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DanCanovas
11-03-04, 09:37 AM
hi guys.. wondering if you could help me. I have a 6800 GT but ive been having quite a few problems with it compared to my old 9800 Pro. I was thinking of selling it and getting an X800 XT but Im worried about lsing SM3.0 support. Some people say that it doesnt really matter but there is a long list of games which use it. Far Cry...Pacfiic Assault...etc... According to a previous post.
Would appreciate some advice.
Cheers.

Chippy
11-03-04, 10:33 AM
hi guys.. wondering if you could help me. I have a 6800 GT but ive been having quite a few problems with it compared to my old 9800 Pro. I was thinking of selling it and getting an X800 XT but Im worried about lsing SM3.0 support. Some people say that it doesnt really matter but there is a long list of games which use it. Far Cry...Pacfiic Assault...etc... According to a previous post.
Would appreciate some advice.
Cheers.

I really don't see SM3 as being a big deal to be honest. Its firmly in the "nice to have" category at the moment, rather than essential.

For example, I don't think there are any advantages to running Far Cry in SM3 or SM2b mode.

Chip

DanCanovas
11-03-04, 10:41 AM
i thought SM3. substantially increased performance in Far Cry?

http://www.guru3d.com/article/gamereviews/137/

Chippy
11-03-04, 10:45 AM
i thought SM3. substantially increased performance in Far Cry?

http://www.guru3d.com/article/gamereviews/137/

There is a substantial performance advantage - compared to SM 2a or 1.1. But I think you'll find the performance advantage is the same as going to SM 2(b).

The ATI cards got a similar boost by enabling 2b.

Chip

anzak
11-03-04, 10:46 AM
hi guys.. wondering if you could help me. I have a 6800 GT but ive been having quite a few problems with it compared to my old 9800 Pro. I was thinking of selling it and getting an X800 XT but Im worried about lsing SM3.0 support. Some people say that it doesnt really matter but there is a long list of games which use it. Far Cry...Pacfiic Assault...etc... According to a previous post.
Would appreciate some advice.
Cheers.

What problems are you having? Maybe we can help. You lose about $75 after selling your 6800GT and then buying a X800XT and IMO it's not worth it.

No one knows how fast developers will start to using SM3.0 in their games but you can bet that the 6800 will be more than powerful enough to play the first wave of titles with high settings. I know that im enjoying FarCry with OpenEXR HDR.

I really don't see SM3 as being a big deal to be honest. Its firmly in the "nice to have" category at the moment, rather than essential.

For example, I don't think there are any advantages to running Far Cry in SM3 or SM2b mode.

Chip

Don't forget about OpenEXR HDR in Far Cry. It looks amazing and runs great on my 6800nu w/ 16 pipes.

mustrum
11-03-04, 01:01 PM
I owned a x800 VIVO @XT Pe and was pleased with it. Then i saw the release list of comming SM3.0 titles and it's a lot of very promising ones.
Since i plan to keep this card for 2 years (I upgrade to a S939 A64 AGP based) i rather have SM3.0. There wont be better AGP cards out maybe (who knows) and since i just ordered a 3200+ wichester i need the most future proof graphics card for that system and that's the 6800.

I made quite a lot of money by switching from VIVO@XT PE to 6800 GT@ULTRA as well wich is very nice. (I think this might be the other way round in a year.)

StoNer
11-03-04, 03:44 PM
im sure X800s have corruptions in some games aswell with the new catylists. Its almost impossible to release new drivers without at least one game from before the release not working right with them.

If you want an x800 then go pick one up, both are great cards and maybe u will like it better. Id say wait for the Q4 cards to come out but its your money.

Hellion
11-03-04, 04:46 PM
What smart shader 3.0 is. is kinda like. how directX 9 cards first started out. Its a jump in a forward direction. but its too early for the cards to be using all the time. Considering, only a handle full of the original DX9 cards could handle it with good FPS. So i wouldnt worry about it till a few years down the line. ATI X ###'s series carry SM2.0 B, which isnt the same, but is more worhtit case of less performance hit, but it still have the step forward in mind. And dont think about this being a biased post. i own an ultra now :P

Chippy
11-04-04, 03:27 AM
Don't forget about OpenEXR HDR in Far Cry. It looks amazing...

