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Clay
05-02-04, 01:14 AM
UPDATE: Please let the record show that I am in no way "dumping" on the R420 with this post. That would be pointless and a waste of everyone's time. I simply had some questions that I wanted to open up for discussion. Some seem to have construed my last two sentences of this post as a knock towards the R420. They are not. They are simply facts (assuming that the R420 will not support 3.0 shaders that is).

Below I have highlighted ten testimonials which are admittedly "old news" in that they were posted on NVIDIA's website close to two weeks ago. However, the following ten specifically address or mention the 3.0 version of pixel and/or vertex shaders. Full PS/VS 3.0 shader support in the NVIDIA 6800 is of increasing interest while the same cannot be said with any certainty regarding the ATI R420 (though we should find out as soon as Tuesday, May 4th).

The main reason for highlighting these ten testimonials is that they were made by either actual programmers, technical directors, scientists or well known company presidents that have strong programming backgrounds. I maintain that these testimonials should not be quickly dismissed as marketing hype or PR evangilism. I'd ask that you read each of these closely and hope that some informative and constructive discussion/questions could be the result.

All of the following are a subset from the complete list of testimonials (http://www.nvidia.com/page/pg_20040412333689.html) from the NVIDIA website.

"As DOOM 3 development winds to a close, my work has turned to development of the next generation rendering technology. The GeForce 6800 is my platform of choice due to its support of very long fragment programs, generalized floating point blending and filtering, and the extremely high performance."
John Carmack, President and Technical Director, id Software


"With the GeForce 6800, NVIDIA brings long-awaited true high dynamic range imaging to gaming. The ability to perform blending and filtering on floating-point formats (combined with enormous processing power!) really makes for a wonderful feature that we're definitely looking forward to fully exploit in our Serious Engineā„¢."
Dean Sekulic, Programmer, Croteam


"We have been eagerly awaiting this newest generation of graphics technology because it allows us to do things we could never do before. The GeForce 6800 is a flexible platform that allows us to fully exploit DirectX 9.0 shader technology. We were able to achieve a very beautiful, polished game with Far Cry, but now we have the ability to push technologies like high-dynamic range, floating point blending and dynamic branching to render pixels at double the speed, and that's a particularly exciting prospect as we begin to focus on the advancement of the CryEngine for new big games!"
Cevat Yerli, CEO and President, Crytek.


"The GeForce 6800 is a great leap forward in PC graphics, bringing next-generation DirectX 9.0 rendering performance to new heights while continuing forward with the high-definition floating-point rendering, driver performance and stability NVIDIA is famous for. As the first GPU supporting the new pixel shader 3.0 programming model, the GeForce 6800 enables games to use entirely new rendering approaches and obtain higher performance per-pixel lighting, shadowing, and special effects than was ever possible before."
Tim Sweeney, Founder and President, Epic Games


"The vertex stream instancing enabled by the GeForce 6800 is a killer feature that allows our SpeedTree technology to drive forests of unprecedented depth and density. Coupled with raw performance, we fully expect our customers' games to boast far richer and more immersive environments."
Chris King, President, IDV, Inc.
http://www.idvinc.com/
http://www.idvinc.com/press/SpeedTreeRT_Integrated_With_Unreal.pdf


"These new GeForce 6800's are scary fast; it runs Thief: Deadly Shadows at 1600x1200 with AA and all the detail settings cranked all the way up faster than anything we have tested on. I can't wait to get these in our development boxes as we are starting work on our next rendering technology. Having FP16 buffers fully supported as a texture format is awesome and 3.0 shader support gives us the ideal platform to develop on today for our next titles. Actually I can't wait to get one in my computer!"
Tim Little, Director of Technology, Ion Storm, LP


"What most excites me about the GeForce 6 Series is the Vertex Stream Frequency Divider and Pixel Shader 3.0 support. The combination will give us the ability to create richer game environments and complex special effects. At last we will be able to do realistic gas and fluid simulations in real-time!"
Tim Ramsay, Senior Graphics Programmer, LucasArts


