I have been reading a lot of debate on a new feature that will be in Unity 5.4: GPU instancing. I understand the importance of instancing in general, both in terms of saving memory and draw calls.

However, even after doing some reading, I still couldn't understand what exactly are the differences between GPU instancing and non-GPU instancing - and, more importantly, where the alleged GPU advantages in terms of performance come from.

Thanks for your knowledge and for any references.


Very simple: "non-GPU" instancing doesn't exist. Doing more work on the GPU is the whole point of instancing.

Moreover, instancing improves performance by reducing the amount of data that has to be pushed to the GPU and hopefully by reducing CPU computations, at the price of doing more work on the GPU: it doesn't have "alleged GPU advantages".

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes. @Louis15, it's normal to just use the term "instancing". The "GPU" bit is often used more formally in whitepapers and so on. But there is no other sort of "instancing" - it is a process unique to the GPU. I see this is an old answer; you should accept this as the correct answer (checkmark to the left). \$\endgroup\$ – Engineer Jul 25 '17 at 1:15

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