Linked by David Adams on Tue 29th Jun 2010 18:01 UTC, submitted by Michael
Graphics, User Interfaces The open-source Mesa/X.Org developers have been working on LLVMpipe, a Gallium3D driver that accelerates OpenGL and other state trackers on the CPU rather than any GPU driver to provide a better software rasterizer via LLVM optimizations. Unfortunately, it's still slow and can barely keep up with games.
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RE[3]: "Still slow"?
by WereCatf on Wed 30th Jun 2010 14:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: "Still slow"?"
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Unless there you are using some unsupported feature, or there is a bug, the image should be pixel perfect. Rendering is a very precise thing - there is really no room for "optimization" at the expense of quality.

I have seen some software rasterizers that went the easy route of rendering things poorly, doing horrible mipmapping and all that just to squeeze some extra speed. The result just happened to usually be so ugly that those rasterizers never got too popular. Anyways, that's why I mentioned the fact that I didn't see Phoronix mention image quality of LLVMpipe: I assume they would have mentioned it if it wasn't atleast as good as that produced by the 3D hardware.

Now the real question is how useful will this be? What are the applications for a software rasterizer in an age where almost everything -- including damn small mobile devices -- packs some sort of a 3D accelerator?

A rendering farm, perhaps? Remote-3D? That I could see being midly useful as normally you have to render the image, then download the image from the card and only then encode it and transmit, but with this you can just render directly to a buffer and encode, or even render directly to hardware buffer that handles the encoding and transmitting.

Oh, and once CPUs have enough beef and LLVMpipe matures and gains some more speed improvements it'll be handy not to have to upgrade your graphics hardware if some features are missing or something: LLVMpipe will continue to push out the latest features and you never have to play the catchup-game regarding 3D features anymore.

Just to open up some discussion -- or atleast TRY to -- would anyone else have some interesting insight or possible applications for this to share? Would be lovely to see what others can come up with. (And god damn we need some proper discussion here on OSNews and not just the usual flaming!)

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