iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail

Platform

Video

Multimedia

Mobile

Other

Professional 3D Accelerators Roundup (LightWave 7):
May 2002 Testing technique

June 10, 2002



Part 1: Introduction, participants

Introduction

A month has passed since our last testing of professional video accelerators. Although since that no new models came into our lab, we got a new program for studying capabilities of accelerators and prefessional modeling. So, today we have the LightWave packet of the seventh version and we will test operation of all professional accelerators available for us.

It should be noted that I'm not professional in designing and using the LightWave. But I studied the 1,000-page guide for this packet during this month, and although I haven't caught all the fine things, I have enough knowledge to write a normal review on professional accelerators and their test results. Of course, this is not enough for a good review of the LightWave, but this article is meant for those who know this program. All important aspects will be briefly described. LightWave 3D was developed by NewTek, Inc. for professional animation; the seventh version is the third generation of this product. The first versions were developed for such computers as AMIGA 2000. LightWave 3D is a common name of the packet; we used two modules in our tests: Modeler and Layout. Layout is further referred to as LightWave. However, the developer calls it Layout (so do I).

The operation is controlled by the OpenGL API. But this fact doesn't mean that we estimate a pure performance of video accelerator. The program tests rather the overall system performance than that of accelerator. You will probably agree with me when you see the results. Because this is a program for animation and 3D modeling, and the overall performance is in the forefront. The program uses a great number of plugins which load a CPU and memory quite much, but a video card inconsiderably. The tests will show whether this is true. I just think that the faster the processor, the better the results; and the more processors we have in the system, the better the results. But we also should account for a video accelerator. I'm sure there is difference in results, for example, between Quadro2 and Quadro4. The tests will show how great it is.

The following accelerators were tested:

  • NVIDIA Quadro 2 mxr
  • NVIDIA Quadro 2 pro
  • NVIDIA Quadro DCC
  • NVIDIA Quadro4 900XGL
  • NVIDIA Quadro4 750XGL
  • ATI FireGL2
  • ATI FireGL 8800
  • 3DLabs Wildcat II 5000

Remember that if we haven't tested a certain card, we just had no opportunity to do it. We are short of time for catching all cards available on the market and for testing them. If we get a card which at the moment is absent in the list above, we will test it. But opportunities do not always come along with desires, you know.

Cards

NVIDIA Quadro2 Pro

The NVIDIA Quadro2 Pro Reference Card has AGP x2/x4 interface, 64 MBytes DDR SDRAM located in 8 chips on the right side of the PCB.

Brief characteritics:

  • Triangles per Second: 31 Million
  • Pixels Per Second: 1.0 Billion
  • Memory Bandwidth: 6.4 GBytes/s
  • NVIDIA Shading Rasterizer (NSR)
  • Second Generation Transform and Lighting (T&L)
  • Unified Driver Architecture (UDA)
  • 32-bit Z/Stencil Buffer
  • 64 MBytes Unified Frame Buffer
  • AGP 4X with Fast Writes

The NVIDIA Quadro2 Pro serves a base for only one card - ELSA Gloria III which is a reference card from ELSA; it comes with special software.

NVIDIA Quadro2 MXR

The NVIDIA Quadro2 MXR reference card has an AGP x2/x4 interface, 32 MBytes SDR SDRAM located in 4 chips on the right side of the PCB.

Brief characteritics:

  • Triangles per Second: 25 Million
  • Pixels Per Second: 400 Million
  • Memory Bandwidth: 2.93 GBytes/s
  • NVIDIA Shading Rasterizer (NSR)
  • Second Generation Transform and Lighting (T&L)
  • Unified Driver Architecture (UDA)
  • 32-bit Z/Stencil Buffer
  • 32 MBytes Unified Frame Buffer
  • AGP 4X with Fast Writes
  • Digital Vibrance Control (DVC)

The NVIDIA Quadro2 MXR serves a base also for only one card - ELSA Sinergy III which is a reference card from ELSA; it comes with special software.

