A Hardware F-Buffer Implementation

Mike Houston, Arcot Preetham, and Mark Segal

Submitted to Graphics Hardware 2005


We describe the hardware F-Buffer implementation featured in the latest ATI graphics processors. We discuss the implementation choices made in each chip and the various implementation challenges faced like overflow handling. The F-Buffer was originally intended as a solution for multi-pass shading.We demonstrate this functionality, comparing it to traditional multi-pass rendering techniques, and show performance results. Given hardware FBuffer support, we describe extended uses like order independent blending. We also show how a future F-Buffer implementation might be extended to allow more advanced operations like data filtering.

Paper (pdf)