Intel employees Tim Rowley and Bruce Cherniak have published a very intriguing announcement on the Mesa 3D Graphics Library development mailing list, informing us about their new software project developed within a small team at Intel.
Proud to be part of a team known for their work on software defined visualization, raytracing, and rasterization areas, the two Intel developers inform the Mesa community about their OpenSWR software rasterizer project.
OpenSWR was engineered from the ground up to act as a highly scalable and high-performance software rasterizer and driver that can interact with Mesa3D. The developers, who are part of a different team than the one responsible for the well-known Intel i965 graphics driver, dubbed OpenSWR a software GPU.
“We’re a different Intel team from that of i965 fame, with a different type of customer and workloads,” said Tim Rowley. “Our customers have large clusters of compute nodes that for various reasons do not have GPUs, and are working with extremely large geometry models.”
OpenSWR knocks at the doors of Mesa
According to the Mr. Rowley, in order to provide state tracking and Application Programming Interface (API) layers, OpenSWR’s rasterizing functions rely heavily on the mature, community-supported Mesa 3D Graphics Library software for GNU/Linux operating systems.
However, the most important thing of all is that OpenSWR appears to be up to 29x to 51x faster than llvmpipe. Therefore, their ultimate goal is to inject the OpenSWR high-performance software rasterizer into the source code of the Mesa 3D Graphics Library, continuing to develop new features and actively maintaining it in Mesa’s source repository.
In their very long introduction for OpenSWR, the Intel devs have also provided the Mesa community with a comprehensive FAQ, which is a recommended reading if you want to find out why they developed the software, what the conformance and performance are, what their development plans are, etc.