Agreed, but you don't need SM3 for that. You do need an nVidia card admittedly, but that's a Crytek decision. ATI X800's can do this, just not in the current Far Cry release.

Chip

fivefeet8
11-04-04, 03:54 AM
ATI X800's can do this, just not in the current Far Cry release.

Chip

x800's can't do OPenEXR HDR.

Chippy
11-04-04, 05:29 AM
x800's can't do OPenEXR HDR.

True? But they can do HDR and can achieve the same visual end result. The reason ATI can't do it in Far Cry is because Crytek implemented HDR in the SM3 path. I am pretty sure you can tweak Far Cry to run the SM3 path on ATI and then HDR works too.

BTW, I am not meaning to sound like an ATI fan boy, LOL. I *did* but a 6800GT in fact: I moved across from 9700Pro.

I was only making the point that SM3 support is not that big a deal. Glad I have got it. Could live without it.

Chip

mustrum
11-04-04, 05:55 AM
Yeah but after reading the interviews with Crytek i know why.
They said that the x800 cards would have to do severeal passes to reach the same result.
Look at the HDR on 6800's right now: It has an extreme impact on performance.
The x800's could render it, but not anywhere close to a playable framerate.
At least that's what Crytek says.

Subtestube
11-04-04, 07:14 AM
True? But they can do HDR and can achieve the same visual end result. The reason ATI can't do it in Far Cry is because Crytek implemented HDR in the SM3 path. I am pretty sure you can tweak Far Cry to run the SM3 path on ATI and then HDR works too.


Just a couple quick notes.

OpenEXR HDR has nothing to do with Shader Model 3.0. It is true that the X800 doesn't support it in hardware, but, as I say, that has nothing to do with SM 3.0. An ATi card doing OpenEXR would look MUCH worse, because they don't support the required FP16 blend buffer. This is a necessity for the standard that was implemented in Far Cry.

That said, it is possible to do HDR lighting in standard Pixel shaders - it's expensive, and to do it playably you have to cut a few corners (though not all that many). As far as I know, you CANNOT run Far Cry HDR on any current ATi card. Again though, there's no reason whatsoever someone else couldn't implement HDR just using multi-pass shaders. That would, of course, run on ATi hardware.

I should note that I'm not particularly pro one company or the other. I personally consider SM 3.0 to be a big selling point, but I write actual shaders and dabble in graphics programming - so for me it was important to see what could actually be done with next gen tech.

Again, that said, I personally think the X800 XT is probably a little better in general at the moment as an overall package in terms of raw game speed. The key thing here is that it's *a little better* - not a lot. And, this is only in terms of pure speed. The 6800 is definitely at a small technological advantage. My advice to you would actually be to wait a couple weeks and see how the November driver release (assuming it happens) does. If it actually enables the VPU properly, that could just sweeten the deal on the 6800 GT just a little.

Edit: As an aside - also remember that the ATi camp makes up a massive portion of the market. If you get an X800 you probably won't be able to run some effects at their most pretty in the next year of gaming. In most cases though, you're going to be fine whatever you go for. Both the X800 and the 6800 are awesome cards. Choose whatever makes you feel better. If you've generally gone with ATi and have no good reason not to, stay with them. If you feel like having a change and seeing what the green team has to offer, give it a shot. My expectation is that either way, you'll have a bang up card that runs pretty well.

Chippy
11-04-04, 07:25 AM
Just a couple quick notes.

OpenEXR HDR has nothing to do with Shader Model 3.0.

I never said it did. All I said was it was only implemented in the SM3 path.

And of course you *can* do HDR on ATI, otherwise the excellent ATI Debevec demo (built to showcase 9700 Pro, IIRC) or RTHDRBL would not work.

From what you are saying though, it would seem unlikely that ATI cards could be made to do HDR as it is currently coded in Far Cry, so I stand corrected on that point.

Given what you say, the thing I can't figure is why the RTHDRBL demo runs better on X800 than on GF6800?

Chip

Decimator
11-04-04, 08:16 AM
Interesting....I've just had a look at the new Painkiller SP demo (#3) which I'd heard was using HDR, but it isn't mentioned in the Readme:

This demo features the latest version of the PAIN Engine (1.4) and one
battle from the third chapter of Painkiller. In the popular
"Military Base" level, new effects such as heat and haze distortion,
light blooms, per pixel specular mapping, new shader effects and
tweaks for the latest video cards are now included - just a taste of what
the PAIN Engine will offer in the upcoming expansion pack,
Painkiller: Battle out of Hell.

