Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers (Intel® GPA) FAQ

Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers (Intel® GPA) FAQ


Table of Contents

General Product Information

Using Intel® GPA

Technical Requirements

Product Support


General Product Information

Q: What is Intel GPA, and what do I use it for?
A: Intel GPA is a powerful, agile tool suite 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* OS. Intel GPA 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 does Intel GPA support?
A: Intel GPA supports multiple analysis and target operating systems. Here is a table summarizing the supported platforms:

Target Platform
(where your game runs)
Client/Analysis Platform
(your development system)
Target Graphics
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* 10.7, 10.8
Ubuntu* OS 11.10, 12.04
OpenGL* ES 1.0, 2.0

See the Intel GPA Release Notes for detailed product information on each of these platforms.

Q: Is Intel GPA really free?
A: The product is available at no charge for our valued development community -- to download Intel GPA visit the Intel GPA Home Page.

Q: How does Intel GPA 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: Intel GPA offers complementary profiling capabilities to other Intel tools focused on debugging and deep hotspot analysis. Intel GPA can help determine whether potential performance bottlenecks exist, and offers 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 Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA?
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 Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA 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 the Android* OS. When possible, Intel GPA accesses hardware metrics in these devices for more accurate measurements of the game's use of the rendering pipeline.
  • Task timeline visualization: Use the Intel® GPA 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 Intel GPA to improve the performance of "real world" games?
A: Many developers have utilized Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA?
A: To find out more about the Intel GPA tool suite, visit the Intel GPA Home Page. The product home page provides detailed information about the tool, including information on how to download the tool, training and support resources, and videos on the product to help you get started quickly.

Using Intel® GPA

Q: How do I start using Intel GPA?
A: It is pretty easy to get started with Intel GPA -- most game developers start using Intel GPA immediately after installing the package, since Intel GPA uses 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 Intel® GPA Platform Analyzer, which requires that you add some code to designate individual threads). To get you up and running quickly, check out the Intel GPA Online Help, which explains how to use the product features.

Q: How difficult is it to learn how to use the product?
A: Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA enables 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 Intel GPA find?
A: If you have performance "hot spots" within your game, Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA System Analyzer and Intel GPA Frame Analyzer help identify optimization opportunities in my game?
A: Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA System Analyzer finds that your game is CPU-bound, perform additional fine-tuning of your application using  Intel GPA Platform Analyzer or one of the Intel performance optimization products such as Intel® Parallel Studio or Intel® VTune™ Amplifier XE Performance Profiler.
  • If the Intel GPA System Analyzer finds that you game is GPU-bound, use the Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA Platform Analyzer help identify optimization opportunities in my game?
A: The Intel GPA 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. The Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA seems to be targeting game developers, will Intel GPA work with other graphics applications?
A: Intel GPA is primarily designed to solve the performance optimization needs of game developers, and for media application developers. However, the features of Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA?
A: The Intel GPA System Analyzer and the Intel GPA Frame Analyzer tools can analyze your game without any code modifications or special libraries. This is possible because Intel GPA accesses 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 Intel GPA Platform Analyzer, you will benefit by inserting Intel® Instrumentation and Tracing Technology (Intel® ITT) API calls that tag the various tasks in your game code -- but you will have to do this once, as the Intel® ITT library used by Intel GPA is also used by a number of other Intel performance analysis tools.

Technical Requirements

Q: What are the Intel® GPA system requirements?
A: As the specific requirements depend both upon your target platform and analysis platform, read the Intel GPA release notes for detailed system requirements.

Q: What graphics devices does Intel® GPA support?
A: When the target platform is Windows* OS, Intel® GPA supports Intel® HD graphics (including Intel® HD Graphics 2000/3000 or higher). Although Intel GPA may work with other graphics devices, they are unsupported, and some features and metrics may not be available on unsupported platforms. For the Google* Android* OS, Intel GPA only supports Intel phones and tablets based upon the Intel® Atom™ processor. Other Android* phones or tablets are not supported, and you should not attempt to run Intel GPA on unsupported Android* devices. When using Intel GPA 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.

Q: Does Intel® GPA work with netbook computers and Intel Ultrabooks™?
A: Yes, Intel® GPA supports many popular netbook computers and Ultrabook systems. However, lower end systems may not have sufficient resources to run the Intel GPA tools. So if you encounter issues when running Intel GPA System Analyzer HUD or Intel GPA 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 Intel® GPA Frame Analyzer supported on Windows* 32-bit platforms?
A: No - frame captures taken on 32-bit Windows* OS can be opened remotely from Intel GPA Frame Analyzer installed on a 64-bit Windows* OS platform. For more information, see Intel® GPA: Limited support for Windows* OS 32-bit platforms.

Product Support

Q: How do I get support for Intel GPA?
A: The primary support model for Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA. 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 Intel GPA 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 Intel® GPA 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 Intel GPA System Analyzer cannot provide many detailed GPU metrics, but many of the Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA 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 Intel GPA Support Forum to submit suggestions on new features, and/or to comment on the features currently in the product.

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


Para obtener más información sobre las optimizaciones del compilador, consulte el aviso sobre la optimización.