Index-Driven Geometry Pipeline

Bifrost introduces an Index-Driven Vertex Shading (IDVS) geometry processing pipeline. Earlier Mali GPUs processed all vertex shading tasks before culling primitives, which could result in wasted computation and bandwidth for the vertices that are only used in culled triangles. The following diagram shows the geometry pipeline that is used in earlier Mali GPUs:

Bifrost Legacy Geometry  

By contrast, the following diagram shows how the IDVS pipeline starts by building primitives and submitting shading in primitive order, which splits the shader in half. Next, position shading occurs before clipping and culling, then varying shading runs for all, non-culled, visible vertices:

Bifrost IDVS Geometry  

The IDVS pipeline flow provides the following key optimizations:

  • Position shading is only submitted for small batches of vertices where at least one vertex in each batch is referenced by the index buffer. This allows vertex shading to jump spatial gaps in the index buffer which are never referenced.
  • Varying shading removes some redundant computation and bandwidth. This is because varying shading is only submitted for primitives that survive the clip-and-cull phase.

Also, partially deinterleaving packed vertex buffers ensures that you maximize the benefit from the IDVS geometry flow. Using two packed buffers, place attributes contributing to position in one, and attributes contributing to non-position varyings in the other. Placing the attributes in this way ensures that non-position varyings are not pulled into the cache for vertices that are culled.

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