OpenGL 4.1 Specification Ensures Better Graphics Performance

Written By Sam on 27 July 2010

The Khronos group announced the release of the OpenGL 4.1 Specification. This will enhance the standards that drive high-performance graphics on Mac OS X, PC’s and mobile devices by extending the latest graphics functionality to the most sophisticated and commonly implemented cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics API.

This new version of the cross-platform, open-source computer graphics API ensures full backwards compatibility, allowing significant portions of the core feature enhancements to be applied to previous-generation graphics hardware.

New functionality in the core OpenGL 4.1 specification

  • Full compatibility with OpenGL ES 2.0 APIs for easier porting between mobile and desktop platforms
  • The ability to query and load a binary for shader program objects to save re-compilation time
  • The capability to bind programs individually to programmable stages for programming flexibility
  • 64-bit floating-point component vertex shader inputs for higher geometric precision
  • Multiple viewports for a rendering surface for increased rendering flexibility

New ARB extensions introduced with OpenGL 4.1

  • OpenGL sync objects linked to OpenCL event objects for enhanced OpenCL interoperability
  • The ability to set stencil values in a fragment shader for enhanced rendering flexibility
  • Features to improve robustness, for example when running WebGL applications
  • Callback mechanisms to receive enhanced errors and warning messages

Khronos has simultaneously released another set of ARB extensions to enable significant amounts of core OpenGL 4.1 functionality on previous-generation GPU hardware, “providing maximum flexibility and platform coverage for application developers,” according to a press release.

The full specification can be downloaded at

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