ApiTrace 2.0 Brings OpenGL 4.2, Faster Performance
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 28 September 2011 at 03:50 AM EDT. 3 Comments
Earlier this year Zack Rusin introduced ApiTrace as a new way to debug graphics drivers and other areas of the graphics stack. ApiTrace is an open-source utility that allows capturing DirectX/OpenGL API calls and to analyze them later on in a step-by-step manner. There's also other features like real-time editing of shaders and making other tweaks to how the calls are executed. ApiTrace even has a nice GUI too. Zack has now announced ApiTrace 2.0 and it makes this very useful graphics utility even much better.

ApiTrace 2.0 is now roughly 10x faster at tracing and about 2x faster at re-tracing. Another performance improvement is support for multi-gigabyte traces to be dealt with from the ApiTrace GUI. Other features include Mac OS X support, OpenGL 4.2 support, and the ability to display all of the uniforms. There's also some other items too like snhowing number of calls per frame, making large frames, and support for a few specialized "Gremedy" extensions.

Some of the performance improvements come from better flushing/syncing the trace files and using Snappy compression rather than Zlib. ApiTrace is now also doing seek and load on demand from the compressed disk files, so the entire file doesn't need to be loaded at once.

From Zack's blog post announcement, "All of those improvements mean that it's possible to trace and debug huge applications with little to no costs. It's quite amazing. In fact working with graphics and not using ApiTrace starting now is going to be classified as abuse."
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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