Mesa Shader Compiler Cache Proposed, Reduces Game Start Times
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 2 June 2014 at 02:04 PM EDT. 25 Comments
Similar to functionality offered by other drivers, Mesa might finally have a shader compiler cache to save compiled GLSL shaders to the disk in an effort to reduce the start-up time for modern Linux games.

Tapani Pälli of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center sent out the initial set of 20 patches that would implement a shader compiler cache for enhancing the open-source gaming experience with Mesa/Gallium3D drivers.

Tapani wrote, "This series provides a disk cache for the shader compiler and is used to 'skip glLinkProgram' like GL_ARB_get_program_binary does but under the hood without api for the client...With the series I get 50% improvement for L4D2 startup (goes down from 30s to ~15s) This is the time after startup video to menu screen. With some other apps the improvement varies a lot (as example I measured ~10% improvement with GLBenchmark 2.7)."

The Mesa shader compiler cache patch-set can be found for now on the Mesa-dev list but hopefully it will be mature in time for the Mesa 10.3 release in three months.
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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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