Monthly Archives: July 2008

BFGTech GeForce GTX 280 OCX Review

BFGTech’s GeForce GTX 280 OCX reviewed at [H]Enthusiast. This GeForce GTX 280 is compared to the stock-clocked GTX 280 as well as ATI’s best offering.

Read the complete review HERE.

The Verdict:
BFGTech has put out a solid product in the GeForce GTX 280 OCX, and they have made great progress towards bringing it down to a reasonable cost now. We do think that it is however a bit too expensive for the value it represents. The GTX 280 OCX does not game considerably better than a reference-clocked GeForce GTX 280, which costs a bit less.

The biggest problem right now for gamers is the games; we simply need more demanding games to see the kind of performance that the OCX branding is capable of. We don’t really have any games, except for Crysis to challenge these video cards.

One Trillion unique URLs for Google!

From Google’s blog, Google has indexed 1 trillion (1,000,000,000,000) unique URLs on the web!

We’ve known it for a long time: the web is big. The first Google index in 1998 already had 26 million pages, and by 2000 the Google index reached the one billion mark. Over the last eight years, we’ve seen a lot of big numbers about how much content is really out there. Recently, even our search engineers stopped in awe about just how big the web is these days — when our systems that process links on the web to find new content hit a milestone: 1 trillion (as in 1,000,000,000,000) unique URLs on the web at once!

XFX GeForce GTX 280 1GB XXX: Enough to stop the competition?

At one point of time, the NVIDIA GT200 was thought to be a formidable chip that noone could touch, but it ended up getting tamed by ATI’s RV770. With ATI’s R700 coming round the corner and the current Radeon HD 4870 512MB making the GeForce GTX 260 896MB look ordinary, there are only two options: overclock the current GT200, or shrink it (GT200b).

VR-Zone has reviewed an overclocked NVIDIA GT200-based GeForce GTX 280 card from XFX, the XFX GeForce GTX 280 1GB XXX. You can read the complete review HERE.

The XFX GeForce GTX 280 1GB XXX has proven itself to be the fastest single card on the market at present. It ran flawlessly at its factory overclocked speeds of 670/1458/1250 without problems. Power consumption was just a little more than a reference GeForce GTX 280, coming in at a peak of 410W from the readout of our wall socket power meter. Temperatures were also kept in check, with the card idling at 46ºC and peaking at 79ºC during our load test. The XFX card’s fan behaviour was similiar and not any louder compared to the reference GeForce GTX 280.

For enthusiasts who find that the card still isn’t fast enough, there is still some headroom for overclocking, which by doing so, can rival a CrossFired ATI Radeon HD 4870 setup. As a general rule-of-thumb, make sure you have good cooling to ensure stable operation.

NVIDIA Big Bang II – OpenGL 3.0

NVIDIA Big Bang II is the code name for release 180 of NVIDIA’s graphics drivers. R180 has five bullet points: 10-bit displayport support, OpenGL 3.0, SLI on multi-monitors, transcoding on the GPU, some performance ‘optimisations’ over R177 and they come autumn.

Nvidia Big Bang II @

So many rumors from a blurry image, then imagine if it was clear… 😉

XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX Review

XFX’s GeForce GTX 260 640Mb reviewed at Hardware Secrets.
Read the full review HERE.

XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX was up to 19% faster than the standard GeForce GTX 260, depending on the program and video configuration. You will achieve, on average, a 10% performance increase with this overclocked model from XFX, which is quite interesting, as it costs around 10% more than the standard GTX 260.

Kümmel Mandelbrot Benchmark

The aim of this program is to explore the possibilities of modern 32bit CPU’s how to speed up (without any loss of precision or non-exact calculation) the traditional Mandelbrot algorithm including also full support for multiple cores. The Mandelbrot algorithm is implemented with double precision floating point numbers. You will find 3 different in the archive file:

  • KMB_V0.53H-32b-MT_FPU…..: only standard FPU code is used for calculation
  • KMB_V0.53H-32b-MT_SSE2….: SSE2 tuned version almost best for all CPU’s
  • KMB_V0.53H-32b-MT_SSE2_PM.: SSE2 tuned version especially for Intel Pentium M and Intel Core1 CPUs (it’s in fact KMB_V0.53G-32b-MT_SSE2 as Version H was slower)

Download Kümmel Mandelbrot Benchmark HERE.

