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OpenGL performance on ATI R600

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 30, 2006 5:35:10 AM

Hi guys,

I don't know much but there is a rumor outhere ATI R600 would come with 64 physical pipes that can run either vertex or pixel shaders. While this is perfect for games, I'm wondering if this would help CAD programs.

My reasoning is like this...CAD programs are vertex calculation intensive as opposed to games that have a balance between vertex/pixel calculations. Curently, for profesional cards like Quadro and FireGL series it seems that the faster the GPU core and the more vertex pipes the card has the better the card performance. Currently the cards have something like 8 vertex pipes, but imagine what would happen once it can use 64 at once. Am I missing something? Can some of more knowledgeable guys comment about OpenGL apps performance on ATI R600?

Also...Because of VISTA only DirectX10 policy it seems that ATI R600 features would work only on Vista. Knowing that Vista has a OpenGL->DirectX API mapping, how would that affect OpenGL performance? What about OpenGL games like Quake4 on Vista? Will NVIDIA and AMDATI offer native OpenGL drivers on Vista for consumer cards? Or only for professional ones? What about WinXP and ATI R600 combination?

Well...I have well too many questions, but my main problem is it worth upgrading my CAD workstation to Vista to get more performance/video cards options (currently have AMD X2 4600, ATI X850 Pro, 4GB ram) ?

Peace,
Lav
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August 30, 2006 6:36:53 AM

i remember read it somewhere that Vista will natively support Open GL, will have to dig it up. The thing is that the professional cards are largely depend on the driver it uses, hence the still imo unjustified higher cost. Also, I checked autodesk website, cad2007 doesn't support 64bit OS as of yet. Sorry, no real info here about R600, but I surely hope that if the unified pipes would mean boost in performance and easier to make driver for the cards, meaning lower prices on these workstation cards. Let's hope....
August 30, 2006 7:38:01 AM

Quote:
i remember read it somewhere that Vista will natively support Open GL, will have to dig it up. The thing is that the professional cards are largely depend on the driver it uses, hence the still imo unjustified higher cost. Also, I checked autodesk website, cad2007 doesn't support 64bit OS as of yet. Sorry, no real info here about R600, but I surely hope that if the unified pipes would mean boost in performance and easier to make driver for the cards, meaning lower prices on these workstation cards. Let's hope....


i see you wanna help but why try to answer something you dont know much about??

plus you should really read the post you apply to.. he was not talking about 64bit OS but 64 physical pipes for vertex or pixel shaders
Quote:
I don't know much but there is a rumor outhere ATI R600 would come with 64 physical pipes that can run either vertex or pixel shaders.


Quote:
Can some of more knowledgeable guys comment about OpenGL apps performance on ATI R600?


i guess i would also like to read someones post who knows about this stuff.. it would also be interesting to get info about R600 video editing performance...

greetz

X
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August 30, 2006 2:14:07 PM

Cad programs also like high clockspeeds.

But if you're into CAD and have the money, you're probably better off with a quadro or FireGL anyway...

The FireGL version of the R600 will be interesting, but it's hard to say how it'll perform until it's here.
August 30, 2006 3:21:25 PM

Well...I'm into CAD but I hate paying those enormous prices for Quadro or FireGL cards. This is a rip-off. The "Pro" cards are ususally the same versions of the consumer cards just minimaly modified and sold with a high performance driver. Usually they don't even have the latest and greatest GPUs addapted to the "Pro" versions. What a shame. I've seen soft mods but I don't like the idea because the mods are not usually updated to the latest driver releases, and hard mods are not a healthy solution.

That's why I was looking for some sort of breakthrough. I thought that ATI R600 with 64 physical pipes that can switch to vertex processing might be the answer. I've said that CAD loves high clock speeds. But I was thinking about a similar increase in performance that came in games when the number of pixel pipes increased dramatically, even though the cores clock speeds stayed pretty much the same or increased only slightly. The same thing with vertex pipes. Right now they are between 6 and 8. Keep the clock speed the same but provide 64 physical pipes that can turn into vertex pipes. What would be the performance gain? Am I missing here something?

Peace
August 30, 2006 3:38:45 PM

About Vista & OpenGL. There seems that MS droped their plans about having Aero interface in DirectX only. Vista will support both DirectX and OpenGL interfaces in the same time, just like Windows XP, and even more there seems that even the Aero interface can be rendered in OpenGL or something like that. That kind of answer one of my questions. There is no performance/feature degradation in Vista OpenGL, or at least not because of mandatory DirectX/lack of drivers.
August 30, 2006 3:46:51 PM

Quote:
This is a rip-off. The "Pro" cards are ususally the same versions of the consumer cards just minimaly modified and sold with a high performance driver... Am I missing here something?


Hey lav,

I think maybe what your missing is how valuable that pro CAD driver is.

When you pay the extra $$ for a Quadro or FireGL, you're paying for the driver. The hardware shouldn't even enter your mind, it's a secondary concern.

If you work CAD all day that driver is worth it's weight in gold. It's far more stable and will give you much more control. If you're a full time CAD user, you're paying those developers to maintain that driver.

Once you wrap your head around that, it's easier to swallow. I work with 3d visualization programs a bit, not enough to justify a Quadro... but if I worked on them full time, there's nho way I'd have anything but a workstation card. There are too many hassles.

As far as the R600, even in the current gen Ati's drivers are a bit wonky when it comes to pro CAD stuff. I use Nvidia cards for 3dsMAX, I've found their commercial driver to be much more stable.

My Radeon X1900 XTX is awesome for gaming, but at work I use MAX a bit, and I much prefer the 7600 GS I have here for that...
August 30, 2006 4:00:55 PM

You have a good point about the value of the driver. But why they don't sell a separate version of the driver for consumer cards at a price premium and let the market decide. Let's call it Quake 4 accelerated driver. Have you guys played OpenGL games like Quake 4 on pro cards? Are there any performance stats outhere? Probably such a move would kill the "Pro" cards market. I don't know...

Also in the price premium is included a much better level of support than with consumer cards. Who needs it?

Anyway...I hope the high price drivers would die someday. Already Autodesk is moving towards DirectX, as their latest version of Inventor lets you choose what API you want to use DirectX or OpenGL. The others will follow suit, especially in the midrange CAD then the gap between midrange and high end CAD is shrinking.

If they want to sell performance drivers, why not charge a reasonable fee for it and try to distribute it as wide as possible. It's only fair. Right now the manufacturers are ripping off the consumers by overhyping their "Pro" products. That's why I said it's a rip-off. I'm sure this will change. Quite soon.

Peace
August 30, 2006 4:06:00 PM

Games tend to run alot slower with PRO drivers, they just aren't optimized for 'em.

As far as price, that's the nature of the beast...it's not likely price will lower because it's made for corporate customers, and the market is small. Therefore to recoup development costs they charge alot.

On the bright side, I find the Nvidia commercial drivers are pretty darn stable. Even a 6600 GT can do a real nice job in CAD programs.
August 30, 2006 4:13:16 PM

ATI OpenGL drivers suck big time. Right now I'm sorry I've bought my ATI X850. I should have gone NVIDIA 6800 at that time, even if it was slightly more expensive. I guess you get what you pay for :)  My next card it's going to be a NVIDIA if I upgrade to Vista unless ATI R600 pulls of a silver bullet because of 64 physical pipes, and this is the subject of my question.

Peace
August 30, 2006 7:30:16 PM

Quote:
Can some of more knowledgeable guys comment about OpenGL apps performance on ATI R600?


This is the important part of your question, and unfortunately at present nobody can answer it as ATI and Nvidia have kept a complete stranglehold on any serious details surrounding their next-generation cards.

Until some benchmarks turn up, this really will be a wait and see.
August 31, 2006 7:32:09 AM

He was talking about Vista, DX10, so I thought I just let him know heads up that as of now CAD 2007 still only works in 32 bit.
August 31, 2006 7:36:14 AM

Agree completely. It's a good thing that autodesk is moving toward directX, not saying it's better performace wise, etc, but for sure better for our wallets :) 
!