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GekkoCube

A brief overview of how to optimize the graphics pipeline please.

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how to do this? is it all about the vertices you are feeding the rasterizer and they're all set up? is it about the renderstates? all or none of the above? just a general understanding is all im looking for.

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You can be bottlenecked in at least the following places:

CPU (set-up costs for state changes and small batches).
Vertex transfer (AGP memory bandwidth).
Vertex transform (shader length).
Triangle set-up (very uncommon).
Pixel shading (shader length).
Texture reads (bandwidth, and latency for some access patterns).
Framebuffer bandwidth (blending, overdraw).

There are lots of thorough descriptions if you just google a little bit. Perhaps one of the better is the instructions for the tool NVPerfHud, that you can download from developer.nvidia.com -- even if you don't have an NVIDIA card, reading it is enlightening.

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The two main optimization steps that i know of are

1. Sorting all of the data that is going to be rendered by state.
Delphi3d has an article on that

2. And sending all that data in efficient batches
Nvidia Has a power piont on batching

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