Graphics Performance Analyzers FAQ
Table of Contents
General Product Information
- What are Graphics Performance Analyzers, and what do I use it for?
- Which platforms do Graphics Performance Analyzers support?
- How do Graphics Performance Analyzers compare with other Intel analysis products?
- What are the key advantages of Graphics Performance Analyzers?
- Have developers been able to use Graphics Performance Analyzers to improve the performance of "real world" games?
- Where do I find out more information about Graphics Performance Analyzers?
Using Graphics Performance Analyzers
- How do I start using Graphics Performance Analyzers?
- How difficult is it to learn how to use the product?
- What kinds of problems can Graphics Performance Analyzers find?
- How do the System Analyzer and the Graphics Frame Analyzer help identify optimization opportunities in my game?
- How does the Platform Analyzer help identify optimization opportunities in my game?
- Will Graphics Performance Analyzers work with any graphics application?
- Do I have to modify the software for my game in order to be able to use Graphics Performance Analyzers?
- What are the Graphics Performance Analyzers system requirements?
- What graphics devices do Graphics Performance Analyzers support?
- Do Graphics Performance Analyzers work with netbook computers?
- Is Graphics Frame Analyzer supported on Windows* 32-bit platforms?
- Do I need to "root" my device to analyze Android* workloads with Graphics Performance Analyzers?
- I can't analyze my Android* applications with Graphics Performance Analyzers. Do I need to build my apk with any special settings?
- How do I get support for Graphics Performance Analyzers?
- Will Graphics Performance Analyzers support all future Intel graphics devices?
- What should I expect to see if I attempt to run Graphics Performance Analyzers on third-party graphics devices?
- What is your plan for supporting OpenGL*?
- How do I submit suggestions or feedback to the development team?
General Product Information
Q: What are Graphics Performance Analyzers, and what do I use it for?
A: Graphics Performance Analyzers are powerful, agile tools enabling game developers to utilize the full performance potential of their gaming platform, including (though not limited to) Intel® Core™ and Intel® HD Graphics, as well as Intel phones and tablets running the Android*. Graphics Performance Analyzers visualizes performance data from your application, enabling you to understand system-level and individual frame performance issues, as well as allowing you to perform 'what-if' experiments to estimate potential performance gains from optimizations.
Q: Which platforms do Graphics Performance Analyzers support?
A: Graphics Performance Analyzers support multiple analysis and target operating systems. Here is a table summarizing the supported platforms:
(where your game runs)
(your development system)
|Microsoft* Windows* 7 (x64 only) OS||Microsoft* Windows* 7/8/8.1 OS||Microsoft* DirectX* 9/9Ex, 10.0/10.1, 11.0|
|Microsoft* Windows* 8/8.1 (x64 only) OS||Microsoft* Windows* 7/8/8.1 OS||Microsoft* DirectX* 9/9Ex, 11.0
Windows* 8/8.1 Store Applications
|Google* Android* 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, 4.4
(limited to Intel® Atom™ based phones and tablets)
|Microsoft* Windows* 7/8/8.1 OS
Apple* OS X* 10.8, 10.9
Ubuntu* OS 11.10, 12.04
|OpenGL* ES 1.x, 2.x, 3.0|
See the Release Notes for detailed product information on each of these platforms.
Q: How do Graphics Performance Analyzers compare with other Intel products such as Intel® VTune™ Amplifier XE and Intel® Parallel Studio, and how do I select the right one for my analysis/optimization needs?
A: Graphics Performance Analyzers offer complementary profiling capabilities to other Intel tools focused on debugging and deep hotspot analysis. Graphics Performance Analyzers can help determine whether potential performance bottlenecks exist, and offer the ability to perform "what if" experiments to help optimize the graphics portion of your application. For even deeper performance analysis you can use Intel VTune™ Amplifier XE with our tools to fine-tune games and media for optimal performance, ensuring cores are fully exploited and new processor capabilities are supported to the fullest.
Q: What are the key advantages of Graphics Performance Analyzers?
A: Intel has worked extensively with game developers to create a product that precisely meets their needs, so that they can quickly optimize games. The key advantages of using Graphics Performance Analyzers are:
- Intuitive interface: Quickly find issues, without a lot of clutter; the product's easy workflow fits the way game developers want to optimize their games.
- In-depth, real-time analysis: Identify bottlenecks, experiment with changes, and see results in real time - all within Graphics Performance Analyzers and without modifying the game code.
- Multiple platform support: Optimize games and graphics-intensive applications for Intel systems utilizing processor graphics, or Intel Atom devices running Android*. When possible, Graphics Performance Analyzers access hardware metrics in these devices for more accurate measurements of the game's use of the rendering pipeline.
