GPU architecture types explained

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2021-07-20 14:00:08

The behavior of the graphics pipeline is practically standard across platforms and APIs, yet GPU vendors come up with unique solutions to accelerate it, the two major architecture types being tile-based and immediate-mode rendering GPUs. In this article we explore how they work, present their strengths/weaknesses, and discuss some of the implications the underlying GPU architecture may have on the efficiency of certain rendering algorithms.

Let’s start with the basics first by taking a look at the way how the two major GPU architecture types implement the graphics pipeline stages.

We can really call this GPU architecture the “traditional” one, as immediate-mode rendering (IMR) GPUs implement the logical graphics pipeline, as described by the various graphics APIs, quite literally:

The important takeaway is that entire draw commands are processed to completion on the GPU in a single pass and all resources are accessed through traditional (cache assisted) memory transactions.

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