In this paper, we implement an efficient, completely software-based graphics pipeline on a GPU. Unlike previous approaches, we obey ordering constraints imposed by current graphics APIs, guarantee hole-free rasterization, and support multisample antialiasing. Our goal is to examine the performance implications of not exploiting the fixed-function graphics pipeline, and to discern which additional hardware support would benefit software-based graphics the most. We present significant improvements over previous work in terms of scalability, performance, and capabilities. Our pipeline is malleable and easy to extend, and we demonstrate that in a wide variety of test cases its performance is within a factor of 2–8x compared to the hardware graphics pipeline on a top of the line GPU. Our implementation is open sourced and available at http://code.google.com/p/cudaraster/.
Copyright by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from Publications Dept, ACM Inc., fax +1 (212) 869-0481, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The definitive version of this paper can be found at ACM's Digital Library http://www.acm.org/dl/.