CPU or GPU for Cesium?

I am noticing slow responses from a cesium application and want to know what we can do to improve it.

I am using vm with an intel xeon 4 core CPU and 16 GB ram. Do I need to add more cores or maybe a GPU? In what scenarios, should a GPU be used for cesium?

Hi @rpereira1

CesiumJS relies on WebGL, which is hardware accelerated using the GPU. You should have no issues running CesiumJS on an integrated, discrete or mobile GPU. Could you share a Sandcastle demonstrating a sample scene where you are seeing performance issues? Additionally, it would be helpful if you could share the output from WebGL Report.


I cannot share a sandcastle because the data is proprietary.

Here is the WebGL report:


That’s ok @rpereira1.

From the WebGL report, it seems like SwiftShader, a CPU-based implementation of Vulkan is being used. I think adding a GPU would help performance quite a lot.

What kind of VM is this? Some environments support either pass-through or (better) emulated integrated GPUs. Falling all the way back to SwiftShader means that the browser couldn’t use any kind of accelerated video driver, and it’s a big red flag.

I’m running into this with users who are in a secure VM environment, where it’s a known issue. They suggested I file a bug with Google – feel free to follow along there.

Of course, if Cesium can do anything to optimize its performance under SwiftShader, that would be great too. But for @rpereira1 , if you can possibly get off of SwiftShader, you really should.

Thanks for the response! I will check the type of VM and see if we can get a GPU.


Adding an integrated GPU might take awhile. Are there any other options we can use to make the vm more performant? It currently has 16GB of RAM and 4 cores. I can see the 4 cores are at 100% usage so would adding more cores help? Any other options?

I can see the 4 cores are at 100% usage so would adding more cores help? Any other options?

I can only guess that since you’re using SwiftShader, which is using the CPU to essentially emulate a GPU, perhaps adding more cores could improve performance - but that’s a SwiftShader concern not a CesiumJS one. Typically, a single instance of CesiumJS running on a system would not demand a CPU usage that high (unless there is lots of custom geometry etc. being updated regularly).

Just to make sure this is clear, “integrated” GPU means one built into a hardware CPU. A standalone video card is a “dedicated” GPU. The idea of “adding” an integrated GPU to a VM really means passing through hardware-accelerated video rendering instructions to the (real) GPU portion of your host CPU. Typically, this is either a pretty simple configuration option in your VM environment, or it’s totally impossible. In the case I linked above, it is totally impossible to use hardware acceleration via integrated (on-CPU) video drivers, for security reasons.

So, maybe you could provide a bit more detail? It could be possible, or impossible, but I can’t think how it “might take a while”.

It is a process for the customer to add GPU’s. They are planning to loan me another vm with a dedicated GPU