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I'm building a 3d object's triangles. If I can write them to the buffer in the order they are calculated it will simplify the CPU code. The vertices for the triangles will not be contiguous.

Is there any performance penalty for writing them out of order?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

There are (at least) two factors at play here. GPUs can utilize a post-transform vertex cache when indexed primitives are rendered. The size of this cache varies, and it's utilized during an individual draw call (not across multiple calls, as far as I'm aware, so it doesn't matter how frequently you change the buffer data in that context).

If you organize your data to take advantage of this cache (an example algorithm is here), you can see performance improvements. However, this organization has more to do with ordering your indices so that each index triple reuses as many recently-seen vertices as possible. It probably has little bearing on your specific scenario, unless your triangles, via your index buffer, are also randomly scattered about in the buffer... in which case you're probably blowing the cache often. It wasn't clear to me in your question whether or not this was the case, so I thought it worth mentioning.

What's more likely to be a problem is that GPUs also cache memory accesses to vertex data during a draw. The size of that cache is also fairly unreliably sized and it's conceivable that you could get a high miss frequency in that cache on the individual cores processing those indices into very poorly localized vertex data.

As to wether or not that's going to cause enough of a performance issue to be a red flag in your application, and particular (it sounds like) to re-engineer your algorithm to better organize the data at the expense of the readability of the algorithm... that's not something I can answer, you'll have to profile some scenarios and see.

I would personally err on the side of readable, maintainable code, though, as I think any cache missing you are going to cause is not going to be significant enough for users to notice.

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i think they just blast on in parallel, so you should be right as far as I know.

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Because question has attracted some attention and getting upvotes and as there already is an answer that has been approved and it's detailed long answer, this kind of one line answers, that won't really give any factual information, are not really useful. That's the reason you are getting down votes. TL;DR; if you really know about the process, please, edit your answer to give more details. –  Katu 2 hours ago
This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. –  Alex M. 1 hour ago

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