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Improvement in Shader Model 5.0
What is a Shader Model? 2013-09-19 11:38:58

Shader Model is an abstraction to a well defined set of Shader capabilities created by DirectX. So, what is a Shader? The direct answer is: A script that tells a programmable stage of the graphics hardware what calculations to do to achieve a material, transformation, or effect. On DirectX 11 the languade used to create shaders is called HLSL, and stands for "High Level Shader Language". The term Shader Model has been used ever since the GPUs became programmable, and since then, the available features at every new model is dramatically increased. The first shipped graphics card to be assigned a Shader Model was the Geforce 3 with SM1.1. On that former version, the shader programmability was reduced to a few assembly instructions and did not have even float data. However, sequential Shader Model versions naturally did much to increase the programmability: by allowing the use of a higher level programming language, increasing instructions set, flow control, among others. DirectX 11 has...

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Introduction To Vulkan
Vulkan is designed as a cross-platform abstraction over GPUs 2014-01-29 00:40:13

As graphics card architectures matured, they started offering more and more programmable functionality. All this new functionality had to be integrated with the existing APIs somehow. This resulted in less than ideal abstractions and a lot of guesswork on the graphics driver side to map the programmer’s intent to the modern graphics architectures. That’s why there are so many driver updates for improving the performance in games, sometimes by significant margins. Because of the complexity of these drivers, application developers also need to deal with inconsistencies between vendors, like the syntax that is accepted for shaders. Aside from these new features, the past decade also saw an influx of mobile devices with powerful graphics hardware. These mobile GPUs have different architectures based on their energy and space requirements. One such example is tiled rendering, which would benefit from improved performance by offering the programmer more control over this functionality. Another limi...

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