium3D For Chromium OS?

    Phoronix: Google's Into Intel Gallium3D For Chromium OS?

    The open-source developers working on the drivers for AMD/ATI Radeon and NVIDIA (via the Nouveau project) graphics hardware have tossed all their weight behind the Gallium3D driver architecture. The Gallium3D drivers have surpassed the "classic" Mesa DRI drivers in terms of capabilities, performance, and stability. The only strong holdout to Gallium3D has been Intel since they aren't convinced that it's the appropriate choice and they aren't interested in overhauling their Linux driver stack once more with the large upfront investment that's required in rewriting their user-space 3D driver in moving from classic Mesa to Gallium3D...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=OTU5NA

  • #2
    I doubt Google will pressure Intel to do anything -- they're both giant troll-sized companies. What might happen though is that Google engineers (such as Marchesin) will continue contributing to i915g, shaping it up to be a more viable competitor to i915c. This can only be a good thing!

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    • #3
      I doubt Google will pressure Intel to do anything
      They are actually are in a position to put considerable pressure on Intel.

      Real business pressure. Not the sort of fake 'community' pressure Linux users think they have over Intel or Nvidia or whatever.

      If Chromium OS becomes popular then when Google releases new development/prototype hardware they will have large influence on the hardware choices that ODMs will use.

      ODMs are the actual device manufacturers. OEMs purchase hardware from ODMs.

      ODMs specialize in factory production. They have very little expertise in hardware design and software development.

      When they manufacture devices they just copy other people's designs.

      This comes in the form of Prototype devices that are produced by chipset manufacturers. The chipset manufacturers produce prototype boards and do the initial software support to get Linux support for their prototypes. ODMs refine the design and produce much cheaper mass production versions of those prototypes.

      If Google chooses to use AMD hardware for their prototype devices (say because they need the additional API support and performance provided by Gallium for better browser performance) then that will cause ODMs to produce AMD devices, which will be what OEMs purchase and rebadge as their own and sell to consumers.

      prototype design (demo, high cost devices) ---> ODMs refine designs and produce notebooks for the mass market ---> OEMs badge ODM hardware and sell it to the public.

      Right now Google is using Intel devices because of good hardware support and superior watt/performance that Intel mobile hardware offers. But AMD is looking for a way to break into this market.

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      • #4
        Galium3D is cool and all that but what does this:
        ...when realizing he wasn't support to push this change...
        mean?

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        • #5
          i915 is old -ish hardware right????

          why would google invest resources to old hardware ???

          dave airlie said that its "easy" for intel to change to g3d (he also explained why but i don't remember and i am too lazy to search). why they don't do it is beyond my mind

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 89c51 View Post
            i915 is old -ish hardware right????

            why would google invest resources to old hardware ???

            dave airlie said that its "easy" for intel to change to g3d (he also explained why but i don't remember and i am too lazy to search). why they don't do it is beyond my mind
            Chromebook platform is Pineview based which had 3D based on 915 instead of 965. That hardware has no vertex shader hw in the GPU, so you have to do vertex shaders on the CPU. Currently the classic mesa driver does vertex shaders with some slow codegen, whereas gallium can leverage the llvm vertex shader paths and is sufficiently faster for google to care. For i965 hw this isn't going to work as a plan since they do vertex shading in hw, though with the original 965 rumour has it doing the vertex shader in CPU and leaving frag shader in hw is possibly faster, at least Intel Windows drivers may have done this.

            The main excuses Intel gives for not using gallium were about no rewriting their whole driver, but really they've nearly ended up rewriting it anyways for native GLSL frag shader and again for vertex shaders, so really regression testing needs to be in place anyways, and piglit is good at it.

            Dave.

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            • #7
              thanks a lot for the explanations

              hopefully they ll change their mind at some point

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              • #8
                Did anyone else notice the ebuilds in that push?

                Looks like he's a Gentoo user

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                • #9
                  Seems like Intel barely ever touches i915 driver anyway

                  They're focused almost entirely on the i965 driver now. So it could definitely make sense to look at i915g with the faster llvm based tnl available there.

                  Moving the i965 driver over to Gallium doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon, seeing as how Intel just overhauled the whole driver to an incompatible form.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Phoronix
                    There aren't any major Linux distributions shipping with the Intel Gallium3D driver, but it's more of just a "proof of concept" or alternative choice for those building their own Mesa stack.
                    Gentoo has enabled i915g/i965g in the default installation of Mesa for some time already. But the classic driver is the preset choice in eselect mesa. Switching to the Gallium3D driver (and back to classic) is just a matter of an eselect call.
                    Originally posted by FireBurn View Post
                    Did anyone else notice the ebuilds in that push?

                    Looks like he's a Gentoo user
                    That is because Chromium OS is based on Gentoo.

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