View Full Version : rendering texture data in real time

03-10-2003, 04:31 AM

I am fairly new to OpenGL Programming an I have a question concerning hardware/software-performance.
I work on a Win2k platform with a ASUS GF 4 card (AGP slot). I have written a multithreaded Win32 application using VC 6 which renders exclusively two-dimensional. Basically one thread writes random data in a simple unsigned byte array [1024]. The values written to this array (ranging from values 0 to 255) shall serve as texture data that gets displayed two coloured (0 is equivalent to black and 255 to the brightest yellow). The other thread receives this array by means of a message pipe and is responsible for displaying the textures on a GL_QUADS primitive. I therefore use the command glTexSubImage*() in order to constantly replace the last texture data resident in texture memory with the newly created texture data from the array resp. the pipe. The frequency I would like to realize in this process is 8 kHz which means that 8 Mbyte/sec texture data accumulate and have to be rendered. But performance is quite poor and I only can realize a frequency of about 3.5 kHz before my CPU usage reaches 100% and the textures start to jitter.
I would like to know if there by any chance is a way to increase the performance. Isn't this performance a little bit low? Where might the bottleneck be (e.g. transferring the texture data from system memory to texture memory, message pipe)?

I am really stucked with this problem and would be very thankful for any hints and pieces of advice.

03-10-2003, 07:57 AM
The threading and the pipe is probably where alot of your overhead is. Do you actually need to multithread? There are probably alot of unnecessary copies going on.


03-10-2003, 08:09 AM
Uploading the texture data could be a bottleneck (just to make sure I'm understanding correctly, you're trying to upload a 1024x1 8bit texture 8000 times per second?). The 8MB/s can quickly turn into much more if the driver has to do temporary copies.

The other possibility, especially since you're saying that the CPU usage hits 100%, could be the code that fills the texture. You mentioned random data - random number generators can be quite slow. If you're actually generating a random number for each texel, that's 1024 random numbers per frame. If you top out at 3.5K frames/s, that would be around 3.5 million random numbers per second - I assume this is your main bottleneck.

Possible solutions:
a) try a faster random number generator
b) if texture upload turns out to be a bottleneck, consider using GL_NV_pixel_data_range to write your data directly to video memory and avoid unnecessary copies.

Or you may want to consider rendering semi-random data to a pbuffer (e.g. by rendering several larger pre-generated random textures on top of each other with different blend modes and random offsets) and using the pbuffer as a texture. That way you wouldn't be limited by the CPU and avoid texture uploads altogether.

03-21-2003, 12:26 AM
Thanx for your advice. It was really helpful because you were right. The random data generation is quite slow and I removed it. Also the multithreading which is essential for my project is lowering the performance significantly. At the moment I am trying to find other solutions and workarounds because displaying and refreshing a simple texture 8000 times a second is not the problem with my graphics card as I found out.

Any further advice and hints are always welcome.