Features of Version 2.2 of Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers [previous version]

Introduction

This article describes the features added to Version 2.2 of Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers (Intel® GPA). However, the latest version of Intel GPA is 3.0, and the new features now available in the 3.0 release are described in this article.





New features added to Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers (Intel® GPA)


Intel is pleased to announce Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers 2.2, which now includes support for Microsoft DirectX* 10 and Microsoft Windows 7* OS.

Compared to the previous release of GPA, Version 2.1, the current version includes numerous additional product features that have been added at the request of developers. These new features will allow you to more quickly and easily identify and resolve performance bottlenecks in your game or graphics application. If you have used GPA in the past or are just using it for the first time, it is recommended that you download this updated version, and start using it for your game optimization tasks.

Key features of GPA 2.2 (compared to GPA 2.1) are support for Microsoft Windows 7* OS, support for Microsoft DirectX* 10, and support for frame-based metrics in GPA System Analyzer (rather than time-based metrics). Support for the new operating system and DirectX* 10 should allow more developers to be able to optimize their games, and frame-based metrics provide detailed system information that more closely matches the way game developers work -- on a frame-by-frame basis.

Intel GPA is free to Visual Adrenaline developer program members. Register and download GPA!

GPA 2.2 also includes all the enhancements that were included in the GPA 2.1 release. Below, you will find general information about the pre-existing features from 2.1 (and for those of you who are more visually oriented, here's a video demonstrating these new features).

A copy of the GPA 2.2 Release Notes can be found here.

Summary of features introduced in Intel® GPA 2.1:

System Analyzer

  • Additional DX metrics
  • Single-step frames
  • Hot-Key Frame Capture
Frame Analyzer

  • New Metrics per draw call
    • Vertex Shader Duration
    • Pixel Shader Duration
  • Stacked bar chart (Vertex Shader and Pixel Shader time within GPU duration)
  • Configuration of bar chart for both X and Y axis
  • Pixel history -- Select any pixel in any render target
  • Per render target overdraw visualization
  • Buffer viewing options (render target, texture)
    • Mouse wheel zoom
    • View single R,G, or B channel
    • View alpha channel
    • Histogram + clamping
  • Export metrics per selected draw calls to .csv file
  • Disable Draw Call Experiment
Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers, Version 2.1 Feature Overview

GPA 2.1 System Analyzer:


Additional DX Metrics
(outlined in green below) - on a per-frame basis, allows for users to understand in greater detail what is happening in each frame with a complete set of DX metrics:
  • DX State Block Applies
  • DX State Block Captures
  • DX Render Target Changes
  • DX Render Target Clears
  • DX Color Fills
  • DX Surface Updates
  • DX Stretch Rects
  • DX Surface Locks
  • DX Volume Locks
  • DX Surface Lock Time
  • DX Volume Lock Time
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Single Step Frame Capture

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Pause, then single step to the exact frame you want to capture. Then press the capture button -- allows you to capture the frame you see.


Capture in-game via Hot-Key

Overview:

  • Simply hit the hot-key at any point during game execution on the game machine to capture a DX frame.
  • End-user configurable Hot-Key

Example shots captured through Hot-key

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GPA 2.1 Frame Analyzer

Pixel History -
allows you to select any pixel in any render target in the render target viewer and to see all draw calls that have affected that pixel in a new tab (the following screen shot shows usage of pixel selection from an overdraw visualization so that you can select "hot" pixels).

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Vertex & Pixel Shader Duration metric -
Vertex and pixel shader durations have been added as metrics for all devices. The screenshot below shows both metrics at the same time in the erg bar chart with vertex shader duration selected as the x-axis metric and pixel shader duration selected as the y-axis metric.

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Overdraw per Render Target - The benefit of this feature is that it allows you to find areas of the scene that are really expensive from an overdraw perspective and then determine exactly which draw calls are affecting that overdraw and exactly which draw calls are causing the majority of the overdraw.


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Buffer Histograms with Clamping - Buffer histograms are now a slide out option for any buffer displayed (render target or texture). This enables you to see the color channels as well as the alpha channel of any buffer and allows you to either manually clamp the highlights or shadows or auto clamp through a single button press. Clamping enables you to expand the dynamic range of the buffer as you view it so you can see portions of the buffer that might be hard to differentiate due to similar values.

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Export Draw Call Subset to CSV - This is a great feature set that allows for the export at the draw call level to a CSV file that can be managed in an external application, such as Microsoft Excel*. This is a selection based feature as well, meaning that if you select one draw call you will export one draw call; or if you select the entire frame you will export the entire frame.

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Exported to CSV file:

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Disabled Draw Call Experiment - Allows you to experiment with various draw calls and see which ones are causing the bottleneck and how you can improve performance

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Disabled Draw Calls:

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The Experiments tab showing Disabled Draw calls (ergs):

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Additional information:

For additional information on GPA, please check out the customer support forums and Knowledge Base articles as listed on the GPA Home Page.


* Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.