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Dario Oliveri

VBO what does GPU prefers?

9 posts in this topic

GPU prefers vertex arrays contiguos by vertex or by data type?

example 1:

Vertex1 Position
Vertex1 Color
Vertex1 Normal

Vertex2 Position
Vertex2 Color
Vertex2 Normal

Vertex3 Position
Vertex3 Color
Vertex3 Normal

Vertex4 Position
Vertex4 Color
Vertex4 Normal

Vertex5 Position
Vertex5 Color
Vertex5 Normal

Example 2:

Vertex1 Position
Vertex2 Position
Vertex3 Position
Vertex4 Position
Vertex5 Position

Vertex1 Color
Vertex2 Color
Vertex3 Color
Vertex4 Color
Vertex5 Color

Vertex1 Normal
Vertex2 Normal
Vertex3 Normal
Vertex4 Normal
Vertex5 Normal

so is worth for rendering speed using arrays without stride?
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example 2 is still super fast. I've been using it forever and just focused on other things since I don't need to nitpick for optimization yet. example 1 is going to give you some boost for sure. I would think in big scenes it would even be noticeable.
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T&L means "Transform and Lighting", loosely translating to "CPU-based vertex shaders" in modern architectures. I'm somewhat skeptic that planar formats would be faster for that case either, only profiling will tell the best.
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There's actually an old Intel doc which specifically cites the example 2 layout (what I'd call "streamed") as being more efficient, and calls out - but does not explicitly name - APIs which do not provide the capability to use this kind of layout as being inherently more inefficient. If you Google for some of the ancient API wars history you may come across a copy of it (I won't sully this thread by digging up direct links to some of the nonsense that went on back then, but if I do come across a link to the Intel doc I'll definitely provide it).

That doc must be viewed in the light of history. At the time it was written the per-vertex pipeline was predominantly handled in software by the driver, the API they call out (but do not name) has long since gained the ability to handle streamed layouts, and Intel - being a CPU company who only relatively recently added hardware T&L to their gfx chips - would naturally focus on something that would be more efficient when run on a CPU.

Also worth noting that streamed layout conforms to the "structure of arrays" design which still [i]can[/i] be [i]much[/i] more efficient in many cases (just not this one). Edited by mhagain
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[quote name='web383' timestamp='1340921894' post='4953776']
Keep in mind that is it sometimes more appropriate to use separate streams. For example, if you need a depth-only pass, the positional data should be kept in it's own buffer and sent to the GPU separately during this pass.
[/quote]

Quite true and it highlights the most important thing which is that there is no single absolute "best" layout that is going to be most suitable in all cases. You absolutely [i]have[/i] to adapt to your program's requirements.
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[quote name='mhagain' timestamp='1340971570' post='4953933']
... it highlights the most important thing which is that there is no single absolute "best" layout that is going to be most suitable in all cases. You absolutely [i]have[/i] to adapt to your program's requirements.
[/quote]
Quite true. Often non-interleaved is not even much of a choice. I (relatively) recently had to shrink my primary vertex format (2 variants) from 32byte to 16byte due to memory consumption:
* 3*2B - vertex position (+ dangling attribute for full range)
* 2*1B - extra material data
* 4*1B / 2*2B - material data OR tex coord
* 4*1B - normal + unused byte OR quaternion (for reasonable tangent space approximation)

... not really reasonable to flatten that, especially as 3*2 attribute aligns badly.
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