There's no specification available anywhere for the new extension in the 11.5 driver, GL_AMD_pinned_memory.
If the spec document isn't ready, could someone please just provide the basic information for the GL_AMD_pinned_memory ext?
We're going to get the specification posted on the OpenGL website as soon as possible. In the meantime, feel free to start experimenting. The extension itself is pretty simple. There is one new token: GL_EXTERNAL_VIRTUAL_MEMORY_AMD whose value is 0x9160. Create a buffer object, bind it to the GL_EXTERNAL_VIRTUAL_MEMORY_AMD target and call glBufferData to 'allocate' space. When the driver sees you do this, it will use the pointer you supply directly rather than copying the data (that is, the GPU will access your application's memory). You can then use the buffer for other purposes such as a UBO, TBO or VBO by binding it to the appropriate targets. Synchronization is left to the application - make use of glFenceSync and glWaitSync. To release the memory, simply call glBufferData again on the buffer object on a different target, or delete the buffer object. Don't free the memory in the application until you've detached it from the buffer object or bad stuff will happen.
I will try..
this works also on discrete graphics cards? (i.e. 5xxx cards and up for example?)
also any limits on buffer size? (for ex. 4Gbytes since current GPUs doesn't support 64bit addressing?)
Yes, this will work on discrete graphics cards. Keep in mind that any memory you access will go over the PCIe bus which will be limited to 3-4 GB/s. This will work much better on Fusion systems (APUs).
Theoretically, there isn't a limit to the amount of memory that can be pinned. However, when the OS pins memory, it removes it from the regular pagable pool and cannot swap it to disk (this is what pinning means). If you ask for too much, the OS will refuse to do it and the call will fail (the GL driver will return generate a GL_OUT_OF_MEMORY error). It is very likely that you'll hit this limit long before you run out of address space on the GPU, although in practice we do impose a moderate limit on the amount of pinned memory so as to not impact system stability and performance.
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