I ran it at 10 x 76 on my 17" monitor and it looked OK, but not quite as spectacular as I was hoping for, so I'll see what it looks like at 16 x 12 on my 19" CRT.

Also, does anyone know if this demo is using SM 3.0 with the Nvidia cards?

fivefeet8
11-04-04, 02:35 PM
True? But they can do HDR and can achieve the same visual end result. The reason ATI can't do it in Far Cry is because Crytek implemented HDR in the SM3 path. I am pretty sure you can tweak Far Cry to run the SM3 path on ATI and then HDR works too.

Chip

I'm not so sure HDR on ATi would achieve the same result as OpenEXR HDR. I knew what you were trying to say, but you made it sound like ATi could also do OpenEXR HDR. ATi can use Pixel Shaders to do HDR, but that would be a different coding path.

HDR isn't coded into the SM3 path. If you disable SM3, HDR still works.

Subtestube
11-04-04, 04:11 PM
Yeah, I was misinterpreting what you said as well. Apologies - I was misreading you as saying that OpenEXR could be done on an X800 [which it can't]. RTHDRIBL is pixel shader based, and it's my understanding that the shaders that are used just DO run better on ATi hardware. It's very easily possible to optimise for one brand of hardware, and I suspect the guy who wrote RTHDRIBL simply had a Radeon, and optimised for what he had. At least, that's my guess. Otherwise you do make a very good point, and I'm not sure what the significant difference between the X800 (And 9800 for that matter)'s and the 6800's performance in RTHDRIBL is caused by. It is pretty significant. Apologies if I came off as sounding rude before - I really didn't mean to be.

fivefeet8
11-04-04, 04:22 PM
I was misreading you as saying that OpenEXR could be done on an X800 [which it can't]. RTHDRIBL is pixel shader based, and it's my understanding that the shaders that are used just DO run better on ATi hardware. It's very easily possible to optimise for one brand of hardware, and I suspect the guy who wrote RTHDRIBL simply had a Radeon, and optimised for what he had. At least, that's my guess. Otherwise you do make a very good point, and I'm not sure what the significant difference between the X800 (And 9800 for that matter)'s and the 6800's performance in RTHDRIBL is caused by.

The author of RTHDRIBL used a R9700pro. It was stated that he coded it in Assembly for that architecture. The application is pretty optimized for it. There are also a few HDR tests in Shadermark 2.1 which test pixel shader HDR and FP16 filtering/blending. Interestingly, on the 6800, FP filtering is faster than pure PS HDR. The x800 cards can't do that test, but they are slightly faster with the pure PS HDR. With FP filtering on the Nv40 is still faster though.

Here are my results of the HDR tests in Shadermark 2.1

shader 22 ( High Dynamic Range Shader - low quality version without filtering - ps_3_0): 131 fps 7.6347 mspf 655 rendered frames
shader 23 ( High Dynamic Range Shader - high quality with fp filtering - ps_3_0): 146 fps 6.8456 mspf 731 rendered frames
shader 24 ( High Dynamic Range Shader - high quality without fp filtering - ps_3_0): 87 fps 11.5275 mspf 434 rendered frames



I don't think Shadermark uses OpenEXR though. It still uses PS HDR, but applies the FP filtering to it. It's also interesting to note that with no FP filtering, the HQ HDR used is slower than the HQ HDR with filtering. Both produce similar effects. On the Shadermark site the author also states:

shader 24 (High Dynamic Range Shader - high quality without fp filtering) uses no floating point filtering and therefore requires a 25x25 gaussian filter kernel to achieve the 100% same output as shader 23

anzak
11-04-04, 04:46 PM
The problem is no one has ever agreed on one standard method of doing HDR. If a standard would have been established then things like this would not happen.

Chippy
11-05-04, 05:33 AM
HDR isn't coded into the SM3 path. If you disable SM3, HDR still works.

Interesting. I had read elsewhere that its part of the SM3 path. Just shows you shouldn't believe everything you read in these various forums!

Chip

EDIT: Subtesttube = No need whatsoever for any apology. You didn't come across as being at all rude. Very nice of you to apologise though. One of the reasons I hang around here is the generally very pleasant atmosphere. Cool.