The state of OpenGL support by Intel

Hi all. I’ve started using OpenGL only recently and have made a nasty discovery: even though my netbook has an sm2 compatable chip, there was no opengl 2.0 support by the drivers and even worse, there was no FBO support under 1.4 either.

After doing some reading, I’m getting the impression that Intel doesn’t really care about supporting OpenGL and a large number of machines with intel cards won’t be able to use these simple features despite the hardware and dx driver supporting them.

How do developers deal with this issue? I’m writing an application where I’d really like to see sm2 equivalent capabilities and definitely require FBO. Is Intel planning to provide better support?

Most developers don’t support Intel cards, at all. Go in a shop, check out games’ requirements, they all require ATI or NV, Intel is mentioned nowhere.

If you are forced to support Intel, D3D might be a better choice, because Intel supports that a little better, but it’s still a problem. With OpenGL on Intel it is much much sadder. As far as i can tell, Intel won’t improve this in the foreseeable future.


Considering Intel’s market share in the gpu market, its hard to ignore them. I think most non-gaming machines have an intel chip.

“Intel’s market share in the gpu market”. Don’t forget that one basically cannot find a mobo for an Intel cpu without integrated gpu nowadays. This is because Intel are selling chipset+igpu combos at a much lower price than just the chipset.
Users that touch a 3D app (even if it’s DX) quickly learn what POS they’ve been sold. Laptop users are stuck with it, desktop users can easily get a decent gpu for $20.
The only way to mend the situation is to provide a software-rasterizer. The performance and power-consumption are the same anyway. Mesa seems up to the task, and I’ve seen apps provide internal rasterizers that cover only the necessary functionality.

By the by, if you don’t suffer from “It’s got to run on everything!” fever, which a big company might contract as a result of some cost benefit analysis, requiring that your potential customers meet a minimum hardware requirement isn’t all that unreasonable. Your garden variety line of business apps tend to target a more diverse and less demanding graphics crowd than your weekend warrior bunch, I grant you, but then that’s line of business (butt ugly).

Belly up to the economic reality bar, where you get what you pay for. :wink: