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A High Performance, Highly Scalable Software Rasterizer for OpenGL

For more information please send us an email.


The purpose of OpenSWR is to provide a high performance, highly scalable OpenGL compatible software rasterizer that allows use of unmodified visualization software. This allows working with datasets where GPU hardware isn't available or is limiting. OpenSWR is completely CPU-based, and runs on anything from laptops, to workstations, to compute nodes in HPC systems.

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OpenSWR internally builds on top of LLVM, and fully utilizes modern instruction sets like Intel® and Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX and AVX2) to achieve high rendering performance. The charts below illustrate the compelling advantage of OpenSWR over Mesa llvmpipe in a real application.

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OpenSWR is now fully integrated into Mesa and provides an SWR renderer that supports much of the OpenGL 3.3 Core and OpenGL 3.0 Compatibility contexts. Standard Mesa environment variables provide the ability to run-time switch between OpenSWR and llvmpipe software renderers.

For more detail, please see the "OpenSWR Overview" presented at the Intel® HPC Developers Conference at SC15.

How to build Mesa with OpenSWR:

Please follow instructions for Linux or Windows.


January 30, 2017

Added Windows build instructions, and moved instructions for both Linux and Windows to their own page.

July 8, 2016

Mesa 12.0 has been released and contains OpenSWR as an optional driver. Development work on OpenSWR is now done on the mesa git master repository.

Oct 19, 2015

Our initial public version of our Mesa+SWR integration work is now available from

Aug 9, 2015

Since the release of early alpha, we have been busy integrating our OpenSWR core into the Mesa project. This enables us to take advantage of a very mature, very feature complete driver stack that would have been very difficult to develop on our own.

The result is that OpenSWR now has far greater functionality than the OpenGL 1.4 features available in the first alpha release.

Dec 12, 2014

ALPHA release. This version is the first to be released to the public. Please bear with us if there are build or functionality issues. The major applications used for testing were ParaView and VisIt - if you are trying another program you may encounter missing features.

This version is coming out as we are working on some major cleanups to the code. In order to keep our commitment to release this to the community and to provide a well-tested version, we are releasing the code that was used for the SC14 demonstrations. The next major release will contain the cleanups.

The source code can be downloaded from here:

Dec 8, 2014
The slides for our OpenSWR-related talks at SC14 are now available:
Nov 13, 2014
There is an upcoming talk on OpenSWR at Supercomputing 2014: We will be posting the slides of this talk as soon as the event is over.