Intel, AMD, NVIDIA Working To Reduce OpenGL Overhead
Written by Michael Larabel in Standards on 26 February 2014 at 02:01 PM EST. 45 Comments
Key OpenGL engineers from Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA will be presenting next month at the 2014 Game Developers Conference about reducing driver overhead with OpenGL.

One of the interesting GDC 2014 presentations is Approaching Zero Driver Overhead in OpenGL. "Driver overhead has been a frustrating reality for game developers for the entire life of the PC game industry. On desktop systems, driver overhead can decrease frame rate, while on mobile devices driver overhead is more insidious--robbing both battery life and frame rate. In this unprecedented sponsored session, Graham Sellers (AMD), Tim Foley (Intel), Cass Everitt (NVIDIA) and John McDonald (NVIDIA) will present high-level concepts available in today's OpenGL implementations that radically reduce driver overhead--by up to 10x or more. The techniques presented will apply to all major vendors and are suitable for use across multiple platforms. Additionally, they will demonstrate practical demos of the techniques in action in an extensible, open source comparison framework."

This should be interesting to hear about their concepts for reducing driver overhead by up to ten times or more, and certainly very relevant to Linux gamers. It's also interesting since for months now AMD has been pushing their Mantle graphics API that with their Windows driver has lower overhead than OpenGL and allegedly faster performance, but there's still no AMD Mantle Linux driver nor even many games in the Windows space currently relying upon a Mantle renderer. It's been previously expressed that some concepts of AMD's Mantle might be able to be folded back into OpenGL as future extensions. We'll find out in just about four weeks what Intel/AMD/NVIDIA are doing to combat OpenGL driver overhead with an increasing number of games using OpenGL instead of Direct3D for working towards Linux/SteamOS compatibility.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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