Subject: General Tech | March 4, 2018 - 05:21 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Nintendo, amd, ati
I came across an interesting blog post describing how Super Mario Sunshine, with its Gamecube-era hardware, rendered water. While it mostly seems like a simple multi-texture panning effect to get the waves, the crux of the post is an interesting trick that Nintendo used to get around not having programmable shaders in their hardware: how do they emulate the Brewster’s angle?
Each of the stages are given WebGL 2 canvas examples.
The answer is pretty clever: load different textures into your various mipmap levels. Along with correcting the artifacts associated with sharp textures being viewed far away, it gives Nintendo the opportunity to draw something different. In Super Mario Sunshine, this corresponded to brighter wave glare textures at the distance that would look like the angle that polarized light reflects on.
It will be an inaccurate effect, of course, but there wasn’t much that Nintendo could do without running a script at each pixel that actually knows properties of the scene. It also depends on the resolution being drawn, which is tightly controlled in a standard-definition console, but it is a source of headaches for emulator developers.
The Really Good Times are Over
We really do not realize how good we had it. Sure, we could apply that to budget surpluses and the time before the rise of global terrorism, but in this case I am talking about the predictable advancement of graphics due to both design expertise and improvements in process technology. Moore’s law has been exceptionally kind to graphics. We can look back and when we plot the course of these graphics companies, they have actually outstripped Moore in terms of transistor density from generation to generation. Most of this is due to better tools and the expertise gained in what is still a fairly new endeavor as compared to CPUs (the first true 3D accelerators were released in the 1993/94 timeframe).
The complexity of a modern 3D chip is truly mind-boggling. To get a good idea of where we came from, we must look back at the first generations of products that we could actually purchase. The original 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics was comprised of a raster chip and a texture chip, each contained approximately 1 million transistors (give or take) and were made on a then available .5 micron process (we shall call it 500 nm from here on out to give a sense of perspective with modern process technology). The chips were clocked between 47 and 50 MHz (though often could be clocked up to 57 MHz by going into the init file and putting in “SET SST_GRXCLK=57”… btw, SST stood for Sellers/Smith/Tarolli, the founders of 3Dfx). This revolutionary graphics card at the time could push out 47 to 50 megapixels and had 4 MB of VRAM and was released in the beginning of 1996.
My first 3D graphics card was the Orchid Righteous 3D. Voodoo Graphics was really the first successful consumer 3D graphics card. Yes, there were others before it, but Voodoo Graphics had the largest impact of them all.
In 1998 3Dfx released the Voodoo 2, and it was a significant jump in complexity from the original. These chips were fabricated on a 350 nm process. There were three chips to each card, one of which was the raster chip and the other two were texture chips. At the top end of the product stack was the 12 MB cards. The raster chip had 4 MB of VRAM available to it while each texture chip had 4 MB of VRAM for texture storage. Not only did this product double performance from the Voodoo Graphics, it was able to run in single card configurations at 800x600 (as compared to the max 640x480 of the Voodoo Graphics). This is the same time as when NVIDIA started to become a very aggressive competitor with the Riva TnT and ATI was about to ship the Rage 128.
AMD Gets the Direct CU Treatment
In the previous roundup I covered the DirectCU II models from Asus featuring NVIDIA based chips. These boards included the GTX 580, 570, and 560 products. All of these were DirectCU II based with all the updated features that are included as compared to the original DirectCU products. With the AMD parts Asus has split the top four products into two categories; DirectCU II and the original DirectCU. When we start looking at thermal properties and price points, we will see why Asus took this route.
AMD has had a strong couple of years with their graphics chips. While they were not able to take the single GPU performance crown in this previous generation, their products were very capable and competitive across the board and at every price point. In fact, there are some features that these cards have at particular price points that make them very desirable in quite a few applications. In particular are the 2 GB of memory on the HD 6900 series cards where the competition from NVIDIA at those price points features 1 GB and 1.25 GB. In titles such as Skyrim, with the HD texture DLC enabled, these cards start to limit performance at 1920x1080 and above due to the memory requirements needed for these higher resolution textures.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Shows and Expos | January 22, 2012 - 01:09 AM | Steve Grever
Tagged: overclocking, hardocp, ati, amd, 7970
More than 500 people made the trip to Eddie Deen’s Ranch in Dallas, Texas to attend AMD and HardOCP’s FX Game Experience event today. Many of the tech industry’s heavy hitters were on hand with interactive booths to showcase their latest PC hardware and provide people with around $50,000 in giveaways and prizes.
Check out our video coverage of the AMD [H]ardOCP FX GamExperience 2012 event!
ASUS, MSI, and Sapphire each brought their latest respective AMD-based motherboards and performance graphics cards to showcase at the event, including their HD Radeon 7950 and 7970 offerings. ASUS also gave the audience a closer look at some of their other PC gaming peripherals, wireless routers, and Blu ray burners.
HardOCP founder Kyle Bennett put on a show for the crowd with numerous raffle drawings and crazy contests for people to win new AMD processors and other hardware from MSI, Gigabyte, ASUS, Corsair, Ergotech, Antec, Maingear, Optoma, Patriot Memory, Astro, Sapphire, Western Digital, ArcSoft, ASRock, vReveal, Diamond Multimedia, and Zotac.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Chipsets | May 3, 2011 - 11:54 AM | John Davis
Tagged: ubuntu, rhel, Red Hat, opensuse, linux, driver, catalyst, ati, amd
In a previous article we stated:
"Highlights of the Linux AMD Catalyst™ 11.4 release include: This release of AMD Catalyst™ Linux introduces support for the following new operating systems Ubuntu 11.04 support (early look) SLED/SLES 10 SP4 support (early look) RHEL 5.6 support (production)"
AMD introduced a new feature into Linux with Catalyst™ 11.4, PowerXpress.
- PowerXpress: Will enable certain mainstream mobile chipsets to seemlessly switch from integrated graphics to the dedicated graphics. *note: This only applies to Intel Processors with on chip graphics and AMD dedicated graphics and must be switched on by invoking switchlibGL and switchlibglx and restarting the Xorg server.
If you are running RHEL 5.6 or SLED/SLES 10 SP4 and need the driver you can get it here.
If you are running Ubuntu 11.04, install the driver under the "Additional Drivers" program.
If you are running a BSD variant you must still use the Open-Source driver "Radeon" and "RadeonHD" as AMD has yet to release a BSD driver.
Be sure to check back to PCPer for my complete review of the 11.4 driver and PowerXpress.