Microsoft Cross Adapter Scan-Out (CASO) delivers 16% FPS increse on laptops without dGPU/iGPU MUX switch

Published: Sep 26th 2023, 15:46 GMT   Comments

Microsoft CASO can deliver 16% higher FPS and 27% display latency reduction without MUX

Microsoft is addressing a fundamental challenge in today’s hybrid laptop designs. In this context, “hybrid” refers to laptops equipped with both integrated and discrete graphics units. These GPUs units can work together to improve power efficiency by sending the graphics tasks to either graphics subsystem, depending on how complex they are. However, on many laptops this also introduces a problem.

Typically, the iGPU is connected to the laptop’s display, with the dGPU/eGPU rendering game visuals and passing them to the iGPU for screen display. This setup balances performance and power efficiency, offloading demanding tasks to the dGPU for enhanced performance while conserving power through the iGPU. However, it involves a two-step process, with the dGPU/eGPU rendering frames first to a shared resource and then to the iGPU.

For gaming sessions demanding higher performance, the integrated GPU (iGPU) bottleneck can hinder the full potential of the discrete GPU (dGPU). NVIDIA’s Advanced Optimus and AMD’s Smart Access Graphics use a multiplexer (mux) to address this issue, allowing the dGPU to take over for gaming while the iGPU handles everyday tasks. This setup eliminates the need for data transfers between GPUs, maximizing gaming performance.

How multiplexers are used in laptops, Source: Misairu-G/Github

However, not all hybrid laptops have a mux solution, and using the dGPU can increase power consumption, reducing battery life. CASO simplifies things for laptops without a mux or with it disabled. It requires only one copy of rendered visuals, resulting in better FPS and lower display latency, offering a significant performance boost for hybrid laptops without specialized hardware.

Microsoft is claiming an average of 16% increase in FPS and 27% reduction in display latency when using CASO. The company is also claiming that there is a 45% decrease in TDRs (Timeout Detection and Recover Events), basically making these laptops more stable.

We first released CASO with support for DirectX 11 in 2021 and expanded its reach to DirectX 12 during early 2023, which means that CASO now supports almost all PC games.

In our tests, on a select set of popular PC games, we observed an average of ~16% FPS increase1 and ~27% display latency reduction. In addition, CASO contributed to a 45% decrease in timeout detection and recovery events (TDRs).

— Microsoft

According to Microsoft, this technology is already integrated into Windows 11 systems, and it is already part of the system. It has no minimum dGPU requirement and will work by default on supported devices.

NVIDIA has confirmed that CASO will work with all GeForce GPUs currently using drivers version r515 or newer. Intel GPUs will require Xe Graphics on INtel 11th Gen Core series or newer and WDDM driver model of 3.0 or newer. AMD Radeon 6000 GPUs or newer will support this technology with WDDM driver 3.1 or newer.

Source: Microsoft

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