Tile-based Rasterization in NVIDIA GPUs Gets Detailed

Users definitely want higher performance and lower power consumption, but you can’t have it both ways. NVIDIA GPUs have been criticized for high power consumption, and the company has introduced techniques from low-power mobile graphics architectures starting with the Maxwell architecture.

Although NVIDIA’s been reluctant to share details about the fixed function graphics hardware, even denied changes in certain circumstances, the RealWorldTech has managed to grasp some of them. According to the original site, NVIDIA has utilized tile-based immediate-mode rasterizers that buffer pixel output, instead of traditional full-screen immediate-mode rasterizers, which reduces the memory bandwidth for rendering, and thus improves performance and power-efficiency.

The guys even demonstrated the tile-based rasterization in Maxwell and Pascal GPUs, and compared it with the immediate-mode rasterizer used by AMD. The YouTube video includes the following information, and can be viewed over here:

* A brief refresher on the 3D pipeline
* An explanation of the DirectX shader code, which is available on Github
* Behavior of the code on an AMD GPU
* Behavior of the code on Nvidia Maxwell and Pascal GPU
* Discussion and analysis of the results

In fact, Tile-based rasterization is nothing new – the PowerVR architecture has used it for rendering since the 1990’s, and mobile GPUs from ARM and Qualcomm also use different forms of tiling. But nothing great was achieved on the desktop part.

Generally speaking, new graphics technologies have moved from desktop GPUs into mobile ones, while the direction for tiled rasterization is opposite. It’ll be exciting to see how the mobile technology would influence high-performance GPUs.

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