Low-Decoding-Latency Buffer Compression for Graphics Processing Units


Power consumption is the key design factor for graphics processing units (GPUs), especially for mobile applications. The increasing bandwidth required to produce more realistic graphics is a major power draw. To address this factor, in this paper, we present a new universal buffer compression method that can handle both color and depth data with the same hardware unit. In contrast to the current state-of-art technologies, which mainly focus on achieving higher and higher compression ratios but discarded the decompression latency, our method reaches a good compromise between the two, which are factors critical to system performance. With spatial prediction and bitstream rearrangement, the data dependencies between different samples are reduced, which enables a parallel decoding process and makes the proposed system have 6.78 times lower decoding latency. Moreover, by adopting a similar concept for the color/depth compression in the DXT5 texture compression method, better quality in terms of PSNR can be achieved without introducing any decoding latency when retrieving a texel.

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