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17038 Discussions

GLSL - Shaders issues


Hi, I am here to report potential bugs where all Intel HD/Iris seams to be impacted.

Test platform

CPU: i7-6700HQ

GPU: Intel HD 530 (drivers:

OS: Windows 10

Software: CEMU

Shaders use more RAM than needed

It seems like Intel's driver can commit up to several megabytes of RAM (CPU ram, not VRAM) for linked GLSL shader programs. As one would suspect, the amount of consumed RAM is somewhat proportional to the complexity of the shader program. However, it still seems much higher than it needs to be. For example, some of our more complex shader programs easily exceed 2MB. When dealing with high quantity of shaders, this becomes a huge problem.

Longer description:

In the application (CEMU) we generate shaders dynamically and they often end up being quite complex (Example Vertex and Fragment shader). Furthermore, we deal with large amounts of shaders, in the range of 5k to 20k. The problem we are facing is that the graphics driver allocates up to GBs of RAM just for compiled shaders. The question is, is this intended behavior or a bug? We already double and triple checked to make sure this is not a mistake on our end.

Here is a test application to demonstrate the issue. Source is available here (VS2015). It links one set of vertex + fragment shader 1000 times and then prints the amount of RAM commited by the application. The application itself does not allocate any extra memory. Additionally, the .zip comes with multiple sets of example shaders taken from our application to see the difference in RAM usage. For more details see main.cpp

Shaders get corrupted when stored and reloaded

On the same application we save compiled shaders for them to be reloaded at next launch with less calculation. It appears OpenGL implementation in Intel drivers is incorrect and shaders get corrupted when storing and reloading it via OpenGL's glGetProgramBinary() & glProgramBinary().

Some other observations that has been made:

Occurs on all driver versions and all Windows versions

RAM usage is proportional to complexity of shader (no surprise here)

Conditionals (if clauses and '?' operator) seem to massively increase RAM usage and compile times

The size of uniform buffer arrays only slightly affect RAM usage

Detaching and deleting shaders (glDetachShader+glDeleteShader) after glLinkProgram helps only a bit

Calling glDeleteProgram() correctly releases all memory, indicating there is no leak

Same problem occurs when the shader programs are loaded via glProgramBinary

Thanks in advance!

0 Kudos
3 Replies
Honored Contributor II

At least you should tell the name of the problematic game and your system specs as described at


EDIT: Added some information on my post.

Honored Contributor II

benjamin.lesueur schrieb:

EDIT: Added some information on my post.

With these infos you should get better support in the developer forum: Developing Games & Graphics on Intel