• General Processing Units and Technology

    by Published on 01-11-10 14:46     Number of Views: 5233 
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    Radeon HD 6850, Catalyst 10.10 WHQL, AI Texture Slider "Quality", 16xAF

    Anisotropic texture filtering has been invented in order to improve image quality (not only) in 3D games. The improved image quality, however, has fallen victim not only to so called optimizations but from time to time also to hardware bugs, for example the banding encountered in the HD 5000 series, as was confirmed at the launch of AMDs brand new HD 6800 series of DirectX 11 compatible graphics processors. Today, I'll try and compare a bunch of screenshots from both the Radeon HD 6800 series (with Catalyst 10.10 WHQL) and Nvidias Geforce 400 Series (with Geforce 260.99 WHQL) and highlight some of the differences not only with the highest possible quality settings in the driver, but also the default quality in case of AMDs Radeon HD 6800.
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    by Published on 24-10-10 20:18     Number of Views: 5158 
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    AMD bundles Stream SDK with Catalyst 10.10

    Better late than never - that applies to me as well as to AMD. To me, because I am a few days late with this driver update and to AMD because they managed to keep their OpenCL driver hidden in some obscure SDK until now.
    As it stands, AMDs Catalyst 10.10 WHQL drivers for Radeon graphics cards bring not only official support for OpenCL but also some other changes, one of them being another first-timer. Catalyst 10.10 is the driver to use, if you want to utilize your brand-new HD 6800 series card. Catalyst Hotfix 10.10a adds support for morphological anti-aliasing for HD 6800 (officially) and improves performance in a number of titles, most notably Starcraft 2 when using anti-aliasing. 10.10b is intended for use in the Windows XP environment for HD 6800 owners.
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    by Published on 31-10-10 13:26     Number of Views: 6548 
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    Texture Filtering vs Villagemark - effect of so called optimizations on fillrate

    Filtered textures have been essential in the breakthrough of consumer-level 3D graphics acceleration 1.5 decades ago. With bilinear filtering applied (in addition to Mip-Mapping), Voodoo Graphics delivered smooth images of legendary 3D games such as Quake, Tomb Raider or Diablo. But despite they say „things change”, bilinear filtering still is the preferred method current hardware employs as a baseline. Now, trilinear filtering starting to become popular at about 1998, added in a second cycle smoothes out the transitions between one Mip-Map-level and another, while anisotropic filtering, which raised to fame around the year 2001, uses filter kernels with different dimension for each axis – hence the name: An meaning „not” and isotropic meaning „equal in all directions”.
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    by Published on 04-10-10 18:07     Number of Views: 3592 
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    Scalar Instruction Issue Rate on GF104, GF106, GF100 and other GPUs

    GF104 seems to be generally regarded as the better Fermi for gaming since Nvidia has integrated some improvements into the oddly shaped graphics processor of its Geforce GTX 460 cards. For one, the chip itself is aimed at the performance segment, thus not being as large and as power hungry as the original GF100 from the start. It also has a much lower ALU-TEX ratio which is not desireable for high performance computing (HPC) or workstation cards where GF100 was targeted. 56 out of 64 texture mapping units (TMUs) are enabled in currently shipping products. On the downside, it has less shader units in general, having to make do with 336 instead of GF100s 480 - 448 - 356 in descending order for Geforce GTX 480, 470 and 465. They are organized differently too - instead of grouping 32 ALUs together, GF104 gangs 48 of them up into one Shader Multiprocessor (SM) along with various other units as eight TMUs, four Polymorph-Engines (PME), 16 Load/Store Units (L/S) and four units doing the more esotheric transcendental functions (SFU). But that is not all.
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    by Published on 03-10-10 12:52     Number of Views: 3876 
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    Xvox Demo Triangle Rate Geforce GTX 480

    When Nvidia presented its new Fermi architecture back in September 2009, Jen-Hsun Huang and his employees were particularly proud of one thing: Geometry. Rightfully they told all who would listen, that compared to the improvements in pixel and shading throughput, the triangle side of things seemed almost completely ignored by the IHVs since the introduction of the first DirectX 9 cards. That's not because in AMDs and Nvidias engineering teams the pixel fanboys outnumbered the triangle fanboys, but because it's actually a very hard thing to parallelize geometry. ...
    by Published on 24-09-10 15:05     Number of Views: 8623 
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    Radeon HD 5000 Anisotropic Filtering examined 16x AF

    When AMD launched the HD5000 series, also known by their collective codename Evergreen, they were proudly directing attention to the improved anisotropic filtering, more specifically two things:
    Texture attribute interpolation was moved from the TMUs into the shader core and the angle dependency had almost vanished. The approriate screenshot from a little application known as AF-Tester was shown and repeated through most of the reviews in the internet world. Even though AMDs offerings of late exhibit a more pronounced tendency towards shimmering in fine grainded texture detail, some reviews and reputable magazines declared them ruling kings of image quality - something the fanboys from the red camp really liked and re-trumpeted around the forae of the internet.
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    by Published on 26-09-10 10:32     Number of Views: 3083 
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    In order to measure the real die size, I took off the heatspreader off a GF100-Fermi graphics processor

    Ever since the first DirectX 10 GPU, the G80, Nvidia has chosen to shroud the actual chip in its highest end products under a metal hood called heatspreader. So, no pictures of the bare naked die can be taken without the severe risk of mortally wounding the chip or its surroundings and thus possibly breaking a graphics card worth a couple of hundred Euros or US Dollars.

    Also, the heatspreader prevents curious journalists and users to effectively determine the real die-size, a number Nvidia is often reluctant to give because compared to, say, the number of transistors in a given chip, the die size directly influences production costs and thus could be deemed a relevant number for analysts comparing it to those of the competition. ...
    by Published on 13-09-10 00:00     Number of Views: 14161 
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    Article Preview

    Today, Nvidia launched it's hitherto smallest member of the GF10x architecture and also the Fermi family dubbed Geforce GTS 450.

    It is based upon a 15x15 mm ASIC called GF106, which boasts 4 Shader Multiprocessors (SM) in one GPC and features the same characteristics as the successful Geforce GTX 460 chip GF104. 48 ALUs - called Cuda-Cores by Nvidia - and eight texture units reside in each SM resulting in 192 ALUs and 32 TMUs across the chip. Also, GF106 has a GDDR5-interface comprised of 3 64 bit channels, each hardwired to an octo-ROP, albeit only two of those are active in currently announced GTS 450 products. ...

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