"It's clear that NVIDIA has done it again with the GeForce 6800. Not only is it wicked fast for Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising, but it provides us with a forward-looking platform for creating next-generation games today. The ability to create and deploy pixel and vertex 3.0 shaders will allow us to reach new levels of realism that weren't possible before."
Mark Davis, Chief Scientist, Novalogic


"NVIDIA have stepped it up a few more gears with the GeForce 6 Series. Vertex and pixel shader 3.0, with dynamic branching is exactly what developers have been longing for since the inception of shaders on the PC. This combined with the fully orthogonal FP16 feature set, will make next generation PC graphics engines something to behold."
Mark Robinson, Senior PC Programmer, Rockstar San Diego


"The feature set of the GeForce 6800 is truly astounding. Just when I thought graphics hardware couldn't possibly evolve at a faster pace, NVIDIA once again exceeds my wildest expectations by delivering a GPU with a design that is remarkably ahead of its time."
Eric Lengyel, Author, Mathematics of 3D Programming and The OpenGL Extensions Guide


One of my primary questions involves what some are saying as to how 3.0 shaders are going to be rendered moot by ATI. This is under the basic assumption that the R420 lineup will offer such higher clock speeds than the 6800. This would supposedly negate the efficiency and performance improvements of 3.0 shaders that the 6800 employs (since what can be done in 3.0 shaders can also be done in 2.0 but at greater expense). So, that sounds plausible. However, my question is this: if this is the case then why are the following upcoming games taking advantage of 3.0 shaders?
Lord of the Rings, Battle For Middle-earth
STALKER: Shadows of Chernobyl
Vampire: Bloodlines
Splinter Cell X
Tiger Woods 2005
Madden 2005
Driver 3
Painkiller
FarCry (in an upcoming patch)

With some of the well established companies producing these games such as EA, UBI, etc...it's clear that the inclusion of 3.0 shader support into their games is no fad.

Is it naive to think that many (if not all) of the above quoted company representatives have not also been privy to R420 information as well as NV40/6800 information? Barring something very unexpected from ATI, it appears that the "nutshell" for this new generation will be:

NVIDIA = Make use of the more efficient (and more feature-rich i.e. branching, etc) 3.0 shaders at somewhat slower clock speeds.

ATI = Continue to use less efficient (and less feature-rich) 2.0 shaders at somewhat faster clock speeds.

Nv40
05-02-04, 01:58 AM
my question is this: if this is the case then why are the following upcoming games taking advantage of 3.0 shaders?

because SM3.0 allows gamedevelopers to make their work easier ,more efficient ,with better performance ,and even more advanced effects thanks to extra precision and features in the NV40 vs. Sm2.0 hardware.

With the exception of longer shaders and few others , with Ps2.0 many things can be done with multipasses, hacks or using not practical ways of programming ,things that are easier with Ps3.0. with Vs3.0 there is not even a chance. means that developers simply will avoid the advanced effects in Sm2.0 class hardware whenever is not practical or possible to do it there.

its also correct that the R420 will have some funtionality beyond SM2.0 ..how much? ..we will know soon. but still they will need -special paths- a,b,c ,++ to make that extra funtionality to work. so thats more work for developers ,because it will only work in that particular R4xx generation hardware.will not benefit the R3xx ,neither the R5xx class hardware,neither incoming graphics cards of all others IHV .because is not the standar path. Developers with tight schedules that doesnt want to deal with special paths will simply default their work in R42x hardware to SM2.0 , just like any other R3xx and to Sm3.0 in the cards that support it (if their game benefits from this). because any work done in SM3.0 will benefit not only that hardware that support it today, but every other in the future from any company.

Sm3.0 not only can be usefull for PS2.0 games but also for Ps1.x too.thats why you see Dx8 games support too. SM3.0 is simply Sm2.0 without the limitations.

But in the end it all depends of the games ,and the effects developers are working. what they need .if their games barely use Dx9 or pixel shaders.. obviously SM3.0 will not have a diference there and no impact in the gamers experience .In heavier Dx9 titles the impact that SM3.0 can do in games ,its a diferent story.

Casper
05-02-04, 04:01 AM
Sigh all this marketing stuff is tiring. If you could take that statements from somebody else than nVidias homepage someone would perhaps listen...

GamblerFEXonlin
05-02-04, 04:37 AM
Hello!

