Intel Brings ETC Texture Compression To The Desktop
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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