Coenciding with the start of SIGGRAPH 2011, Khronos has released version 4.2 of the OpenGL specification. Khronos routinely updates the OpenGL specification to add new features to the API for existing hardware and this update is no different, coming a little over a year after the release of the OpenGL 4.1 specification. As with 4.1 this is primarily for use with DX11 class hardware (GeForce 400/500, Radeon HD 5000/6000), however NVIDIA's developer site mentions that some features can be made available as extensions to work with hardware as old as OpenGL2/DX9 class hardware.

Notable new features in OpenGL 4.2 include:

  • Enabling shaders with atomic counters and load/store/atomic read-modify-write operations to a single level of a texture. These capabilities can be combined, for example, to maintain a counter at each pixel in a buffer object for single-rendering-pass order-independent transparency;
  • Capturing GPU-tessellated geometry and drawing multiple instances of the result of a transform feedback to enable complex objects to be efficiently repositioned and replicated;
  • Modifying an arbitrary subset of a compressed texture, without having to re-download the whole texture to the GPU for significant performance improvements;
  • Packing multiple 8 and 16 bit values into a single 32-bit value for efficient shader processing with significantly reduced memory storage and bandwidth, especially useful when transferring data between shader stages.

Currently NVIDIA has released their first OpenGL 4.2 drivers for developers, while AMD is expecting to release beta drivers soon.

Source: BusinessWire

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  • phatboye - Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - link don't need to upgrade to the newest version of Windows to use the newest version of OpenGL which means that the millions of people who are still using WinXP can benefit from this update. It's also pretty cool that Nvidia claims this update can be rolled to older generations of video cards.
  • BuddyRich - Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - link

    While true, it would be nice if game makers actually supported it...(other than ID)...

    Worse are the games that have OS checks that arbitrarily prohibit installs on older OSes for no reason.

    Though really, XP is dead and gone, Win7 is better than XP in almost every way.
  • inighthawki - Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - link

    Usually if a game has an OS check. Sometimes it may use an OS function that only exists in a specific version or higher, even though that function may rarely, if ever, be called by engine code.

    Having used both OpenGL and DirectX as a developer myself, I can say hands down that DirectX has the superior interface and API. On top of that it is far easier to use. Even Carmack has stated that DirectX is superior to OpenGL. (Search the web)

    Perhaps is OpenGL stopped worrying about backwards compatibility and also made a user-friendly API not made of entirely C calls, more people might use it.
  • inighthawki - Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - link

    Apparently one cannot insert a link into a post without it being seen as spam. Try this:
    http:// www. bit-tech. net/news/gaming/2011/03/11/carmack-directx-better-opengl/
    (Remove spaces, or just google "Carmack DirectX" and you will find a bunch of articles)
  • dudeshadow - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    It really doesn't matter. DirectX has been losing market share as fast IE. The huge API flaw is that it only works with Windows and Xbox. Everyone else use OpenGL especially OpenGL ES. As a developer myself, I know that almost no makes there own 3D engine any more, and most 3d engines are designed to run either API.
  • nyran125 - Saturday, October 1, 2011 - link

    theres been no reason for me to update AT ALL, NONE, Directx10 was not a good enough reason to go to vista. Theres only 1 reason id want to upgrade OS now and thats BF3. BUT THATS IT!!! Ive had no issues with the quality of Directx9 in todays games whatsoever, they look great on highest settings in Directx9 so i havent needed to upgrade till now. Till BF3. Even BF3 doesnt really look that much better than Crysis 2 in Directx9 on highest settings.

    So all the people stating that XP is dead and gone, you probably updated to that awful vista too and youll probably update to Windows 8 also even though its mainly catering to Tablets and touchscreens.

    Also a lot of people dont like to upgrade OS because they use software and hardware on thier older OS's. Upgrading OS can sometimes be difficult to play older games also and you sometimes have to wait 6 months to a YEAR on a new OS.

    Most thigns will play on 64bit WIN7 however after 6-12 months of patching. Not all of use see the point in upgrading to the latest thing out , if the latest thing isnt worth the trouble and the effort.

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