But all the pixel and vertex shading in the world won't get you any Half Life 2 super-duper physics!

Only the CPU can get create "real-looking" polygonized blood, holes in bodies, wall-detection, dismembered monsters and busted cars.

http://jooh.no/root/omg_3dcards/CPU_Physics/xna_crash.jpg

So don't we need the CPU just as much as a 3D card to get Cinematic effects?

shinrai
05-02-04, 05:41 AM
Look, i don't post often, but these testimonials make me sick to the core (no pun intended). I apologise in advance but aren't most of these guys on the nvidia payroll? ie " The way it's mean't to be played".

Sorry fellas, this sounds like marketing talking which i really give nvidia credit for. Even when they had the obviously bad nv30 they still had these kind of comments coming out.

Ofcourse it's not a perfect world and battles aren't won on hardware capability alone.

PatrickL
05-02-04, 06:20 AM
You don't like infomercials ? :rolleyes:

reever2
05-02-04, 06:40 AM
You dont know the feature set of the R420, I don't get how this is news at all

if this is the case then why are the following upcoming games taking advantage of 3.0 shaders?

Another non-sensical comment made by everybody. Where exactly does it say that these games aren't going to be using SM2.0 code at all, or less than 3.0 code?

reever2
05-02-04, 07:21 AM
The only game to use one shader model only was TRAOD and how exciting and wonderful was that game?

Did the bad quality of the game have anything to do with what shader model was used?

Edit: And where are all of the developers who said SM3.0 will make little difference, do they not exist?

Casper
05-02-04, 07:23 AM
Do you guys read what scores movies get when you hire them in your video store??

Drumphil
05-02-04, 07:35 AM
sigh.. yelling "sm3 is the best thing since sliced bread" at the crowd crying "sm3 is useless" doesn't achieve anything.. The truth, as allways, is somewhere inbetween.. And regardless of that, some people can't spot marketing when they see it.. Of course ps3 is good.. So is ps2.0.. T&L is a great feature too.. That in of itself doesn't make the difference in the real world. Sigh, yeah, im gunna buy a 6800 for ps3 because........ unlreal 3 will make full use of it? Whens that coming out again? Again im not trying to devalue ps3, just that people are carrying this to silly extremes.

Paul
05-02-04, 08:11 AM
NVIDIA = Make use of the more efficient (and more feature-rich i.e. branching, etc) 3.0 shaders at somewhat slower clock speeds.

ATI = Continue to use less efficient (and less feature-rich) 2.0 shaders at somewhat faster clock speeds.

Crucially, with no mention of the actual speed the respective companies and cards are performing PS ops. What good is 3.0 if the competition is throwing your mildly impressive 2.0 PS performance back in your face? NV would have some leeway if they were still the massively dominant player and had the best 2.0 performance as well. Neither of those are true.

Casper
05-02-04, 08:43 AM
The question is what is better. Having the best PS 2.0 performance or the best PS 3.0 performance hmmm...

green_meanie
05-02-04, 09:11 AM
sigh.. yelling "sm3 is the best thing since sliced bread" at the crowd crying "sm3 is useless" doesn't achieve anything.. The truth, as allways, is somewhere inbetween.. And regardless of that, some people can't spot marketing when they see it.. Of course ps3 is good.. So is ps2.0.. T&L is a great feature too.. That in of itself doesn't make the difference in the real world. Sigh, yeah, im gunna buy a 6800 for ps3 because........ unlreal 3 will make full use of it? Whens that coming out again? Again im not trying to devalue ps3, just that people are carrying this to silly extremes.


The same silly extremes alot of people went to last year when they bought a 9800 because it had a Half Life 2(Vaporware) voucher in the box. I recall reading a ton of posts on various forums from people getting amped up over that deal "yeah get a 9800 you get a Vaporware 2 voucher with it, it uses PS2.0 and will showcase the 9800". Showcase it.......when?

I agree it's silly to buy any card based on one game.

vampireuk
05-02-04, 09:43 AM
I maintain that these testimonials should not be quickly dismissed as marketing hype or PR evangilism

Seems people have trouble reading

reever2
05-02-04, 09:51 AM
Seems people have trouble reading

I can read personal opinions just fine. What else is there to be discussed other than the opinion he presented after pasting over Nvidia's selective reading PR article with a one sided picture?

vampireuk
05-02-04, 09:52 AM
My point is people have just instantly replied whining about NVIDIA pr again, I am willing to bet that some of them didn't even read.

