RadeonSI ARB_sparse_buffer Lands For Mesa 17.1
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 5 April 2017 at 07:56 AM EDT. 7 Comments
AMD developer Nicolai Hähnle has landed ARB_sparse_buffer support within the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver. RadeonSI is the first Mesa/Gallium3D driver supporting this OpenGL extension.

ARB_sparse_buffer is basically about allowing applications/games to have large objects without it being entirely in GPU video memory at once. As explained via the OpenGL registry, "The ARB_sparse_texture extension adds to GL a mechanism to decouple the virtual and physical storage requirements of textures and allows an application to create partially populated textures that would over-subscribe available graphics memory if made fully resident. This extension provides like functionality for buffer objects, allowing applications to manage buffer object storage in a similar manner."

ARB_sparse_buffer in RadeonSI will only work with Sea Islands hardware and newer. Additionally, this functionality relies upon AMDGPU DRM code only to be found in Linux 4.12 and newer as it relies on the kernel driver's partially resident texture support.

Patches for ARB_sparse_buffer have been floating around for a few months while it's good to see this support land now, in time for the Mesa 17.1 branching this month.
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