The quest for the lost fragment is over, at last!
Today I have returned from Athens and installed in Electron the additional ram module and the long awaited shader capable MSI FX5900XT-VTD128 card!
The first thing I’ve done was to update the Nvidia driver packages from ‘nvidia-96xx’ to ‘nvidia’, this currently means going from 96.31 to 97.55.
This is what’s new from GeForce4 Ti 4200 (NV25) to GeForce FX5900 XT (NV35):
- The OpenGL version string is now 2.1.0
- The CineFX 2.0 engine allows for two new anti-aliasing modes: 4x Bilinear Multisampling by 4x Supersampling and 4x Bilinear Multisampling by 2x Supersampling
- There are eighteen new extensions available: GL_ARB_fragment_program, GL_ARB_fragment_program_shadow, GL_ARB_fragment_shader, GL_ARB_half_float_pixel, GL_EXT_blend_func_separate, GL_EXT_framebuffer_blit, GL_EXT_framebuffer_multisample, GL_EXT_framebuffer_object, GL_EXT_stencil_two_side, GL_EXT_texture_sRGB, GL_NV_float_buffer, GL_NV_fragment_program, GL_NV_fragment_program_option, GL_NV_framebuffer_multisample_coverage, GL_NV_half_float, GL_NV_primitive_restart, GL_NV_vertex_program2, GL_NV_vertex_program2_option
What follows is a series of test, actually they are exactly the same, and with the same settings, as the ones shown in the Easter gifts post:
Some tests perform better on Electron than on Thunder (which has a much faster graphic card and DDR RAM), this is very strange, maybe I’ve got to run these tests on Thunder again.
While in Greece to spend holidays with my family I was able to get my hands on some interesting piece of hardware to bring back in Italy for Electron: a 128MB module of SDR RAM to fill up the last motherboard slot and *two* different graphic cards (my old 5900XT and a 6200)!
Actually all this was possible thanks to Easter gifts!
My uncle installed a 512MB module of DDR RAM inside his old PC, while both me and a friend of mine changed our old cards with the good and cheap Gigabyte GV-N76G256D-RH, a GeForce 7600GS equipped card with 256MB of DDR2 memory.
It is a completely silent card which delivers sufficient performance at a great price, it is capable of running Shader Model 3.0 vertex and fragment programs, supports OpenGL 2.1 and all the G70 Extensions, moreover it features a lm_sensors compatible thermal sensor on the GPU core.
A reduced series of tests follows, all performed at 640×480 excepts Blender 2.43 draw benchmark, which was run at 1024×768, my desktop resolution.
The low resolution at which most of the test were run could have made the results a bit too cpu limited, some other games I’ve tested seem to confirm this theory, however that the card shows its strength and I’m satisfied with it.
I hope you also get nice Easter gifts and I wish you a merry Easter!
Yesterday I was donated a new graphic card from a generous guy at the university, including cables, manual and bundled software, it is a nice MSI G4Ti4200-DT64 with red PCB.
It’s a good card but unfortunately it has only a primitive version of pixel shaders, they are neither floating point (supporting at most the proprietary “HILO” format) nor GLSL compliant, and they cannot be used via GL_ARB_fragment_program (as a matter of fact it is not present in the extensions array ), but only through the family of GL_NV_register_combiners and GL_NV_texture_shader functions, which make use of the OpenGL state machine.
Nvidia Cg actually supports the fp20 profile, but its output is just a nvparse program, which has to be passed to a function that will setup GL texture states.
Anyway, let’s analyze what’s new going from a GeForce4 MX440-8X (NV18) to a GeForce4 Ti 4200 (NV25):
- The OpenGL version string hasn’t changed (mainly because of the lack of Shader Model 2.0), it is still 1.5.8.
- Thanks to the Accuview AA Engine there are three new anti-aliasing modes: 4x Bilinear Multisampling, 4x Gaussian Multisampling and 2x Bilinear Multisampling by 4x Supersampling.
- There are twenty new extensions available, most of them are related to multisample, depth textures, occlusion queries, shadows and texture shaders:
GL_ARB_depth_texture, GL_ARB_multisample, GL_ARB_occlusion_query, GL_ARB_shadow, GL_ARB_texture_border_clamp, GL_EXT_shadow_funcs, GL_EXT_texture3D, GL_EXT_timer_query, GL_HP_occlusion_test, GL_NV_copy_depth_to_color, GL_NV_depth_clamp, GL_NV_multisample_filter_hint, GL_NV_occlusion_query, GL_NV_register_combiners2, GL_NV_texture_compression_vtc, GL_NV_texture_shader, GL_NV_texture_shader2, GL_NV_texture_shader3, GL_SGIX_depth_texture, GL_SGIX_shadow.
Of course I performed some benchmarks too (have a look at Electron specs), all at 1024×768, except from glxgears and globs tests, they were run at the default 640×480 resolution.
Quake 3 was tested on the four.dm_68 demo with sound, Blender 2.42 was tested with the draw benchmark, while the GLSLvp_pointz test uses only vertex shader to move and color points.
Note that this last test is emulated in software on NV18 while is performed in hardware on the NV25, but shaders plus full scene anti-aliasing seem to be impossible to achieve on the latter.
The card is nice and fast, but the search for the fragment (extension) has not ended.