Woodelf
05-02-04, 10:14 AM
We'll it seem's important enough for crytek to put out a patch for an existing game to include it.
Why they are bothering with it, is making me think there is something good comming from Nvidia.

NitroX
05-02-04, 10:25 AM
this is great
whats McDonald's slogan again
oh yeah "I'm Loving it"

:retard:

keep up the great discussion I will be here all day reading this

even though it is the same back and forth all the time

jimmyjames123
05-02-04, 10:29 AM
Look, i don't post often, but these testimonials make me sick to the core

Developer testimonials on a fantastic card make you sick to the core? That's a pretty silly statement. And saying or implying that you can't trust anyone who is a part of TWIMTBP campaign is just a cop out IMHO, and just a good way to avoid talking about any of the valid developer comments. So if each developer was either a member of NV's "The Way It's Meant To Be Played" or ATI's "Get in the Game" campaign, then you wouldn't be able to trust anyone, correct?

The NV40 is a card that any developer would love to work with. It has very high performance, a well thought-out and scaleable architecture, and full support for SM 3.0. Developers are embracing this card for good reason, and MaxPower's testimonials are showing exactly this. This is not intended to be testimonials from a consumer point of view, but a developers point of view! If anything, consumers should be excited that the developers are excited ;)

Moose
05-02-04, 10:39 AM
Nice PR speak from TWIMTBP developers. There are quite a few developers who think that right now PS 2.0 is quite enough.

Who needs very long shaders when the hardware can barely run the short ones????

jimmyjames123
05-02-04, 10:44 AM
There are quite a few developers who think that right now PS 2.0 is quite enough.

Depends on what your definition of "enough" is. Some people think that FP24 is "enough", some don't. Some people think that angle-dependent AF is "enough", some don't.

It would be extremely silly for a developer NOT to be interested in any new technology that has full support for SM 3.0. Remember that certain effects can be rendered more efficiently using PS 3.0 vs using PS 2.0. And the NV40 already has very fast PS 2.0 speed. So why not?

3dCenter said it best regarding PS 3.0 on the NV4x cards:

Pixelshader 3.0 is an option. nVidia provides this option now, ATI does not. It's always good to have options.

Moose
05-02-04, 10:45 AM
This is not intended to be testimonials from a consumer point of view, but a developers point of view! If anything, consumers should be excited that the developers are excited ;)

Exactly, and as a consumer I want the best graphics card avail that will play the games I'm currently playing and for the next ten months or so.

After that I'll be moving to PCIE and the next generation video card anyway.

jimmyjames123
05-02-04, 10:49 AM
Exactly, and as a consumer I want the best graphics card avail that will play the games I'm currently playing and for the next ten months or so.

Consumers have varying preferences, just as developers do. And what is your definition of "best" graphics card? What point are you trying to make here?

Paul
05-02-04, 10:57 AM
Exactly, and as a consumer I want the best graphics card avail that will play the games I'm currently playing and for the next ten months or so.

Then there isn't even going to be a decision for you to make. PS3.0 will absolutely, 100% not be an issue of any significance in the next 10 months, or even in this generation of cards. PS2.0 will be the deciding factor, and ATi have that sown up. IQ will also be important, and - whilst their AF still isn't brilliant with the R420 - their AA is once more noticeably ahead of the competition, both in terms of looks and speed.

jimmyjames123
05-02-04, 11:07 AM
PS3.0 will absolutely, 100% not be an issue of any significance in the next 10 months, or even in this generation of cards.

What makes you say this? There are plenty of gaming titles already lined up to use SM 3.0. Use of SM 3.0 should only help the NV4x cards, not hurt them.

PS2.0 will be the deciding factor, and ATi have that sown up.

According to who?

their AA is once more noticeably ahead of the competition, both in terms of looks and speed.

Again, according to who? Are you speaking of temporal AA? Temporal AA cannot be effectively used under all circumstances.