Here are my scores on an old clock-stock Core2Duo 6600:

Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 Review

Sapphire’s Radeon HD 4870 reviewed at Hardware Secrets.

Read the full review HERE.

In most scenarios Sapphire HD 4870 was between 20% and 30% faster than Sapphire HD 4850, but on some games like Quake 4 and Half-Life 2: Episode Two both cards achieved a similar performance, depending on the video configuration used.

Sapphire HD 4870 and GeForce GTX 260 achieved a similar performance in most scenarios. The only time that GeForce GTX 260 was faster than Sapphire HD 4870 was on Call of Duty 4 at 2560×1600 maxing out image quality settings (11% faster). In all other configurations on this game both cards achieved the same performance level.

OpenGL and Mobile Devices: Round 2

Richard S. Wright Jr. the lead author of The OpenGL SuperBible, wrote about the intersection of OpenGL and mobile devices.

Read his complete article HERE.

The graphics hardware behind the iPhone and iPod Touch is a PowerVR MBX Lite, which uses Tile-Based Deferred Rendering.

There are a few limitations you should know from the start:
* There is no stencil or accumulation buffer.
* There are only two texture units.
* The maximum texture size is 1024×1024 (use power of two only).
* The maximum space for textures and surfaces is 24MB.
* Only 2D textures are supported.
* There is no software rendering fallback.

The PowerVR chip uses a full floating-point pipeline throughout. The OpenGL lighting model is fully hardware accelerated, and there is no need to use fixed-point values for either lighting and material values, or vertex data. For best performance, use directional lights instead of point lights when possible, and try to always use indexed strips for geometry submission. To minimize bandwidth, you can use unsigned byte values for colors, and either unsigned byte or shorts instead of floats for texture coordinates.

Developer vs The Others

Here is an article about the the dynamics of many companies and their approach to developers. The final conclusion of this funny article is (very good!):

  • A developer can do the job of “the others” – maybe (and often) not very well, but they can do it.
  • the others” can not do the job of a developer – not even badly.

Read the complete article HERE.

DirectX 9 to DirectX 11, where did 10 go?

Here is an analysis, by a game developer called Susheel, of the new things that DirectX 11 will bring.

Read the complete analysis HERE.

What is really interesting to see is the emergence of what Microsoft terms as the Compute Shader, no doubt a marketing speak for GPGPU which they claim will allow the GPU, with it’s awesome power to be used for more than just graphics, which smells like CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) to me.

Issues like multi-threaded rendering/resource handling are things that were long time coming and yes, it’s a good thing we will finally see them in the newer version. It just makes my job as a game developer a whole lot easier. Most details on Shader Model 5.0 are pretty sketchy, so I won’t go into things like shader length and function recursion. However, I hope such issues are addressed satisfactorily in the newer shader model.

Microsoft is still fixated on releasing version 11 only for Vista, so don’t expect your XP machines to ever run DirectX 11 even if you buy brand new hardware.

OpenGL Bootcamp at the Big Nerd Ranch October 2008

Big Nerd Ranch announces the October 2008 session of OpenGL Bootcamp. This intensive 5-day training course will arm you with the knowledge to make your 2D and 3D visualizations fly! As problem sets explode in complexity, radical gains in performance have resulted from moving traditional graphics processing from the CPU to graphics hardware. If you are doing any work concerning graphics, then you must know OpenGL and this class is the fastest way to master the ideas and techniques of OpenGL programming. By taking full advantage of hardware acceleration, shaders, blending, textures and video we’ll help you get the most out of your data. Learn how OpenGL works, what functionality it does and does not provide, various optimization methods for both static and dynamic data, and much more. The course will provide libraries and frameworks for abstracting the operating system and allowing the student to focus solely on learning OpenGL.

Read more HERE.