Is color space support tied to GPU/driver?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by nvmnghia, Jan 6, 2021.

  1. nvmnghia

    nvmnghia New Member

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    I have a laptop with HD4600, and want to buy an external monitor which supports DCI-P3 profile. However, I'm not sure whether my old iGPU can support that new color space.

    My question is: does HD4600 support DCI-P3? And generally, what (GPU, GPU driver, OS, software, or a combination of them) determines whether a system support monitor of a certain color space?
  2. umeng2002

    umeng2002 Maha Guru

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    Your computer just knows numbers.

    255,0,0 is just as red as red can be. You feed 255,0,0 to an sRGB monitor, you get an sRGB red primary. You feed it to a DCI-P3 monitor, you get the DCI-P3 red primary.

    You use 10 bit color, you get more gradations of color. So GPUs don't support or not support certain color spaces. They support color channels and bit depth.

    Now the question is, does your monitor only support DCI-P3 with only 10 bit or 12 bit color? Or does it also work with normal 8-bit color?

    Your monitor might also make many assumptions if you connect to it via HDMI, what HDMI standard your monitor and laptop use, and the limitations of that HDMI standard. HDMI is very much a consumer video standard, not the best for computer output namely because of the built in limitations and assumptions about color profiles, HDR, etc.

    Software side, Windows is an absolute mess with color management. Some Windows UI elements are color manage, some aren't, some that are only assume sRGB. It's very program specific. There is no good way to globally color manage everything in Windows. The easiest thing would be to not color manage and use an external 3D LUT in your monitor or video processor. If you use a few specific programs that color manage, like photoshop, then they offer lots of option that only work within the program.

    As it stands right now, generally, IF a program color manages, and if it is set to look at the Windows color management profile, it will correct hues only. When you log in to your account in Windows, if there is a gamma correction curve associated with the Windows color profile you have set, it will load the gamma curves into the GPU gamma correction curve table. Now certain program can reset the gamma curve and re apply it, etc. However, again, the color profile you MIGHT have set in Windows only corrects the hue/ color mapping and relies on loading the gamma correction into the GPU gamma correction table. Why don't GPU makers implement 3-D hardware color correction LUTs into GPUs? Color correction is more esoteric than audio to most consumers.

    Since DCI-P3 and rec 2020 are much bigger than sRGB and rec 709, content for them is usually meant for 10 or 12 bit color to avoid banding. Nothing is stopping you from using the wider color spaces with 8 bit color output... unless as I mentioned there is some artificial coded limitation in the software or display firmware.

    It can get complex quickly, I would advise you to read up on Windows color and general color management.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021

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