Monthly Archives: September 2008

GPU-Z 0.2.8 Available

GPU-Z is a lightweight utility designed to give you information about your video card and GPU.

Download: TechPowerUp GPU-Z v0.2.8

* Added logging of sensor data to file
* Added option to disable polling for individual sensors
* Added support for AMD RV730
* Added clock reading support for Catalyst 8.9 on RV770 and RV730
* Added support for NVIDIA 9400 GT, 9500 GT, 9600 GS, 9800M GS, 9600M GS, 9300M GS, 9200M GE
* Added support for AMD R580 Stream Processor, RV730 and one M88 variant
* Fixed PCI subvendor ID 1787 to be ATI AIB
* Fixed readings and added monitoring support for ATI M88
* Fixed fan speed readings on ADT7473 sensor
* Added support for ADT7473 sensor chip on ATI
* Added release dates for several NVIDIA mobile GPUs

CPU Scaling with the GeForce GTX 280

Legion Hardware has tested a range of CPUs with the GeForce GTX 280, to try and determine what kind of processing power is required to power NVIDIA’s flagship graphics card.

The test shows that with high end graphics cards such as GeForce GTX 280, one has to buy a powerful CPU in order to feed sufficiently the GPU with graphics data.

we suggest for those buying high-end graphics cards, such as the GeForce GTX 280, pick up a Core 2 Quad processor while the Core 2 Duo’s are a perfect match for mid-range graphics cards.

Read the complete test here: CPU Scaling with the GeForce GTX 280

ShaderMap 1.1 – 3D Map Conversion Tool

ShaderMap is a small tool to convert photographic textures to height, ambient occlusion, normal, dudv, and specular maps. The free version is in command line and makes it a powerful tool to convert large amount of maps!

Okay guys, no more to tell, I’ve tried and it works well. The following images show the color map that has been used to produce the normal and ambient occlusion maps. I think this tool can be useful for your real time demos you code with GeeXLab.

Catalyst 8.9: OpenGL Extensions – Radeon HD 4850

Here is the list of OpenGL extensions supported by the Catalyst 8.9 graphics drivers for the Radeon HD 4850 under Windows XP SP2 32-bit.

The release note says Catalyst 8.9 add the phase 1 of OpenGL 3.0 support. But what does it mean? Compared to Catalyst 8.8, Catalyst 8.9 bring only 3 new extensions:

GL_EXT_depth_buffer_float has the same role than NVIDIA GL_NV_depth_buffer_float. GL_EXT_blend_equation_separate is an OpenGL 1.5 extension and GL_AMD_texture_texture4 is not documented. But most of the new OpenGL 3 extensions quoted in the release note are not present in Catalyst 8.9 under Windows XP and Vista. Maybe AMD/ATI have introduced the same principle than NVIDIA, with a kind of OpenGL 3.0 activation somewhere (see here). But here again, no documentation is available. Or more simply, AMD want to show to the community that they do an effort to support the new major version of OpenGL, but any OpenGL 3 extension is currently available to developers. Communication is a tough art at ATI!

Catalyst 8.9, like Catalyst 8.8, still slow down the GPU when FurMark is detected (see here and here for more detail).

Graphics driver information:
– Operating System: Windows XP SP2 32-bit
– Drivers Version: 8.501.0.0 – Catalyst 08.9
– ATI Catalyst Version String: 08.9
– ATI Catalyst Release Version String: 8.53-080820a-068898C-ATI
– OpenGL Renderer: ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series
– Drivers Renderer: ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series
– OpenGL Version: 2.1.7976 Release
– GLSL (OpenGL Shading Language) Version: 1.20
– ARB Texture Units: 8
– Vertex Shader Texture Units: 16
– Pixel Shader Texture Units: 16
– Geometry Shader Texture Units: 0
– Max Texture Size: 8192×8192
– Max Anisotropic Filtering Value: X16.0
– Max Point Sprite Size: 8192.0
– Max Dynamic Lights: 8
– Max Viewport Size: 8192×8192
– Max Vertex Uniform Components: 512
– Max Fragment Uniform Components: 512
– Max Varying Float: 68
– Max Vertex Bindable Uniforms: 0
– Max Fragment Bindable Uniforms: 0
– Max Geometry Bindable Uniforms: 0
– MSAA: 1X
– MSAA: 2X
– MSAA: 4X
– MSAA: 8X

OpenGL Extensions: 108 extensions

The extensions exposed by the old Catalyst drivers are HERE.
You can use GPU Caps Viewer to retrieve the list of extensions of your graphics card.