- Task timeline visualization: Use the Platform Analyzer to see how your task system is balanced (or not) across multiple threads on both the CPU and GPU.
Q: Have developers been able to use Graphics Performance Analyzers to improve the performance of "real world" games?
A: Many developers have utilized Graphics Performance Analyzers to improve game performance on PCs utilizing Intel® Processor Graphics. Many of these games can be found in the Game Gallery. Just a few examples of Graphics Performance Analyzers enabled titles are Need For Speed:World *, DarkSpore*, LEGO Universe*, Civilization V*, Stalker:Call of Pripyat*, Demigod*, EmpireNapoleon:Total War*, and Ghostbusters, The Video Game*. The performance gains in these games resulted in an increased frame rate and/or additional game features that improved the user experience.
Q: Where do I find out more information about Graphics Performance Analyzers?
A: To find out more about the tool suite, visit the Home Page. The product home page provides detailed information about the tools, including information on how to download the tools, training and support resources, and videos on the product to help you get started quickly.
Using Graphics Performance Analyzers
Q: How do I start using Graphics Performance Analyzers?
A: It is pretty easy to get started with Graphics Performance Analyzers -- most game developers start using Graphics Performance Analyzers immediately after installing the package, since the tools use standard graphics drivers and does not require modifications to your game code (one exception is if you are trying to perform thread-based analysis with the Platform Analyzer, which requires that you add some code to designate individual threads). To get you up and running quickly, check out the Online Help, which explains how to use the product features.
Q: How difficult is it to learn how to use the product?
A: Graphics Performance Analyzers features an intuitive user interface that does not require extensive training to quickly access key performance metrics. Therefore, many users will immediately realize many benefits of the product. However, as Graphics Performance Analyzers enable you to perform precise analysis and experiments for every portion of the rendering pipeline, users with a detailed knowledge of Microsoft* DirectX* or OpenGL* ES for mobile devices can quickly utilize even these advanced features.
Q: What kinds of problems can Graphics Performance Analyzers find?
A: If you have performance "hot spots" within your game, Graphics Performance Analyzers can help pinpoint them at the system level, at the frame or sub-frame level, or by visualizing task performance across the CPU/GPU. Once you have identified issues, try different experiments to see the resulting changes in the rendering time as well as the visual effect of these changes. The benefit is that Graphics Performance Analyzers can help improve your frame rate and/or enable you to add new visual effects, while still providing an acceptable level of user interactivity.
Q: How do the System Analyzer and Graphics Frame Analyzer help identify optimization opportunities in my game?
A: System Analyzer provides access to system-wide metrics for your game, including CPU, GPU, API, and the graphics driver. The metrics available will vary depending upon your platform, but for both Microsoft* Windows* and Google* Android* you will find a large collection of useful metrics to help quantify key aspects of your application's use of system resources. Within the System Analyzer you can also perform various "what-if" experiments to diagnose at a high level where your game's performance bottlenecks are concentrated.
- If the System Analyzer finds that your game is CPU-bound, perform additional fine-tuning of your application using Platform Analyzer or one of the Intel performance optimization products such as Intel® Parallel Studio or Intel® VTune™ Amplifier XE.
- If the System Analyzer finds that you game is GPU-bound, use the Graphics Frame Analyzer to drill down within a single graphics frame to pinpoint specific rendering problems, such as texture bandwidth, pixel shader performance, level-of-detail issues, or other bottlenecks within the rendering pipeline. For example, using the "simple pixel shader" experiment to determine whether shader complexity is a bottleneck.
Q: How does the Platform Analyzer help identify optimization opportunities in my game?
A: Platform Analyzer visualizes the execution profile of the tasks in your code on the entire PC platform over time on both the CPU and GPU. This helps you understand task-based issues within your game, enabling you to optimize the compute and rendering tasks across both the CPU and GPU. Platform Analyzer uses trace data collected during the application run to provide a detailed analysis of how your code executes across all threads, and correlates the CPU workload with that on the GPU.
Q: Though Graphics Performance Analyzers seems to be targeting game developers, will the tools work with other graphics applications?
A: Graphics Performance Analyzers are primarily designed to solve the performance optimization needs of game developers, and for media application developers. However, the features of the tool suite are broad-based for use with any visual computing application. In other words, our expectation is that anyone developing graphics applications, both "expert" and "novice" alike, should be able to take advantage of the analysis and optimization capabilities of the product.
Q: Do I have to modify the software for my game, or install special drivers, in order to be able to use Graphics Performance Analyzers?
A: The System Analyzer and the Graphics Frame Analyzer tools can analyze your game without any code modifications or special libraries. This is possible because the tools access the CPU, driver, DirectX*, and GPU metrics directly from the game environment, a big plus for common analysis tasks. For more complex, task-based analysis with the Platform Analyzer, you will benefit by inserting Instrumentation and Tracing Technology (ITT) API calls that tag the various tasks in your game code -- but you will have to do this once, as the ITT library used by Graphics Performance Analyzers is also used by a number of other Intel performance analysis tools.
Q: What are the Graphics Performance Analyzers system requirements?
A: As the specific requirements depend both upon your target platform and analysis platform, read the Release Notes for detailed system requirements.
Q: What graphics devices do Graphics Performance Analyzers support?
A: When the target platform is Windows* OS, Graphics Performance Analyzers support Intel® HD graphics (including Intel® HD Graphics 2000/3000 or higher). Although the tools may work with other graphics devices, they are unsupported, and some features and metrics may not be available on unsupported platforms. For Android*, Graphics Performance Analyzers support Intel devices based upon the Intel® Atom™ processor and beta-level support for select ARM*-based devices. See the Release Notes for a break down of supported third-party devices and individual tool capabilities on those devices. When using Graphics Performance Analyzers in the client/target mode, the minimum requirements of the client system used to analyze either Windows* or Android* workloads are: Intel Core Processor with a minimum of 2GB of memory, though at least 4GB of memory and a 64-bit OS are highly recommended. When analyzing and taking frame captures of workloads on Android* devices, the target should have a minimum of 1GB system memory. More memory may be required for more complex OpenGL ES* 2.X/3.0 workloads.
Q: Do Graphics Performance Analyzers work with netbook computers and Intel Ultrabooks™?
A: Yes, the tool suite supports many popular netbook computers and Ultrabook systems. However, lower end systems may not have sufficient resources to run the tools. So if you encounter issues when running System Analyzer HUD or Graphics Frame Analyzer, use the client/target ("networked") version of these tools with a more powerful client system. A good suggestion for a client system would be a computer running a 64-bit OS with greater than 4GB of memory.
Q: Is Graphics Frame Analyzer supported on Windows* 32-bit platforms?
A: No - frame captures taken on 32-bit Windows* OS can be opened remotely from Graphics Frame Analyzer installed on a 64-bit Windows* OS platform. For more information, see Limited support for Windows* OS 32-bit platforms.
Once you have connected the System Analyzer or Graphics Frame Debugger to the target device, the Application List window displays two groups of applications available on your device:
Analyzable applications - have the proper permissions that enable System Analyzer to analyze any application from this list.
Non-analyzable applications - do not have the proper permissions and need to be modified.
To analyze an application from the Non-analyzable applications list, modify the application permissions as follows:
Open the AndroidManifest.xml file of your application.
Enable the Internet connection permission: <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET">
Enable the debuggable permission: <application android:debuggable="true">
Rebuild the application package and restart the System Analyzer.
The application appears in the Analyzable applications list and can now be analyzed.
Q: How do I get support for Graphics Performance Analyzers?
A: The primary support model for Graphics Performance Analyzers is through the product's Support Forum and Knowledge Base articles. At the Support Forum you can ask questions about the product, share your experiences with other users of the product, and ask for assistance should you encounter issues when using Graphics Performance Analyzers. The Knowledge Base contains various technical notes, "tips & tricks", training material, and pointers to other information that may be of interest to both novice and experienced users alike.
Q: Will Graphics Performance Analyzers support all future Intel graphics devices?
A: Intel intends to continue offering the tools that enable developers to take the best advantage of Intel graphics devices, both now and into the future. Intel will continue to identify, with close cooperation from developers, the best tools to enable optimization and performance of these devices.
Q: When analyzing Microsoft DirectX* applications, what should I expect to see if I attempt to use Graphics Performance Analyzers on non-supported graphics devices?
A: Features and performance will vary based upon the hardware capabilities of these other configurations. For example, on non-supported Windows* OS target devices the System Analyzer cannot provide many detailed GPU metrics, but many of the Graphics Frame Analyzer functions work on any graphics device (though again you will typically see fewer GPU metrics on these devices).
Q: What is your plan for supporting OpenGL* on the Windows* OS platform?
A: We are actively exploring enhancing Graphics Performance Analyzers to support OpenGL* on the Microsoft* Windows* OS -- if you have specific OpenGL* needs or feature requests, we would love to hear from you at the Support Forum. If you are analyzing Android* applications on phones or tablets based on Intel Atom processor, the product already supports the OpenGL* ES API on these platforms.
Q: How do I submit suggestions or feedback to the development team?
A: Use the Support Forum to submit suggestions on new features, and/or to comment on the features currently in the product.