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73

Simple answer Pixel shaders are tiny programs that can do operations on a single pixel on the screen, as opposed to geometry shaders and vertex shaders which work on the geometrical primitives (triangles) that make up everything you see on the screen. The most common use for pixel shaders is 'shading', approximation to real world lighting. Commonly used ...


67

If you prune through this article you will probably be able to gather most of the information you seek, but I'll try and summarize the relevant bits. First, you should understand that MSAA is a type of Supersampling anti-aliasing (SSAA). SSAA, also known as FSAA, removes "jags" from an image by rendering the image at a higher resolution: Full-scene ...


59

This is a great question because other than "is AA on or off?" I hadn't considered the performance implications of all the various anti-aliasing modes. There's a good basic description of the three "main" AA modes at So Many AA Techniques, So Little Time, but pretty much all AA these days is MSAA or some tweaky optimized version of it: Super-Sampled ...


35

My approach, in light of the plethora of information contained in the spec of any graphics card, is to go by benchmarks. Specifically, Tom's hardware's benchmarks. Of course, benchmarks should always to be taken with a grain of salt, since the benchmark rig might (and usually does) overpower your own in many aspects. However, I do believe that this is a ...


17

The way you have them listed (Bilinear -> Trilinear -> Anisotropic) is the proper order from least to best image quality, and in increasing order with respect to processing power. In the simplest terms, moving from bilinear to trilinear will avoid issues where texture size changes (ie, while walking towards a wall, the texture won't seem to abruptly change ...


14

Another option if best bang for your buck is what your interested in is http://www.pcpartcharts.com/filterGpus.php. This allows you to rank graphics cards by performance, by price and by cost-effectiveness for those of us with a budget.


13

I have a similar computer set up, and here is how I make it work: Go to the NVIDIA Control Panel by right clicking on your desk top and clicking on "NVIDIA Control Panel". In the default screen that pops up (it should be "manage 3D settings", and the "Program Settings" tab should be automatically selected), under "1. Select a program to customize:" hit ...


13

The "Quadro" (nVidia) and "FirePro" (ATI/AMD) cards are workstation-class cards, intended for professional use and optimized for things like Adobe Creative Studio. They are not optimized towards the demands of games. ATI/AMD & nVidia's consumer- and enthusiast- grade hardware are optimized towards games, however. In general, you'll find that ...


11

Two rules of thumb I used to use: If increasing the resolution brought about a large drop in the frame rate, it could indicate that the game was GPU-bound, as the increased resolution makes the video card work much harder and, as a result, takes longer to get each frame out the door. On the other hand, if increasing the resolution brought about only a ...


11

They are both a hardware and software requirement. Pixel shaders (and shaders in general) are part of your video card (or GPU) hardware. However, you also need a version of DirectX/OpenGL recent enough to support that video card's capabilities, or your game can't really use them. Shaders are part of the rendering process that contribute massively to your ...


9

You most certainly have a performance bottleneck in your CPU. The X2 4400+ is over 5 years old now which, along with your older motherboard (which only supports PCIe 1.0, the 460 is designed for PCIe 2.0), is severely limiting any gains from your brand new video card. This next part is a little hazy as I've heard conflicting arguments, so hopefully someone ...


9

This forum post explains VSync in as much detail as you could ever want. http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=928593 The gist of it is that VSync stops screen tearing. Screen tearing occurs because the frame buffer is half filled with the next frame when it is written to the screen. VSync introduces a back buffer inbetween the video card and the frame ...


8

I believe that it requires hardware-accelerated OpenGL with driver extensions to support it. If one of those computers has an Intel graphics chipset, installing the Intel version instead of the built-in Windows one usually fixes it. Rage128 only supports OpenGL 1.2, but Minecraft requires 2.0. It just won't work with that card, sorry.


8

Actually I think this is a case of the developer / support being "lazy". I say this because the Steam store indicates TFU "supports" the following nVidia chipsets: NVIDIA GeForce 8600, 8800, 9400, 9500, 9600, 9800, 250, 260, 275, 280, 285, 295 All of which are older that your 470. So, in other words, because your card is newer than their game they ...


