Several months ago I got a letter from one of our readers where he asked me to extend a list of test applications for professional video cards. That was an interesting proposal and today you can see what I have come up to. You should consider the today's article as a trial balloon. Only together with you I can choose the testing technique which would suit both you and me.
Houdini Master is a key product of Side Effects Software. It's not a single product
- the company has a lot of various packets to offer but Houdini Master
is a key packet for 3D modeling. You can use this packet for training
(the freeware version has some limitations), and for professional activity.
See the details on all products of the company here. The
only thing I'd like to add is that the Houdini Master was used to create
some effects of the X-MEN Movie.
To test one or another product one must know how to do it. Thanks to our readers who help me in it I actually know it. Exactly such collaboration can give us an ideal testing technique. But since not all our readers are gurus in 3D graphics, I'll describe every step I made.
In the long run the testing was split into two parts
Well, in the first case we will have a lot of diagrams and in the second case a lot of screenshots so that you can yourselves select the best.
I chose several demo scenes which put the maximum load on one or another
function of the modern professional
So, first we set up the operating system and all necessary add-ins
and drivers. Then we installed the Houdini Master and started it. The
first time you launch it it requires registeration. Then goes rebooting.
After it we set the resolution to 1600x1200 @32-bit color and started
the packet. The program window takes the whole screen but it's not the
full-screen mode. That is why make sure to switch to it. Then we load
a certain scene, set the rendering parameters for the viewport and start
up the 'performance monitor'. Then we select required parameters in
the popped up window and tick off "Enable output" so that we can see
the results. Since the rendering mechanism is quite tricky you should
start up animation and wait until the total number of rendered frames
I used all the professional cards we had and several gaming ones. I selected those gaming cards which I think will have the most effect on the industry development in the near future
The tests were carried out under the Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 1, DirectX 9.0a, with all required add-ins and drivers installed. Vertical sync, anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering were forcedly enabled in the drivers. The driver versions used:
For the NVIDIA based cards - 45.23
Let me draw your attention to some interesting facts. The NVIDIA QuadroFX 1000 looks very nimble, or in other words, theNVIDIA QuadroFX 2000 works too slowly. I contacted the guys at NVIDIA and are trying to solve this problem now.
The gaming cards from ATI perfectly demonstrate that they are designed for games only. The scores are too low, though these gaming solutions serve a base for professional cards which look much better! The company clearly realizes the market separation and separately develops drivers needed for one or another market sector.
That's not all. Since the Houdini is strongly dependent on the CPU we shouldn't stop at this stage, and now we proceed to the qualitative tests.
This time we don't need the performance monitor, the viewport window must be rolled out to the full-screen mode. Then we load a scene, set a required rendering mode, find a certain animation frame and make a screenshot. The rendering mode was VEX WIRE SHADED as it loads the video subsystem most of all. The test scene was provided by my namesake @Hawk, Alexander, thanks you very much! The test results are shown below in the table.
There are almost no equal results. I must say that the 3Dlabs has too many errors on the Wildcat. As to the other cases, you can make your own conclusion.
So, thanks to our readers I added the Houdini packet to our test suite used for professional cards. Unfortunately, its speed parameters depend on the central processor to a greater extent. Nevertheless, we got an excellent possibility to estimate qualitative parameters since quality of drivers is so much discussed these days...
As to the results of the Quadro FX1000 and 2000, we are waiting for NVIDIA to solve this problem while working together with the company to find out the cause of such behavior. As soon as we get new information we will add it to this review or publish it separately.
Alexander Kondakov (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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