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Graphics Cards Bryan Duggan Overview Resolutions & memory What does a graphics card do? Features Texturing Anti-aliasing Ansiphromorphic filtering Bump mapping Z Buffering Benchmarking & diagnostics Manufacturers Low end cards Mid range cards High end cards Direct X Open GL AGP

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graphics cards

Graphics Cards

Bryan Duggan

  • Resolutions & memory
  • What does a graphics card do?
  • Features
    • Texturing
    • Anti-aliasing
    • Ansiphromorphic filtering
    • Bump mapping
    • Z Buffering
  • Benchmarking & diagnostics
  • Manufacturers
  • Low end cards
  • Mid range cards
  • High end cards
  • Direct X
  • Open GL
  • AGP
  • PCI Express
  • Pixel – Picture element - the basic unit of programmable color on a computer display or in a computer image
  • Resolution – how many pixels wide and tall
  • Bit depth or colour depth or Bits per pixel – How many bits are required to represent a pixel
  • The larger the bit depth, the more colours can be represented
  • 1 = Monochrome (0 = white, 1=black)
  • 4 = 16 colours
  • 8 = 256 colours (+ pallette)
  • 16 = 65536 colours (+ pallette)
  • 24 = 16M colours (true colour) red, green, blue
  • 32 = 16M colours (true colour) red, green, blue, transparency
display devices
Display devices
  • CRT – Cathode Ray Tube
    • Maximum resolution
    • Refresh rate (min 60 Hz)
  • LCD – Liquid Crystal Display
    • Optimum resolution
    • Refresh rate is less important
    • Response time (<25ms for games)
resolutions memory
Resolutions & Memory
  • Originally, graphics memory was a factor of the resolution and colour depth supported
  • VGA 16 Colours @ 640 x 480 or 256 colours @ 320 x 200 x
  • SVGA 800 x 600
  • XGA 16 million colors @ 800 x 600 or 1024 x 768 @ 65,536
  • Super Extended Graphics Array (SXGA) and Ultra Extended Graphics Array (UXGA) 1280 x 1024 resolution
  • UXGA refers to a resolution of 1600 by 1200.
  • Palette info also stored
memory was a factor of resolution pallet size
Memory was a factor of resolution & pallet size
  • E.g. 16 colours can be represented by 4 bits therefore 4 BPP (or 1 nibble or .5 of a byte)
  • VGA 640 x 480 x .5 = 153600 = 150k
  • VGA 320 * 200 = 64000 = 62.5k
  • SVGA 800 * 600 * 2 (16 bits per pixel) = 960000 + pallet 196608 = 393216 = 384k
  • Nowadays graphics cards have a between 32MB Ram and 256Mb
  • So what is all the extra memory used for??
what does a 3d graphics card do with all that memory
What does a 3d graphics card do with all that memory!!
  • A 2d point can be represented by 2 numbers, X, Y
  • A 2d object is called a polygon. For example:
  • This can be easily manipulated by
  • Modifying the X, Y coords
  • Transformed
  • Scaled
  • Rotated
  • Etc.
3d objects
3d objects
  • A 3d point can be represented by 3 numbers, X, Y, Z
  • 3d polygons are made up of a number of 2d polygons
  • Usually triangles
  • Polygons are combined to make primitives.
  • Spheres
  • Cones
  • Cubes etc
  • Textures are then applied to the models
  • Textures are just bitmaps drawn onto a 3d object to make them more realistic
  • Games support different size textures for graphics cards with different capeabilities
  • Games are set in virtual worlds known as scenes
  • Scenes can contain hundreds of 3d objects, thosands of polygons
  • A graphics card must render the scene at least 30 times per second to give the impression of fluid motion.
  • A typical scene from half life 2
  • Transformation involves taking position data as it's stored in a vertex structure and transforming it into a 'screenspace' position.
  • 'Screenspace' refers to the 2D plane that represents the viewer's window onto the world
  • Graphics cards also apply lighting effects to a scene, to create shadows in real time:
depth of vision
Depth of vision

This can be used to optomise rendering. Faraway objects require less detail and therefore less work to render

