To minimize CPU processing requirements for preparing and transferring data to a graphics processor, a graphics command processor is provided that supports application-level commands and references to the data associated with these commands. The graphics command processor parses the application command and data reference parameters, and subsequently fetches the appropriate graphics data from memory directly, without requiring additional CPU resources. To optimize performance, the graphics command processor fetches the data in parallel with the parsing and processing of the application commands from the CPU. The graphics command processor also includes a processing unit that converts the data from the format used by the application program to the format used for rendering. The graphics command processor creates the commands and data sequences used by a graphics engine to render each object of the image. Because the graphics command processor is closely coupled with the graphics engine, a number of efficiency can be gained, particularly with regard to the transfer of related data items. The processing of the primitive graphic command and data sequences by the graphics engine is asynchronous with the receipt of subsequent commands from the CPU and the fetching of subsequent data associated with the commands from the memory. In this manner, the latency associated with the conventional sequential processing of graphics data is minimized.