Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 15th Mar 2014 16:35 UTC

The GameCube GPU is a complex, tight-knit piece of hardware with impressive features for its time. It is so powerful and so flexible, it was used unmodified within the Wii architecture. For a comparison, just imagine a SNES running with an NES's graphics system. This is completely unheard of, before or since. The GameCube is a remarkable achievement of hardware engineering! With its impressive capabilities, emulating the GameCube's GPU has been one of the most challenging tasks Dolphin has ever faced.

Fantastic in-depth look at specific parts of the GameCube/Wii GPU, written by the developers of the Dolphin emulator.

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Forgive my ignorance, but why not support 64-bit architecture only? Desktops have been shipping with 64-bit CPUs since 2005-ish; and any machine powerful enough in the first place to emulate GC/Wii is most likely (or would at least benefit) from a 64-bit OS.

64-bit floating point (aka doubles) is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit on the CPU side, so no 64-bit CPU is required. However they are trying to simulate integer math on the GPU that traditionally only supported 32 bit floats.

Most newer GPUs also support 16 bit half-float load/store operations as well as full 64 bit doubles. Only catch is that they do 64 bit at half the speed and supposedly is also gimped at consumer versions. Seems doubles is a big deal in certain scientific scenarios and they are willing to pay $$ so you need one of the pro cards to get them to perform well.

Edited 2014-03-16 16:38 UTC

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