Wednesday, July 1st 2020

Microsoft Details Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling

Microsoft posted a technical brief of the new Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling feature introduced with Windows 10 May 2020 Update, and its latest Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) version. In a blog post by Steve Pronovost, a tech lead with Microsoft DirectX, Microsoft finally set out to explain what WDDM GPU Scheduling is. Introduced with Windows Vista, WDDM 1.0 introduced GPU scheduling, a software component that allocates workload from multiple sources onto a GPU, prior to which all applications that needed GPU-acceleration would send as much traffic as they could to the GPU driver. With growing complexity in the modern 3D rendering pipeline, the need for a scheduler, not unlike the OS thread scheduler, was needed.

In the following section (which matters), Microsoft went on to detail what Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling is. Apparently, some of the newer generations of GPUs (by NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel), have a hardware component in-built to perform scheduling. When this component is combined with Windows 10 May 2020 Update and a WDDM 2.7-compliant graphics driver, Windows offloads GPU scheduling onto it, freeing up some CPU resources and potentially reducing latencies at various stages of the graphics rendering pipeline. Windows continues to exhibit control over scheduling, but by talking to this scheduling component instead of a CPU-executed software stack.
"Windows continues to control prioritization and decide which applications have priority among contexts. We offload high frequency tasks to the GPU scheduling processor, handling quanta management and context switching of various GPU engines," writes Pronovost. "The new GPU scheduler is a significant and fundamental change to the driver model. Changing the scheduler is akin to rebuilding the foundation of a house while still living in it. To ensure a smooth transition we are introducing the new scheduler as an early-adopter, opt-in feature. During the transition we will gather large scale performance and reliability data as well as customer feedback."

Microsoft intends for future versions of Windows and DirectX to evolve more in the direction of reducing latencies by offloading the CPU - a full-circle from the company's efforts since Windows XP and Vista to minimize hardware-accelerated signal processing in favor of host-signal processing (the main reason behind the deprecation of DirectSound). "The goal of the first phase of hardware accelerated GPU scheduling is to modernize a fundamental pillar of the graphics subsystem and to set the stage for things to come… but that's going to be a story for a another time," he says.
Source: Microsoft DirectX blog
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14 Comments on Microsoft Details Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling

#1
noel_fs
GCN1 is mindnumbingly bugged now
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#2
theoneandonlymrk
noel_fs
GCN1 is mindnumbingly bugged now
Doesn't work on it anyway , just Navi.
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#3
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
Imagine if they brought back hardware acceleration and soundcards for some proper gaming worked again.
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#4
Mussels
Moderprator
turned this on to see how it behaves, would love to see some detailed benches (although i know its not likely to actually do much)
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#5
Caring1
I couldn't find that screen in Settings to enable it.
My system possibly doesn't support it.
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#6
Jawz
Caring1
I couldn't find that screen in Settings
From the source article: "We are adding UI to the Advanced Graphics Settings page to control enabling the new GPU scheduler. The settings page can be reached through Settings -> System -> Display -> Graphics Settings. If both your GPU and driver support the new GPU scheduler, the UI below will appear."
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#7
zaku49
The biggest difference you're probably going to notice when turning this feature on is the input delay, my mouse was a lot more responsive after turning this on. Monitor 4k at 60hz, not sure if you'd notice it on the higher refresh ones.
Caring1
I couldn't find that screen in Settings to enable it.
My system possibly doesn't support it.
You need the latest version of windows which is 2004 and the latest video drivers from Nvidia, it currently only works with Nvidia cards (I think). You can grab the latest windows version by forcing an update through their website.
Posted on Reply
#8
bug
Mussels
turned this on to see how it behaves, would love to see some detailed benches (although i know its not likely to actually do much)
My expectation is it will bring a little smoothness, because this scheduler will not run on hardware that many parties fight over.
Unfortunately, "smoothness" is not something easily reviewed.
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#9
theoneandonlymrk
zaku49
The biggest difference you're probably going to notice when turning this feature on is the input delay, my mouse was a lot more responsive after turning this on. Monitor 4k at 60hz, not sure if you'd notice it on the higher refresh ones.



You need the latest version of windows which is 2004 and the latest video drivers from Nvidia, it currently only works with Nvidia cards (I think). You can grab the latest windows version by forcing an update through their website.
AMD has new drivers with support for Some Radeon cards all Navi 10 so far.
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#11
zlobby
Mmmm, yeah! Schedule it all over!
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#12
Caring1
StefanM
Which NVIDIA GPUs support Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling?

Beginning with NVIDIA Release 450 driver, Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling will available on Pascal and later GPUs when used with Windows 10 May 2020 Update.
Thanks, I was sure I had updated to the May release, but when I checked just now, it says it is on it's way. :confused:
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#13
trparky
I've seen a slight performance increase not in games (I've not tested it yet) but I have when viewing complex web sites in my web browser (Microsoft Chrome-Edge) which uses hardware acceleration.
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#14
_JP_
Microsoft intends for future versions of Windows and DirectX to evolve more in the direction of reducing latencies by offloading the CPU - a full-circle from the company's efforts since Windows XP and Vista to minimize hardware-accelerated signal processing in favor of host-signal processing (the main reason behind the deprecation of DirectSound).
Because managing drivers at the time was like trying to govern an anarchy, so many had kernel access just because. So, if you cannot govern, condition the movements available.
But seriously, bring back proper DirectSound, please.
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