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3D Accelerated Graphics Are Coming to PS3 Linux


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279w ago - The new Mesa 7.5 has been [Register or Login to view links] recently.

The interesting thing about it is that it is first release to contain [Register or Login to view links] architecture for "OS-independent and API-independent 3D drivers" which in turn contains drivers for various devices such as:

• softpipe - a software/reference driver
• i915 - Intel 915/945 driver
• Cell - IBM/Sony/Toshiba Cell processor driver
• nouveau (for NVIDIA GPUs) and R300 for (AMD/ATI R300)

You can read about state of Cell driver [Register or Login to view links].

This in fact will bring accelerated 3D graphics to PS3 where the graphics processing won't be done by RSX but by employing SPUs. This would vastly enhance usability of Linux running on PS3 by providing one of the things it's lacking now...



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semitope's Avatar
#17 - semitope - 278w ago
Would be like running ps2 games through an emulator installed in winxp on a ps2 wouldn't it? Will be severely crippled and no way would there be ps3 games run on it. Even if linux could use the rsx most we would get are ps2 emulators, i think, in that situation.

FunkyShadaloo's Avatar
#16 - FunkyShadaloo - 278w ago
Quote Originally Posted by RexVF5 View Post
I think that is actually the case - you are underestimating the power of SPUs. Read about how much of a performance people got from it in various areas - decoding/encoding video, cipher attacks, ...

This sounds really exciting but I still have to wonder about performance. PS3 devs get the GPU *and* SPUs to work with, where we'd have only SPUs and a software layer through Mesa to work with. Can we honestly expect to see 60fps performance out of this (to something of the quality of say Bionic Commando Rearmed? I don't expect homebrewn games even close to as good as inFamous).

mihaiolimpiu's Avatar
#15 - mihaiolimpiu - 278w ago
I tried to update to 9.10 Alpha 2 but the upgrade process failed... I think I'll just wait a little bit more to install the new 9.10 Karmic on my PS3!

In the meantime if anyone has some results please post them here so we know what to expect from this. Is it usable? Does it work out of the box?

Before I rebooted (and My PS3 died with a lot of beeps and no error messages) I tried some GLScreensavers... They seemed a little bit faster but no real improvement... maybe I got my hopes real high... or even the driver wasn't really active... Who knows... i'll tinker with it if I manage to update my machine successfully!

RexVF5's Avatar
#14 - RexVF5 - 278w ago
Quote Originally Posted by semitope View Post
Not very likely. Maybe some ps1 level games but the cell is not going to do CPU work AND GPU work to the point where it would you could play a ps2 emulator with any satisfactory smoothness. Unless i am not comprehending the awesomeness of the cell in the ps3 well


I think that is actually the case - you are underestimating the power of SPUs. Read about how much of a performance people got from it in various areas - decoding/encoding video, cipher attacks, ...

I already made the comparison: today's GPUs are basically fixed-function vector engines (vendors are trying to escape this by things like CUDA). SPUs are precisely the same - highly performing programmable(!) vector processors. So I (and it seems smart guys at Mesa/Gallium) believe the SPUs can easily take the function of GPU without sweating.

Quote Originally Posted by gaferion View Post
I wonder how soon the different linux distributions will get this in their repositories. I haven't played around with Linux on the PS3 recently, but with wireless controllers working and now 3D acceleration it may be time to get it setup again with emulators to test it out.

I think it will take some time (at least to Mesa 7.5.1 as stated in release notes) to be generally usable ad well integrated. But it's coming.

Quote Originally Posted by gaferion View Post
What I would like to know is how many SPUs will this utilize, and since there are multiple SPUs in the PS3 couldn't some be used for 3d acceleration and others for CPU power? Or maybe I don't have a good understanding of how they are utilized when booted in linux?

AFAIU this is configurable - so you can use part of them for graphics and part of the for something else.

Quote Originally Posted by kengreen View Post
There is also some work on a cell driver for DirectFB at code.google.com/p/ouros. I would be interested in a comparison of these two approaches to accelerated linux video on the PS3. Both would appear to link to SDL and GTK, popular graphics libraries.


I do not see anything like that there (only reference to FB) and to tell the truth what you wrote doesn't make much sense to me unless we're talking about 2D/3D acceleration. FrameBuffer means you have a part of memory that is directly mapped to video output (see [Register or Login to view links]) If you read the Cell driver release notes ([Register or Login to view links]) you will find that it is using FB. Cell/SPUs do the tricky math stuff required to compute the image but they put the calculated data into FB.

"Accelerated graphics" in the title of this post means that specialized HW (SPUs) is used to compute (3D) graphics operations as compared to computation of general CPU (PPU in this case) which is called software rendering. Performance of the first approach should bring generally acceptable results while software rendering is (usually) too slow for any real-time usage.

kengreen's Avatar
#13 - kengreen - 278w ago
There is also some work on a cell driver for DirectFB at code.google.com/p/ouros. I would be interested in a comparison of these two approaches to accelerated linux video on the PS3. Both would appear to link to SDL and GTK, popular graphics libraries.

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