In computer design it is a truism that smaller means faster.
All modern personal computers include special-purpose hardware to accelerate rasterized 2D and 3D rendering. With the exception of the interface that connects the PC to the display, this hardware is, strictly speaking, unnecessary, because the rendering could be done on the PC’s general-purpose processor. In this chapter we consider why PCs include special-purpose rendering hardware, how that hardware is organized, how it is exposed to you, the graphics programmer, and how it efficiently accelerates 3D rendering and other algorithms.
The history of computing includes many examples of failed special-purpose computing ...