8

I have encountered the same problem. As far as I can tell, it has to do with how the game engine renders the 1080p cutscenes, shifting the color (chroma) part of the videos vertically. As the game engine is EPIC's Unreal engine, it may be related to this bug, which seems to produce the same color offset issues. This might have been the reason Firaxis had ...


7

The "very high" option is only available on a DirectX 10 capable operating system (Windows Vista/7) with a DirectX 10 capable graphics card. Your graphics card is DX10-capable, but you would need to upgrade to Windows Vista or Windows 7 to use DirectX10-only effects. There is an inofficial way of enabling most of those effects without using DirectX 10: ...


7

If possible, you should always run a game on the native resolution of a monitor (assuming it's an LCD of some kind, which your laptop is) as it will look "best". That being said, there is absolutely no penalty, performance, heat, or otherwise for turning this option on. If it looks fine to you (I think it would drive me crazy), go ahead and do it.


7

After some searching (too much, that's why I'm posting the answer here) I found a solution on the forum of Good Old Games. Adding the following DirectX section to "preferences.ini" file located in "C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\The Longest Journey" seems to solve the issue: [DirectX] GfxDriver=display int_BitDepth=32 bool_IsDoubleBuffer=0 ...


7

The short answer is, it's there to let you adjust the picture, with the intent that it looks pleasing to your eye. Therefore, if you're happy with the way the picture looks, the gamma's probably fine. In gaming, extreme adjustments to gamma might expose or hide similarly colored items, which might change the game slightly, but otherwise it's a personal ...


6

A final reccomendation: It's really easy to get carried away and spent lots of money on a card. Usually that's counterproductive. I found that it's almost always better to get the cheapest card that will get the job done and upgrade relatively frequently (1 year?), rather that get a monstrously expensive card planning to keep it for 2-3 years. With this ...


6

The big advantage of consoles like PS3, XBox or Wii is that their hardware doesn't change (except maybe disk capacity and other minor things). A game developer can get the maximum out of the existing hardware, because he knows exactly what hardware his game will run on. That is not the case with PC games where you'll encounter tons of different OS/Hardware ...


6

AMD and NVidia usually provide a reference layout for their graphics cards that many manufacturers use. If a card uses this reference layout there is essentially no difference between cards from different manufacturers. But the manufacturers often try to differentiate their graphics cards from those of the competition, so they use different cooling ...


6

NVIDIA has created another algorithm, FXAA (Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing). Unlike currently used MSAA, CSAA and their variations, it works on a pixel level, never touching geometry. It finds jagged edges and smoothes them. It is faster than the rest. Like FSAA, it has no problems with alpha channels, shaders etc. However, the results are more blurry. I ...


6

When an application runs in fullscreen mode, it runs in "exclusive mode". That means it has full and direct control over the screen output. But when it runs in window mode, it needs to send its output to the window manager (windows explorer) which then manages where on the screen that output is drawn. This takes some additional performance. The performance ...


6

Depends on the resolution you play at. If your game resolution is your desktop resolution, then fullscreen is likely to be slightly faster than windowed mode in all scenarios, for the reasons enumerated by Philipp. Honestly, however, on my dated hardware I take a much greater performance hit by running games at desktop resolution than I do by playing at a ...


5

Generally within the same model designation there are only minor differences, such as: memory size clock speed (some are 'overclocked') display connectors (DVI, VGA, DisplayPort, SVGA) bundled games (if any) So, pay attention to those, but you can basically assume any video card of model {x} is more or less the same as any other video card of model {x}


5

Each game consist of code written in some programming language. The code is nothing more than a long list of instructions for your computer. Often times in modern AAA games, these codes are millions of lines long, which is why the computer needs a relatively long time to go through it. All games have a "loop" of instructions of sorts through which they run ...


5

For most graphics cards, GPU-Z will tell you how much a graphics card is being used, along with a variety of other useful stats. You can download GPU-Z here. Load up two copies of GPU-Z, and set one to monitor the second GPU. Switch both to the sensors tab, and tick the box "Continue refreshing this screen while GPU-Z is in the background". Then load up ...


5

I feel like this issue is one of those things that are difficult to address because of limitations imposed by game engine design: What you will likely find if you are able to extract the raw z-buffer data is that z-buffer precision is reached at the flickery areas: At the point in the rendering pipeline where z-rejection occurs for these fragments, ...



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