The DirectX 12 Ultimate graphics API brought a number of advanced new technologies like DirectX Raytracing 1.1, Sampler Feedback, or Variable Rate Shading (VRS). Also introduced was the technology of mesh shaders or Mesh Shaders. Futuremark has now released a 3DMark benchmark to assess the benefits of mesh shaders.
The 3DMark Mesh Shader functional benchmark shows how developers can increase frame rates by using mesh shaders in their graphics pipeline. This technology represents a new approach to geometry processing that simplifies the graphics pipeline and gives developers more flexibility and control.
In 3D, a mesh is a collection of vertices, edges, and faces that define the shape of an object. In modern graphics pipelines, all geometric data in a mesh must be processed sequentially before any further steps can be taken. This can become a serious performance bottleneck.
Mesh shaders replace the old approach and bring power, flexibility, and control to the computational programming model to the geometry pipeline. Mesh shaders can process small sections of the mesh in parallel with much more flexibility and control. The technology also significantly improves the efficiency of cutting off the invisible parts of the mesh.
The 3DMark Mesh Shader functional benchmark shows how game engines can improve performance by using mesh shaders to efficiently clip geometry that is not visible in the frame. The test scene is a hall made up of many rows of highly detailed carved pillars. As the camera moves around the scene, the columns in the foreground obscure the view of those further away.
The test is performed in two passes. The first pass uses a traditional geometry culling approach to provide a baseline estimate of performance. In the second step, mesh shaders are used to effectively remove hidden parts of the model. The result is the average frame rate for each pass and the difference between the two, expressed as a percentage.
There is also an interactive mode that helps you visualize the benefits of using mesh shaders. The user can pause, jump to different parts of the timeline and change settings in real time. The 3DMark Mesh Shader is now available as a free update to 3DMark Advanced Edition. And until February 15th, 3DMark has an 85% discount on purchases on Steam. To run the test, you need Windows 10 version 2004 or higher and a graphics card that supports Microsoft DirectX 12 Ultimate.
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