im a newbie here, i just bought a radeon 9600 xt and im really happy with it (coming from a geforce 4 mx 460)... i have no idea how to tweak these (not sure if ur supposed to)... i was just wanting to know a couple of things.... the difference between open GL and direct 3d? which ones better? and also my card come with a program called v tuner, it supposed to help u overclock it, does anyone know if its safe? or how to do it?
Generally speaking, OpenGL is used by professional applications like 3D modeling and is considered more accurate, while Direct 3D is faster and specifically designed for gaming. There are some OpenGL games, but they are based on VERY old gaming engines (some of them have been cosiderably updated but are still rooted in 10 year old original versions).
I overclock my card, generally I run 3D-Mark 2001SE for a couple hours in loop mode to see if any artifacts show up, and clock it down a bit if they do. I've never damaged a card.
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Vtuner is Gigabyte's proprietary overclocking tool.
It's no more/less safe that other tools.
The main things is to take any overclock slowly try pushing one thing up at a time until you see artifacts then back it off (10-15mhz for core 5mhz for memory). Then bring it to baseline and ease up the other thing and finding it's sweet spot. Keep you eye on your testing so that you don't allow anything to run too long and fry your card. Once you know the core and memory maximums, then you can see where the card likes to have both co-exist.
If you are planning on keeping your card for a long time, don't overclock to much, as it will reduce the life of your card over time. If you are planning on keeping it for less than a year then overclocking it won't make much difference to you. For 2+ years, maybe got to about 70-80% of the max overclock to keep things cooler and help them last longer.
All parts will fail eventually, overclocking just speeds up that process. Some cards like the R9600 series can take tremendous overclocks of the core without much impact, but be very careful of your memory, it may not be very highly rated (could be some of that 3.3ns stuff) and therefore not have too much headroom. Check the memory modules first and see if you at least got a hold of some 2.86ns samsung stuff.