Intel Brings ETC Texture Compression To The Desktop
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 14 January 2014 at 11:04 AM EST. 1 Comment
Intel Broadwell is bringing support for OpenGL ETC texture compression and it's already supported by the latest Mesa graphics driver code.

Ericsson Texture Compression (ETC) has been popular in the mobile space with ETC1 having been part of OpenGL ES and ETC2/EAC being mandated by OpenGL ES 3.0 and OpenGL 4.3. ETC is much more friendly to open-source enthusiasts than S3 Texture Compression (S3TC) and there's already mainline Mesa support.

The good news discovered in monitoring the Mesa Git activity is that there's native ETC texture support on Broadwell. Up to now the only Intel hardware with ETC support was Intel's new "Bay Trail" Atom SoC. Broadwell with "Gen8" Intel graphics is the first time we're seeing this texture compression method offered natively on the desktop.

With ETC being part of the OpenGL 4.3 specification, it will be interesting to see if Broadwell is fully OpenGL 4.3 (or even GL 4.4) compliant. Haswell is OpenGL 4.2 capable but right now the Intel Linux Mesa driver is limited to OpenGL 3.3 compliance with some OpenGL 4 extensions.

Broadwell graphics should be amazing and Intel's open-source developers have already been working on the Linux driver support for months. I'm very excited to see Intel Broadwell CPUs surface in the months ahead.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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