z buffering
Z Buffering
  • Z-buffering is an algorithm used in 3-D graphics to ensure that perspective works the same way in the virtual world as it does in the real one: a solid object in the foreground will block the view of one behind it.
anti aliasing
  • Adds intermediate pixels to reduce the staircase effect.
  • Up to 8 samples
  • Can slow down games, reducing frame rate
bump mapping
Bump Mapping
  • Bump mapping is a technique used in graphics programs to produce the appearance of textured surfaces.
  • It works by altering the brightnesses of the pixels in specific patterns. The result is similar to that produced when light shines at an angle on a surface.
  • By means of bump mapping, a sphere can be made to look like an orange.
  • An apparently horizontal plane can be given the appearance of a pond with ripples, an asphalt parking lot, or a grassy lawn. Bump mapping is used in gaming programs to produce the illusion of relief.
graphic card companies
Graphic Card Companies
  • In 1998 there were more than 50 companies developing graphics chips
  • Today this number is much smaller
  • NVIDIA and ATI are two of the largest graphic card companies around now
  • NVIDIA and ATI are rivals that are always fighting for market share, and this is good for the end-user
video card needs
Video Card Needs
  • Main categories of computer usage:
    • Casual computing
    • Graphic design
    • Light gaming
    • Heavy gaming
casual computing
Casual Computing
  • Word processing, web browsing, watching a DVD, listening to music
  • Video card should support:
    • 32-bit colour depth – allows the display of over 16.7 million colours
    • 1280 x 1024 colour depth resolution
    • 85 Hz refresh rate – reduces eye fatigue over extended usage
    • ATI Radeon 9200 or NVIDIA GeForceFX 5200 processors
graphic design
Graphic Design
  • Video card should support the following:
  • 1600 x 1200 depth resolution
  • Multi-monitor support - allows the card to support two computer displays at once, expanding the graphical workspace
  • For video editing
    • Video in/video out (VIVO) – allows a video source to be plugged into the computer for digitizing of analog video sources such as TV or VHS tapes as well as exporting a video signal back to those devices.
light gaming
Light Gaming
  • Games that use 3D graphics acceleration
  • NVIDA GeForceFX 5700 and ATI Radeon 9600 are both excellent processors since they both support:
    • AGP 8x
    • DirectX 9
    • 128 MB VRAM
heavy gaming
Heavy Gaming
  • ATI Radeon 9800 and NVIDIA GeForceFX 5900 processors support:
    • DirectX 9
    • 128 MB of VRAM
    • 256 MB of memory for future game support
ati graphics processors
ATI Graphics Processors
  • The R350 graphics processor is the direct successor to the R300 and is used in the highperformance Radeon 9700 line of graphics cards
  • The R350 is similar to the R300 in some ways:
    • They both use the 0.15 micron chip process
    • They both have 8 pixel pipelines and a 256 bit memory bus
ati graphics processors33
ATI Graphics Processors
  • The R350 has advantages over the R300:
    • Increased clock speed
    • Pixel and vertex shader code
    • Refined and optimised Z-buffer code
  • There are three versions of the Radeon 9800 cards based on the R350 core:
    • Radeon 9800 w/128 MB
    • Radeon 9800 Pro w/128 MB
    • Radeon 9800 Pro w/256 MB
ati graphics processors34
ATI Graphics Processors
  • The RV350 is ATI’s mid-range chip
  • RV350 uses the new 0.13 micron chip
  • Improved performance of the pixel and vertex shaders
  • 4 pixel pipelines
  • 128-bit memory bus
  • Used in the Radeon 9600 and Radeon Pro 9600 boards
ati graphics processors35
ATI Graphics Processors
  • The Radeon 9200 are ATI’s value boards
  • They use the same features and functions of the older RV250, but now includes an AGP 8x compatible interface
  • Supports DirectX 8.1 pixel and vertex shaders so has limited future potential as more and more games are developed around DirectX 9
nvidia graphics processors
NVIDIA Graphics Processors
  • The GeForceFX 5600 boards based on the NV31 core are part of NVIDIA’s mid-range of boards
  • Performance of the GeForceFX 5600 Ultra boards is 25% faster than GeForce 4600 boards
  • Fully compatible with DirectX 9 and has the same vertex and pixel shaders as the 6800 Ultra processor
nvidia graphics processors37
NVIDIA Graphics Processors
  • The NVIDIA budget range also has a fully DirectX 9 compliant video board with the same graphics features as the higher end processors
  • The NV34 based GeForceFX 5200 is built on a 0.15 micron chip
  • Performance features such as colour and z-compression are absent from these boards
  • 3d Mark 2001
  • 3d Mark 2003
  • Aquamark
  • Quake 3
  • Unreal tournament
  • Sis Soft Sandra
  • an application program interface (API) for creating and managing graphic images and multimedia effects in applications
  • Windows Only
  • Currently at Version 9.0b
  • Allows programs written to the DirectX standard to work with a variety of hardware
  • Use DXDIAG to diagnose problems
  • Silicon Graphics, DEC, Intel, IBM, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems
  • Open, cross platform Standard
game types
Game types
  • FPS – First Person Shooter
  • TPS – Third Person Shooter
  • RTS – Real Time Strategy
  • MMORPG – Massivly Multi-player Online Role Playing Game
  • Turn Based Strategy
  • Guess the following titles and their genres: