Microsoft recently inserted a new setting within Windows 10 which allows hardware-accelerated GPU Scheduling. The feature is certainly not new, but Microsoft included the same only after NVIDIA and AMD both added support for the feature within their select GPUs. Microsoft has now offered some interesting details about the implementation and benefits of switching on the hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling feature, which is currently off by default.
Microsoft introduced hardware-accelerated GPU Scheduling through the Windows 10 May 2020 20H1 v2004 Update. Additionally, the feature recently received driver support from Nvidia and AMD. Incidentally, Intel has confirmed it is working on new WDDM 2.7-based drivers to enable the feature.
Microsoft Explains Windows 10 Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling Feature And Its Benefits For Gamers:
Microsoft had enabled support for the GPU scheduler with the release of WDDM 1.0. GPU scheduler is a piece of code that assigns tasks to the GPU. However, the software has traditionally relied on the CPU installed in the computer to coordinate and schedule the work of various applications. The feature commanded a high-priority thread and hence consumed CPU resources.
The GPU scheduler has been significantly improved over the years. There have been several new features. However, the software continued to expect the CPU to bear the burden of scheduling. Needless to add, this introduces latency for the “work to reach the GPU”.
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Microsoft explains that the process worked well in the past as it allowed better synchronization between CPU and GPU. But it introduced some latency, which is also called user input lag. While not noticeable during normal office work, the same can be experienced by gamers.
The most common example is when the CPU is under heavy load, a few frames would be behind the user inputs as the CPU registers user inputs a frame before the GPU is able to render it. “User input is picked up by the CPU during “frame N+1” but is not rendered by the GPU until the following frame,” noted Microsoft.
With the refined hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling, Windows 10 can pass memory management control to a dedicated GPU-based scheduling processor. It is important to note that not all GPUs are built with such a specific hardware component. In other words, not all graphics cards will have the feature. In fact, Microsoft has confirmed the setting will be visible only on those systems where there is a compatible graphics card installed.
Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling To Improve Gaming On Low And Mid-Range CPUs?
Microsoft claims hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling should reduce the overhead of GPU scheduling and modernize a fundamental pillar of the graphics subsystem to set the “stage for things to come”. Simply put, Microsoft appears to have begun the process of transferring the duties of GPU scheduling on to the graphics card, and this feature should improve in future iterations of graphics cards as well as integrated GPUs.
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In its current iteration, the feature is clearly experimental. In fact, Microsoft has cautioned that more time is needed to finetune the same. Hence only experienced Windows 10 OS users or gamers should enable the feature, if available to them, after updating to Windows 10 v2004.
In order to attempt activation of the feature, Windows 10 OS users must first update their OS. Then download the latest NVIDIA GeForce 451.48 or AMD Adrenalin 2020 Edition 20.5.1 Beta driver. Intel is yet to offer an updated WDDM driver for the feature. After upgrading Windows 10 OS and installing compatible drivers, head over to System > Display > Graphics Settings and enable the “Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling” option, and restart the computer.