SwiftShader: Frequently Asked Questions

The list below includes several frequently asked questions about SwiftShader. If you have a question that is not listed here, please feel free to contact us for additional information.

Questions:
1) What is SwiftShader, and how can I use it in my application?
2) Exactly how fast is SwiftShader?
3) What makes SwiftShader so fast?
4) How does SwiftShader compare with competitive software 3D renderers?
5) Will SwiftShader run on Linux® or Mac OS® systems?
6) What's the relationship between SwiftShader, Cider, and Cedega?
7) What level of graphics features are supported by SwiftShader?
8) What CPUs does SwiftShader run on?
9) What about OpenGL®, or other 3D interfaces?



1) What is SwiftShader and how can I use it in my application?
The SwiftShader software GPU toolkit is a modular system capable of supporting 3D rendering through a variety of possible APIs and on several different hardware and operating system configurations. For example, the SwiftShader demo build includes support for DirectX® 9 Shader Model 3.0 on 32 and 64 bit Windows®. In other cases, SwiftShader might use a custom API specifically built to your specifications, and be deployed on several different operating systems and CPUs.

To test SwiftShader with an existing D3D application, you may download the SwiftShader DirectX® 9 SM 3.0 demo, and move the provided D3D9.dll file next to your application.

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2) Exactly how fast is SwiftShader?
SwiftShader performance can vary significantly depending on the exact CPU and system being used as well as the application being tested. For example, on a modern quad-core Core i7 CPU at 3.2 GHz, the SwiftShader DirectX® 9 SM 3.0 demo scores 620 in 3DMark06, surpassing most integrated graphics hardware.

To see how SwiftShader performs for your application, download the demonstration version and give it a try!

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3) What makes SwiftShader so fast?
SwiftShader uses runtime compilation techniques to dynamically build exactly the right code needed to run the graphics commands that a game or application requires. That code is then cached so that the next time the same set of graphics commands is required, it can simply be executed immediately. Beyond that, SwiftShader uses highly advanced graphics algorithms to squeeze every last drop of performance out of the CPU cores available on your system. Please see our SwiftShader Technology page for more information.

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4) How does SwiftShader compare with competitive software 3D renderers?
SwiftShader is more advanced and flexible than any commercially available high-performance software 3D renderer. SwiftShader supports Shader Model 3.0 level rendering features, multiple different API front ends, and multiple different CPU back ends. The SwiftShader DirectX® 9 SM 3.0 demo is twice as fast as Microsoft®’s WARP renderer in benchmarks of Crysis.

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5) Will SwiftShader run on Linux® or Mac OS® X systems?
SwiftShader based renderers can run on Linux® and Mac OS® X systems directly or through TransGaming’s Cedega or Cider technologies. When running directly on these systems, an API front end other than Direct3D® is required.

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6) What's the relationship between SwiftShader, Cider, and Cedega?
TransGaming's Cider and Cedega technologies allows games built for Windows® to be run on Mac OS® X and Linux® systems. Cider and Cedega includes not only support for the 3D graphics APIs used by games, but also every other major API they require - sound, input, window system integration, etc. The graphics technology in Cider and Cedega converts Direct3D® API calls to OpenGL® API calls, in contrast to SwiftShader, which compiles and executes the graphics commands itself.

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7) What level of graphics features are supported by SwiftShader?
SwiftShader based renderers are capable of supporting the complete range of Direct3D® 9 Shader Model 3.0 / OpenGL® ES 2.0 level features.

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8) What CPUs does SwiftShader run on?
SwiftShader based renderers built on the LLVM compiler infrastructure can be retargeted to almost any CPU. The SwiftShader DirectX® 9 SM 3.0 demo has been specifically optimized for Intel® x86 or compatible CPUs with SSE2 support.

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9) What about OpenGL®, or other 3D interfaces?
For additional information on these, or custom 3D interfaces your application might require, please contact us for more information.