Monthly Archives: August 2008

[Geeks3D-Test] ATI Catalyst 8.8 vs 8.7: OpenGL Performance Drop


Catalyst 8.8 graphics drivers have been released few days ago, and today, or better this evening I’ve done some tests with oZone3D.Net OpenGL Benchmarks and a Radeon HD 3870 (stock clocks). I also used Lightsmark 2008 in order to have another OpenGL 2.0 application to confirm oZone3D.Net OpenGL benchmarks.


Here are the results, rather unexpected

Catalyst 8.7 Catalyst 8.8 Diff
FurMark 1280×1024 3100 3229 +4%
FluidMark 1280×1024 954 937 -1.8%
Soft Shadows Branching OFF 3384 2590 -23%
Soft Shadows Branching ON 4088 2993 -26%
Surface Deformer 13526 10332 -23%
Lightsmark 2008 391 376 -4%
TOTAL Sum 25443 20457 -18%


System Configuration: Core 2 Duo E8400 default clock, motherboard EVGA 790i Ultra SLI, 2Gb DDR3 1333, HIS Radeon HD 3870 default clocks, Catalyst 8.8 XP32, Windows XP SP2 32-bit.

Global Performance Drop: 18%. OpenGL performance tumbled by around 26% in dynamic branching (soft shadows), around 23% in vertex processing (surface deformer) and around 4% in Lightsmark 2008. Only FurMark takes advantage of Catalyst 8.8 with a little 4% of performance boost. FurMark makes an intensive use of texture fetching and blending (ROPs) and maybe ATI has improved something in this part of Catalyst. But as said hereafter, Expreview has noticed a performance drop with a Radeon HD 4850 and FurMark. I don’t have such a radeon and then I can’t confirm this last result but FurMark score is somewhat weird…

Expreview on his side, has tested the Catalyst 8.8 with an ATI Radeon HD 4850 and compared to Catalyst 8.7, the new driver boosts the performance in games. If you have a Radeon HD 4850, Expreview recommends you update to Catalyst 8.8. But if you look at the results more seriously, you can notice that scores are boosted mainly for DirectX 10 titles. In other OpenGL or DirectX 9 titles, there is no or a little boost only. And with FurMark, Expreview has the same kind of performance drop I had with the HD 3870.

TweakTown in his Catalyst 8.8 review has also experienced a severe OpenGL performance drop with Radeon HD 3870 and Cinebench, the OpenGL benchmark derived from Cinema 4D. The Radeon HD 4870 has a drop too but less important.

Conclusion: for OpenGL applications that are performance focused, it’s better to not use Catalyst 8.8. In some cases, Catalyst 8.8 brings a little boost only and in other cases, a dramatic drop is noticed.

If you have some interesting results with OpenGL applications, do no hesitate to post a comment!

More OpenGL related posts: OpenGL @ Geeks3D.
More Catalyst releated posts: Catalyst @ Geeks3D

VisionTek Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB Linux Review

Phoronix has tested VisionTek’s Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB under Ubuntu 8.04.1 32-bit with the Linux 2.6.24 kernel and the latest ATI Catalyst 8.8. Catalyst 8.8 for Linux supports CrossFire, OverDrive overclocking, adaptive anti-aliasing, and other improvements. The benchmark suite used by Phoronix includes OpenGL titles like Doom 3, Quake 4, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and the Phoronix Test Suite.

The conclusion of this test is the Radeon HD 4870 X2 isn’t quite as far as two Radeon HD 4870 512MB graphics cards linked together via CrossFire, but it’s darn close.

Read the complete test here: VisionTek Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB.

ATI Radeon HD 4870 Overclocking Guide

TechARP has published an article about Radeon HD 4870 overclocking. They used ATI Catalyst Control Center (or CCC) to overclock the card. The overclocking principle is to firstly to overclock the graphics memory with steps of 10Mhz until you see some visual artifacts. Once you see artifacts, downclock by around 10/20MHz. Second phase, overclock the GPU. Reset memory clock to default and increase GPU clock with steps of 10MHz and do the same artifact test than for memory.

Read the complete overclocking guide here: ATI Radeon HD 4870 Overclocking Guide

ATI Catalyst 8.8

ATI has released the new Catalyst graphics driver August 2008 (8.8) for all Radeon-based graphics cards!


Downloads:

New Features:
– Catalyst™ Control Center: New Avivo video features
– Hybrid Graphics Support for Windows XP

Related Links:
AMD Catalyst 8.8 Linux Driver @ Phoronix
ATI Radeon CrossFire On Linux @ Phoronix

Update (2008-08-27)

Radeon HD 4670/4650 Specifications

New Radeon HD 4600 series should be launched on September 10, 2008. Here are the specifications:

Radeon HD 4670:
– GPU: RV730 / 55nm
– 320 stream processors
– 16 texture units
– core clock: 750MHz
– memory clock: 1000MHz
– memory: 512MB GDDR3 128-bit
– DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 2.1

Radeon HD 4650:
– GPU: RV730 / 55nm
– 320 stream processors
– 16 texture units
– core clock: 600MHz
– memory clock: 667MHz
– memory: 512Mb GDDR2/3 128-bit
– DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 2.1


[source]

More news about Radeon HD 4600 Series: Radeon HD 4670 @ Geeks3D

PhysX Performance: GPU vs PPU vs CPU

FiringSquad has published an article that compares PhysX performance of CPU versus PPU versus GPU. The softwares used for this test are Unreal Tournament 3, Nurien and Warmonger.


Conclusion: for over two years old graphics cards, Ageia PhysX PPU is useful but isn’t able to match the performance of today’s GeForce cards.

Read the complete article here: PhysX Performance Update: GPU vs. PPU vs. CPU

In PhysX FluidMark news, I put a graph that shows CPU/PPU/GPU comparison. The results show a larger difference between PPU and GPU but this is due to the kind of test: fluid simulation.