Nvidia, AMD & Intel champion OpenGL at GDC, say it can offer 7-15 times better performance in games

Friday, 21st March 2014 11:28 GMT By Dave Cook

OpenGL was praised at GDC this week in a joint panel session featuring Nvidia’s Cass Everitt and John McDonald, AMD’s Graham Sellers and Intel’s Tim Foley. The group claimed that by using OpenGL in their games, developers can expect a performance boost of anywhere between 7-15 times what they would see when using alternatives.

Recounting the session, Nvidia’s Ashu Rege penned a blog on the matter, stating that with OpenGL, developers can cut driver overheads by 10%.

“With OpenGL, an open, vendor-neutral standard, developers can get significantly better performance – up to 1.3 times.” Rege went on. “But with a little tuning, they can get 7 to 15 times more performance. That’s a figure that will make any developer sit up and listen.

“Better still: the techniques presented apply to all major vendors and are suitable for use across multiple platforms. And they brought demos, showing what these improvements mean on real world systems. That’s because OpenGL can cut through the driver overhead that has been a frustrating reality for game developers since the beginning of the PC game industry.

“On desktop systems, driver overhead can decrease frame rate. On mobile devices, however, driver overhead is even more insidious, robbing both battery life and frame rate.”

If you’re interested you can see Everitt’s full slide presentation here.

What’s your take on the impact of drivers on performance? Could OpenGL implementation and ‘fine tuning’ be the answer? Let us know below.

Via PCGamesN.



  1. Panthro

    Very, very ambitious words.

    I doubt it, but I hope it’s true… I’m happy to do away with DirectX.

    #1 9 months ago
  2. TheWulf

    What? They all agree on this? That the Linux architecture for graphics is superior to that of the Windows one?

    I mean, objectively, yes, that’s true. OpenGL has always had features in it years before DirectX. It’s also true that it almost invariably has better performance with those features, too, and that this has been true since the mid ’90s. I remember that back then, OpenGL was the go-to renderer.

    Microsoft pulled a coup though with DirectX, and a lot of what DirectX offered over OpenGL (despite being worse than it) was that it was easier to work with, it had better tools available to use with it. OpenGL was the superior technology, but it was more difficult to work with. I never begrudged anyone for picking DirectX, either, as I know myself as someone who’s done programming work what it can be like to use tools designed mostly for people who succinctly understand them.

    Sometimes, the learning curve there can be as steep as a cliff.

    I imagine though that the tools have gotten better, or that there are plans underway to create tools similar to those available for DirectX. Though what’s most interesting about this is that the big three are actually agreeing on something in unison. They’re sending a message that they believe that the technologies which are most commonly associated with Linux are superior to those of Microsoft.

    This is a message.

    This is the big three saying that they’re losing interest in Microsoft and Windows. That’s… kind of huge. This isn’t just Gabe Newell having a pipe dream, this is the biggest names in the hardware industry showing interest in supporting Linux over Windows. I keep seeing all the signs that a mass exodus to Linux is on the cards some day soon.

    Going to just say that I called it.

    #2 9 months ago
  3. TheWulf


    Me too. An open technology in place of a branded piece of proprietary nonsense? It’s almost a dream come true. It would make me incredibly happy. This is weird, this is so weird, this is the kind of thing you dream about happening but it never does. And here it is.

    We live in interesting times.

    #3 9 months ago
  4. TheWulf

    If this is where the PC is going, it couldn’t be better. I remember how some people were saying that the PC was dying, it was being replaced by tablets. Welp, good tablets are PCs! Look at the best Android and Surface offerings. I just see things becoming more and more decentralised.

    If it’s going the way I think it’s going? I think it’s going to be more akin to the home computer days, where the technology was largely the same but people built different things from it. So, essentially, we’ll have open operating systems based upon Linux (like Debian flavours), and then we’ll have desktops, notebooks, and tablets working with that.

    Somewhere down the line, I can see consoles becoming antiquated and being replaced with set-top hardware boxes, running a similar OS.

    The dream?

    You buy a game, and you can run it on your desktop, your notebook, your tablet, or your TV box (‘console,’ if you will). If you buy a piece of software, you can do the same with it. It’s better for software developers and publishers, and the end result is that everyone makes more money. Since there’s an established base of software for all machines.

    The selling point, then, becomes which kind of hardware is right for you.

    Kind of looking forward to that.

    #4 9 months ago
  5. Tormenter

    LMAO.. MS must be shitting themselves.

    …. actually maybe not, they haven’t given a shit about the PC market in a decade unless it’s been to try and lock down/out/force upgrade their OSes.

    Fuck MS, right in their ear.

    #5 9 months ago
  6. Tormenter

    I’m surprised INTEL are in on this. I thought them and MS were butt-buddies.

    #6 9 months ago

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