AMD to Offer OpenGL 4.1 Support on Windows and Linux Platforms

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AMD has published a press release about its commitment to the OpenGL community:

Sunnyvale, CA —1/24/2011

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced wide-ranging support of OpenGL® 4.1 for Microsoft Windows® 7, Windows® Vista, Windows® XP and Linux across select ATI FirePro™, ATI FireGL™ and AMD Radeon™ graphics cards. The new functionality is made possible with the release of the latest professional and consumer graphics drivers, ATI FirePro™ and ATI FireGL™ unified driver 8.801, and AMD CatalystTM 10.12, available on the AMD website.

“AMD has a long tradition of supporting open industry standards, and with the announcement of support for OpenGL 4.1, we continue to demonstrate that commitment,” said Janet Matsuda, general manager, AMD professional graphics. “Maintaining OpenGL as a strong and viable graphics API is very important to AMD and we are proud to support the OpenGL development community.”

“The Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. R&D team is focused on offering the best user experience possible by enabling real-time OpenGL rendering,” said Ron Bates, Senior Manager, Graphical Applications, Dassault Systèmes. “AMD, through its close collaboration with Dassault Systèmes, and its optimized OpenGL implementation and consistent support, presents SolidWorks users with an extraordinary graphics experience.”

AMD’s driver for OpenGL 4.1 includes:

  • Full compatibility with the OpenGL 4.1 standard on AMD’s most recent graphics products including ATI FirePro™ V3800, ATI FirePro™ V4800, ATI FirePro™ V5800, ATI FirePro™ V7800, ATI FirePro™ V8800 and ATI FirePro™ V9800 and the AMD Radeon™ HD 6900 and AMD Radeon™ HD 6800 graphics cards:
    • Improved OpenCL™ interoperability for accelerating computationally intensive visual applications
    • Continued support for both the Core and Compatibility profiles first introduced with OpenGL 3.2, enabling developers to use a streamlined API or retain backwards compatibility for existing OpenGL code, depending on their needs
    • Easier porting between mobile and desktop platforms with full OpenGL ES 2.0 API compatibility
    • Ability to query and load a binary for shader program objects to save re-compilation time
    • Capability to bind programs individually to programmable stages for programming flexibility
    • Higher geometric precision with 64-bit floating-point component vertex shader inputs
    • Increased rendering flexibility with multiple viewports for a rendering surface
  • Support for new ARB extension introduced with OpenGL 4.1:
    • Ability to set stencil values in a fragment shader for enhanced rendering flexibility
    • Callback mechanisms to receive enhanced errors and warning messages


11 thoughts on “AMD to Offer OpenGL 4.1 Support on Windows and Linux Platforms”

  1. Christophe

    “Support for new ARB extension introduced with OpenGL 4.1:
    Ability to set stencil values in a fragment shader for enhanced rendering flexibility
    Callback mechanisms to receive enhanced errors and warning messages”

    Except that GL_ARB_debug_output is still not supported!

  2. jK

    “Except that GL_ARB_debug_output is still not supported!”
    Are you sure?
    Note, that there hint in the docs of the extension:
    | For performance reasons it is recommended, but not required, that
    | implementations restrict supporting this extension only to
    | contexts created using the debug flag as provided by
    | WGL_create_context or GLX_create_context.


    Now if they could only work with Apple to get the OS X drivers up to speed, OpenGL’s promise of cross-platform development will be closer to reality.

    The latest Steam survey shows that 17% of Windows gamers are actually using DX10/DX11 GPUs on Windows XP, which is 21% of all DX10/DX11 GPU owners. Seeing obtaining Windows XP is no longer simple for the end user, those users building computers with the latest GPUs with Windows XP are probably the hardcore users, which presumably are a tempting audience for game developers. In this environment, I would think OpenGL would be more appealing allowing an OpenGL 3.3/4.1 game to full take advantage of DX10/DX11 GPUs whether the user is running Windows XP, Vista, 7, Linux or OS X, again if Apple gets their drivers together.

  4. Leith Bade

    I still wonder if RAGE will be using OpenGL 3? If so that would be the first DX10 game on Windows XP…

    Though Chronicles of Riddick looks stunning using only ARB assembly, not even GLSL!

  5. John

    It doesn’t matter the percentage of XP gamers with DX10 GPUs. As long as OpenGL drivers are less reliable (i.e. buggier) than their DX9 counterparts, developers will continue to shun OpenGL on Windows. Just Cause 2 would have been a good game to use OpenGL, and they opted to scrap XP support altogether rather than write an OpenGL engine.


    I guess the driver bugginess vs. developer support is a chicken and the egg problem. Perhaps things will change in the lead up to id Tech 5 and RAGE as was the case where id Tech 4 and Doom’s impending release motivated ATI and nVidia to refocus on their OpenGL drivers for both bugginess and performance rather than just continually adding more feature checkboxes. Although I believe back then it took John Carmack commenting about driver bugs on the web for all to see before OEMs were really motivated to get cracking so maybe some high profile exposure is needed here too.

    I was surprised Valve didn’t make their new OpenGL codepath in the Source engine available for Windows users when they added OS X support. Seeing the Source Engine is flexible enough to scale from DX6.0 to DX9.0, supporting another code path for OpenGL in Windows probably wouldn’t be a big issue for them and would be useful as a beta test for user feedback and put some usage numbers and shipping code out there for AMD and nVidia to consider optimizing to. Seeing the Source Engine doesn’t yet support DX10 or DX11, and will continue to support OS X and possibly Linux going forward, OpenGL 3.x/4.x would be a prime candidate here for their next-gen codepath across all platforms with the existing DX9.0c and OpenGL 2.1 codepaths retained for legacy support and SM2.0 and below discarded. Certainly if Valve announced they were planning on trialing an OpenGL 3.x codepath for Portal 2 or as part of Team Fortress 2’s return to beta, I think OEMs would suddenly develop an interest in going over their OpenGL drivers very carefully.

  7. WacKEDmaN

    AMD say they will support OpenGL4.1..
    but will all the extensions be implemented?

    looking at their history…i think not..not until OpenGL 5!

  8. wreck'd

    Hey, does opengl4 have something like “dynamic shader linkage”? I was thinking about porting my dx11 renderer to ogl4… Google didn’t give any proper answers :/

  9. John

    This announcement is old news for users with Radeon HD products as their press release references Catalyst 10.12 … which was out for over a month!

    Id Tech 5 will use Direct3D 9 for its Windows port. OpenGL isn’t seriously considered anymore by the big companies when it comes to Windows gaming. Indie gaming companies may do it, but that is the quickest way for them to support multiple platforms. The #1 Technical Issue for the developers of Amnesia Dark Descent has been Windows OpenGL drivers. I’m sure that they will seriously considering adding a Direct3D renderer to their next game. Valve has no incentive to port an OpenGL version of Source to Windows, since the Direct3D 9 version has worked fine for half a decade. Gamers don’t care which API is used to render pretty graphics, as long as it is rendered correctly.

    It is a chicken and egg problem. However, Microsoft has made Direct3D a more reliable API for Windows developers. This can not be said about OpenGL, where there is no reference rasterizer, and its features are dependent on driver releases by the IHV. If you own a system where you are unable to obtain a driver update (e.g. an AMD-based laptop), no new OpenGL features!

  10. DrBalthar

    Doubt since ID5 Rage will run on 360 as it needs to target multiplatform they would be wise to stick with Direct3D for Windows. It makes a lot more sense. Development is a lot smoother with Direct3D than with OpenGL

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