NVIDIA Quadro DCC

ELSA Gloria DCC on the NVIDIA Quadro DCC has an AGP x2/x4 interface, 64 MBytes DDR SDRAM located in 8 chips on the right side of the PCB.

Brief characteritics:

  • Graphics processor Quadro DCC by NVIDIA
  • Over 3.2 billion texture mapping pixels/second
  • Memory range of 7.3 GBytes/second
  • nFinite FXT engine-fully programmable effect processor for realistic 3D representation, e.g. volumetric fog, particle effects, reflective bump mapping and animated water surface
  • Hardware acceleration of up to 8 light sources
  • 64 MBytes ultra-fast DDR RAM graphics memory (unified memory)
  • 350-MHz RAMDAC displays even resolutions of 2048 x 1536 pixels ergonomically and in TrueColor
  • Connection of analog or digital monitors (digital up to 1280 x 1024)

The NVIDIA Quadro DCC is also used for only one card - ELSA Gloria DCC which is a reference card from ELSA; it comes with special software.

NVIDIA Quadro4 900XGL and Quadro4 750XGL

The Quadro4 900XGL and the Quadro4 750XGL are based on the NVIDIA Quadro4 900XGL and Quadro4 700/750XGL GPU respectively, have AGP x2/x4 interface, 128 MBytes DDR SDRAM located in 8 chips on the right and back sides of the PCB. The cards differ in output connectors: the Quadro4 900XGL has two DVI and a TV-out, and the Quadro4 750XGL has a standard D-SUB, DVI and TV-out. Besides, their processors and memory work at different frequencies: 300/650 MHz for the Quadro4 900XGL (processor/memory), and 250/550 MHz for the Quadro4 750XGL. No more differences.

On the photo you can see the Quadro4 900XGL.

Brief characteritics:

  • GPU Quadro4 900XGL или Quadro4 700/750XGL by NVIDIA
  • 128 MBytes 128-bit DDR-SDRAM или 64/128 MBytes 128-bit DDR-SDRAM
  • Second nFinite FXT II engine
  • nView multi-display solution
  • Hardware overlay
  • Hardware antialiased lines
  • Two-sided lighting
  • Full scene antialiasing
  • Lightspeed Memory Architecture (LMA) II
  • Dual 350 MHz RAMDACs

ATI FireGL2

The ATI FireGL2 card has an AGP x2/x4 interface, 64 MBytes DDR SGRAM located in 8 chips on the right and back sides of the PCB.

Brief characteritics:

  • Graphics controller - IBM Chipset: RC 1000 Graphics Rasterizer and GT1000 hardware geometry engine with integrated features including;
  • VGA Controller - 2D/3D Raster Engine and dual Texture Unit;
  • 8-bit Double Buffered Overlays;
  • Video Overlay Unit;
  • 2 DMA / BLIT Units;
  • Polygon Setup Processor;
  • 300 MHz / 30-bit Palette DAC, including four color lookup tables and gamma correction table;
  • 256-bit Rasterizer & DDR memory interface;
  • Bus type - AGP 2X/4X v2.0 Compliant;
  • Memory configuration - 64 MBytes DDR SGRAM, Unified Framebuffer;
  • 3D performance:
    • 27 million Triangles/second, G-Shaded, Z-buffered, non-Textured
    • 31 Million Anti-Aliased Vectors/second
    • 410 Million Pixels/second fill rate, G-Shaded, Z-buffered, non-Textured
    • 200 Million Pixels/second Trilinear Texture fill rate (Mip-mapped)

This card was released by Diamond Multimedia yet before it amalgamated with S3 (today's Sonic Blue). When Sonic Blue decided to leave a video card sector its gaming and professional video cards were were sold to other companies. ATI Technologies became an owner of the FireGL family. Until now these accelerators were based on the IBM processors. And only starting from the RADEON 8500 the Canadian company announced a new line FireGL 8700/8800 based on its own GPU.

That is why this card has a BIOS from S3 Corporation and a software suite from Diamond Multimedia.

