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Hardware acceleration support


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I would be really happy if LV start supporting hardware video acceleration. Sometimes we write programs ment for a specific OS, like Windows for example, and we're working with older computers that have weak processors but decent under-utilized graphics cards.

It would be awesome to have this support for those of us with large applications that don't want to go with purchasing active-x controls (which aren't much better). The majority of computers now-a-days have video acceleration so when the program is run local (often is in my case) then let it use the muscle it's got. Right now I feel like LV is Lance Armstrong in an arm wrestling competition... he ain't so "arm" strong but the legs... yeeeeaaaaaah.

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I'm not sure what you mean by "hardware acceleration", if you are simply referring to OpenGL acceleration, or all possible acceleration - some provide support for Windows GDI, Etc. We make system calls for most of our drawing commands, so if your card/driver optimize for GDI (on Windows) you will be getting HW Acceleration. On the mac, we are still using the QuickDraw (2D) APIs, so you won't see any acceleration there. Once we move to the new APIs, though, all cards with OpenGL acceleration will be utilized, as the new MacOS Drawing API is built on top of OpenGL.

To really get HW acceleration on all platforms, we'd have to move all of our drawing to OpenGL, and, well, anyone who has messed with it knows that drawing text is not simple. Also, we'd need to rely on Microsoft using a standard OpenGL implementation. Right now that's just not feasible, but I imagine with the Arrival of Vista more system calls will take advantage of HW acceleration, though I imagine most of their rendering will be built on top of DirectX rather than OpenGL. I'm not sure if card manufacturers are optimizing for this or not.

We certainly do look at things like this, but to be honest I haven't really heard that drawing speed really is an issue in LabVIEW. Most people are more concerned with crunching numbers faster. Of course, if more of the drawing is pushed off on the GPU, we'll have more of the CPU available for number crunching.


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Jason, thank you for the reply. I should have been more specific but yes, I think it would be nice if LV could use DirectX if it isn't currently doing so. What is the 3D graphing doing when "Use3DHardwareAcceleration" is set to True? Why is it the only indicator with this property?

I have an application that displays data rather fast and from an older post it was discovered that the graphics were all being rendered in software mode :( . Is this only for the 2D controls and indicators? Having some kind of option for the programmer to design software for a specific platform would be nice.

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None of the built-in LabVIEW controls (either the "new" 3D ones or classic controls) will use OpenGL or DirectX acceleration. As far as the 3D graph (which is really an ActiveX widget), I'm not sure what it was written with, but I'd guess DirectX. I'm not sure what the "Use HW Acceleration" option does, but I would guess it tells you whether HW acceleration is enabled. I'm guessing this is a function of your driver and video card, but honestly I do not know anything about the implementation of the 3D graph. Again, I'm not sure what you are referring to with "software mode", but all OpenGL calls are being done in software (for rendering the models for 3D controls), and that's the only OpenGL going on other than the 3D stuff you can do in the picture control. Everything else is up to the operating system, but as I said before we are using GDI calls on Windows and QuickDraw calls on Mac, neither of which are likely to be accelerated.

I think the best direction we could move in with regards to HW acceleration is to move to OpenGL, but again, drawing text is a pain, and there's a quite a bit of text on LV diagrams and front panels, even though it is a graphical language. This would, however, significantly simplify our internal draw manager.


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