Continue reading »

ATI Catalyst 8.9 Graphics Drivers

The September 2008 version of Catalyst graphics drivers is out. Catalyst 8.9 introduces the following new features:

  • Catalyst Control Center: New Display mode support
  • OverDrive™ support for QUAD CrossFireX configurations
  • OpenGL 3.0 extension support

OpenGL 3 support? From the release note, the following extensions have been added:

  • ARB_half_float_pixel
  • ARB_draw_instanced
  • ARB_instanced_arrays
  • EXT_texture_compression_3dc
  • EXT_texture_compression_rgtc
  • EXT_texture_compression_latc
  • EXT_texture_shared_exponent
  • EXT_depth_buffer_float
  • EXT_gpu_shader4
  • ARB_map_buffer_range

OpenGL 3 means the possibility to create an OpenGL 3.0 rendering context (see here). But it seems a function to create such a rendering context is not included yet. I will look at this in detail when I’ll publish Catalyst 8.9 OpenGL extensions very soon.

Download links:

RivaTuner 2.11

A new version of RivaTuner hits the street. Rivatuner is one the leading tweak utility available for NVIDIA GeForce and ATI Radeon based videocards.

Main updates of this new version:
– Updated databases for Detonator and ForceWare drivers. Added database for ForceWare 177.98.
– Added experimental AMD RV710 and RV730 graphics processors families support.

Download: RivaTuner 2.11


NVIDIA PhysX System Software Version 8.09.04

NVIDIA has released the new WHQL version of the PhysX System Software. The PhysX System Software is included with all latest ForceWare graphics drivers but if you don’t have a GeForce graphics card, you have to install the PhysX System Software to use PhysX based applications such as PhyswX FluidMark. PhysX hardware acceleration is available for all GeForce 8-series, 9-series and 200-series GPUs with a minimum of 256MB dedicated graphics memory.

Download: PhysX System Software Version 8.09.04

Video Game: Technical “Making Of” Metal Gear Solid 4

Here is a detailed article about the making of the video game Metal Gear Solid 4. It talks about the work of technical 3D artists as well as the work and the role of programmers.

In the development of MGS4, about 100 staff members were involved in the 3D content production. Extra personnel were added during busy periods, and by the final phase of development over 180 people were working on the project. By the end there were as many 40 programmers working on MGS4, including the work required for online compatibility.

Most of the programmers in MGS4 performed programming work related to game processing, while at the same time developing in-house tools to support production. They developed a wide variety of tools to make work easier for the designers. These tools include the previously mentioned lighting editor, a preview environment with the same quality as the console, and their own particle engine and particle editor. Kunio Takabe explained that turning the environments, expressions and request items that the designers ask for into reality is an important role for the programmers. This means that good communication and mutual understanding is very important.
Effects used in the game, such as depth of field, dust clouds, snow and camera blur, were also developed by the programmers

Read the complete article here: METAL GEAR SOLID 4 : Guns of the Patriots – Making Of

GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 Review

The new GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores or shader processors is available and reviews about this card popup around the web. The GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 has the same specifications than the normal GTX 260 but differs in number of shader processors and texture units.

GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 Specifications:
– GPU: GT200 – Codename: G200-103-A2 – 65nm
– Shader Processors (cores): 216
– Texture Units: 72 (64 for GTX 260)
– ROPs: 28 (28 for GTX 260)
– GPU Clock: 576MHz
– Shader Clock: 1242MHz
– Memory: 896Mb GDDR3 / 448-bit / 999MHz
– DirectX 10 and OpenGL 2.1


SIGGRAPH 2008 Presentations: Programming with CUDA

NVIDIA has released two SIGGRAPH 2008 presentations about CUDA. The first one talks about image processing and video algorithms with CUDA and shows some CUDA applications such as image filtering (sobel filter with code sample). This presentation talks also about NVCUVID, the video extension for CUDA. NVCUVID is similar to DXVA API, but is platform OS independent.

The second presentation is more general about CUDA programming and shows how to create high performance code to run on the millions of CUDA-capable GPUs already in use.