ATI FireGL 8800

The ATI FireGL 8800 has an AGP x2/x4 interface, 128 MBytes DDR SDRAM located in 8 chips on the right and back sides of the PCB.

Brief characteritics:

  • RADEON 8800 GPU
  • 64 or 128 MBytes DDR memory
  • CHARISMA ENGINE II supports full Transformation, Clipping and Lighting (T&L) at 75 million triangles/second peak processing capability
  • PIXEL TAPESTRY II, the 3D rendering engine, powers 2.4 Gigatexels/second for fast fill rates in 32-bit true color resolution
  • VIDEO IMMERSION II, industry leading video technology
  • Dual monitor support
  • Optimized OpenGL software drivers

3DLabs Wildcat II 5000

The Wildcat II 5000 has an AGP 4X-AGP Version 2.0 interface, 80 MBytes DDR SDRAM located in 10 chips on the right and back sides of the PCB.

Brief characteritics:

  • Full-length ATX form-factor
  • High-speed Wildcat II chipset technology
  • Integrated 300 MHz RAMDAC
  • Data width:
    • Frame buffer: 128 bits
    • Texture buffer: 64 bits
    • DirectBurst: 32 bits

  • Memory:
    • 32 MBytes dedicated frame buffer
    • 32 MBytes dedicated texture buffer
    • 16 MBytes DirectBurst

  • Full lightning calculations (up to 24 lights)
  • Complete OpenGL 1.2 geometry acceleration

Card settings and drivers

We used the latest available driver versions. In order to avoid too many screenshots with driver settings we didn't change anything in the settings after installation of the drivers except disabling of vertical synchronization and anti-aliasing. All other settings were default.

ATI FireGL2

The card worked with the 20.82 driver.

ATI FireGL 8800

This card was tested with the 30.30 driver. With the 30.26 version the system hung when the LightWave was started up. The settings for the FireGL line are identical; below is a screenshot of the driver (for the FireGL 8800).

NVIDIA Quadro line

The settings in the Quadro line were almost the same, that is why screenshots are shown only for the Quadro2 Pro. The cards differ only in working frequencies (we didn't overclock or slow down the cards). All the cards were tested with the ver.28.32.

3DLabs Wildcat II 5000

This card was tested with the ver.06.04.02.20

In 1600x1200 at 32-bit color the drivers notified that:

That is why we didn't test this card in high resolution.

[ Next part (testing technique) ]


Write a comment below. No registration needed!


Article navigation:



blog comments powered by Disqus

  Most Popular Reviews More    RSS  

AMD Phenom II X4 955, Phenom II X4 960T, Phenom II X6 1075T, and Intel Pentium G2120, Core i3-3220, Core i5-3330 Processors

Comparing old, cheap solutions from AMD with new, budget offerings from Intel.
February 1, 2013 · Processor Roundups

Inno3D GeForce GTX 670 iChill, Inno3D GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics Cards

A couple of mid-range adapters with original cooling systems.
January 30, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1

An external X-Fi solution in tests.
September 9, 2008 · Sound Cards

AMD FX-8350 Processor

The first worthwhile Piledriver CPU.
September 11, 2012 · Processors: AMD

Consumed Power, Energy Consumption: Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge

Trying out the new method.
September 18, 2012 · Processors: Intel
  Latest Reviews More    RSS  

i3DSpeed, September 2013

Retested all graphics cards with the new drivers.
Oct 18, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, August 2013

Added new benchmarks: BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light.
Sep 06, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, July 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 and AMD Radeon HD 7730.
Aug 05, 2013 · 3Digests

Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Golden Sample Graphics Card

An excellent hybrid of GeForce GTX 650 Ti and GeForce GTX 660.
Jun 24, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

i3DSpeed, May 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/780.
Jun 03, 2013 · 3Digests
  Latest News More    RSS  

Platform  ·  Video  ·  Multimedia  ·  Mobile  ·  Other  ||  About us & Privacy policy  ·  Twitter  ·  Facebook


19

Copyright © Byrds Research & Publishing, Ltd., 1997–2011. All rights reserved.