Graphics for the Masses: A Hardware Rasterization Architecture for Mobile Phones
Paper in proceedings, 2003
The mobile phone is one of the most widespread devices with rendering capabilities. Those capabilities have been very limited because the resources on such devices are extremely scarce; small amounts of memory, little bandwidth, little chip area dedicated for special purposes, and limited power consumption. The small display resolutions present a further challenge; the angle subtended by a pixel is relatively large, and therefore reasonably high quality rendering is needed to generate high fidelity images.
To increase the mobile rendering capabilities, we propose a new hardware architecture for rasterizing textured triangles. Our architecture focuses on saving memory bandwidth, since an external memory access typically is one of the most energy-consuming operations, and because mobile phones need to use as little power as possible. Therefore, our system includes three new key innovations: 1) an inexpensive multisampling scheme that gives relatively high quality at the same cost of previous inexpensive schemes, II) a texture minification system, including texture compression, which gives quality relatively close to trilinear mipmapping at the cost of 1.33 32-bit memory accesses on average, III) a scanline-based culling scheme that avoids a significant amount of z-buffer reads, and that only requires one context. Software simulations show that these three innovations together significantly reduce the memory bandwidth. and thus also the power consumption.