TitaniumGL: A Faster Multi-Platform Graphics Driver Architecture?
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 9 March 2012. Page 4 of 4. 37 Comments

Tremulous was also strangely good on TitaniumGL compared to LLVMpipe and the NVIDIA binary driver.

When initially hearing about TitaniumGL for Linux this week and looking at the poorly-designed web-site with broken English, it looked like it looked like it would be of little use and even a worse performer than Gallium3D's LLVMpipe. However, after trying it out on the Core i7 notebook, the results were quite surprising. While the GPU hardware drivers were obviously the fastest, TitaniumGL was significantly faster than the de-facto software acceleration fallback: LLVMpipe. TitaniumGL was multiple times faster than LLVMpipe.

While TitaniumGL delivered better results than Mesa/Gallium3D LLVMpipe, it is not without its share of limitations. At present TitaniumGL is 32-bit only, which is unfortunate to see in 2012. Additionally, TitaniumGL only advertises OpenGL 1.4 support without OpenGL2 and GLSL, which is even worse off than the-slow-to-advance-in-OpenGL Mesa (there's almost OpenGL 3.0 compliance with LLVMpipe). Due to those limitations, TitaniumGL was just working with a small selection of Linux-native OpenGL games compared to Mesa/Gallium3D. On top of that, TitaniumGL is said to be only able to scale to four CPU cores now.

The other gripe that many Linux users will have with TitaniumGL is that while it is freeware, it is not open-source. TitaniumGL is just distributed as a compiled 32-bit libGL.so.1 as a drop-in replacement to the system's library. It is closed-source, and while it is free, it will launch a pop-up advertisement window in Firefox (that's the only browser it's supporting) whenever the library is used. The ad-free version costs three EUR.

It is also not clear whether this is completely true to "emulate the graphics card with CPU cores." While it appeared that way, when attempting to use TitaniumGL in conjunction with the VESA X.Org driver and other select configurations, the system became incredibly unstable when attempting to use OpenGL, ultimately crashing the X.Org Server. The results also seem just too good.

With these limitations, it unfortunately will not gain much traction in the Linux desktop community. It would be really nice if it were open-source so that it could be quicker to advance or for Mesa/Gallium3D developers to at least possibly gain some insight as to how TitaniumGL is able to outperform LLVMpipe by such a wide margin or ideas for optimization. If some of those performance improvements could be incorporated into Mesa/Gallium3D, this would be very significant. Additionally, any interested individuals could improve the TitaniumGL OpenGL support as well. To learn more visit this forum thread.

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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 20,000 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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