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Microsoft have big plans for Win 10's Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling

Published: 15:17, 01 July 2020
Updated: 15:21, 01 July 2020
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Windows 10 wallpaper featuring Windows 10 logo on a blue background
Windows 10

Microsoft posted a lengthy explanation of Windows 10's new feature called Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling, which promises significant improvements in performance and latency.

Windows 10's May 2020 update has added this feature in the advanced graphics settings although it's still an optional, opt-in feature at this stage. 

In the simplest of terms - Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling helps produce more efficient workload distribution, which means improved performance and decreased latency. 

GPU scheduling has been introduced to Windows 14 years ago, and it's a crude system that worked well back when GPU applications were handled in full screen and one at a time. In the meantime, GPU utilisation exploded and the need for a more refined system produced the WDDM GPU scheduler, the coordination of which was handled by a high priority CPU thread. 

Such a system was not without its drawbacks though, increased latency being the most glaring one. "User input is picked up by the CPU during "frame N+1" but is not rendered by the GPU until the following frame", Microsoft explained. 

Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling, on the other hand, promises great improvement on this front.

"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", they wrote, likening the step to rebuilding the foundation of a house while still living in it. 

Microsoft Windows 10 logo on a dark background. Windows 10

Microsoft will be revealing exactly which GPUs will support this at a later date, but they did say that more recent GPUs will be okay. There will have to be a period of testing and working with GPU manufacturers, hence the opt-in part, but the company is quite optimistic as to the end result.

"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 another time", they wrote, hinting at big plans for Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling.

You can find the full blog post here .

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