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Khronos Group unleashes OpenGL 4.0 spec

Khronos Group unveils OpenGL 4.0 at GDC – latest industry standard for graphics gets further advanced.


The OpenGL 4.0 specification has been defined and unveiled at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this week in San Francisco. The Khronos Group spear heads the open industry standard via the OpenGL ARB (Architectural Review Board).  The new standard includes the GLSL 4.0 update to the OpenGL Shader language in order to enable developers to access the latest generation of GPU acceleration with significantly enhanced graphics quality, acceleration performance and programming flexibility.

OpenGL 4.0 and OpenCL

Apple-invented open industry standard OpenCL is now more closely aligned and interoperable with OpenGL via OpenGL 4.0. New new features in OpenGL 4.0 include:

  • Core and Compatibility OpenGL 3.2 profiles retain backwards compatibility;
  • two new shader stages that enable the GPU to offload geometry tessellation from the CPU;
  • per-sample fragment shaders and programmable fragment shaders,
  • drawing of data generated by OpenGL or external APIs such as OpenCL without main CPU intervention;
  • shader subroutines for better programming flexibility;
  • new object type called “sampler objects” provide separation of texture state and texture data;
  • 64-bit double precision floating point shader operations and quality;
  • performance improvements, included instanced geometry, instanced shaders, instanced arrays and a new timer query.

The Khronos Group has also released an OpenGL 3.3 specification, together with the set of ARB extensions, to enable some OpenGL 4.0 functionality in previous generation GPU hardware.

It is unclear at this time when operating systems vendors will support the new OpenGL 4.0 standard. For more information visit this link.

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