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Top range gfx cards
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Hi.

I'll probably leave the Amiga arena soon and invest in a Windows machine. ;(
My question:is it worth it to go for a top of the range 3D gfx card? Will it speed up Imagine3D or only programs that
are directly coded to take advantage of that?

I have no idea how that works, any tip will be welcome.

Posted on: 2009/12/2 19:30
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Re: Top range gfx cards
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Hi, Nuno,

Unfortunately, it won't matter what Graphics card you get with a PC: it won't have any impact on Imagine, at all....
(Not many 3D rendering programs rely exclusively on the GFx card- the preview display might use it- but the actually rendering is usually done using the CPU. In theory though, there's nothing to stop the GPU being used to do the rendering- except for the fact that different GPU manufacturers use different instruction sets. So, as it stands you are currently 'stuck' with Direct X or OpenGL instructions being passed through the- occasionally buggy- Graphics Drivers, which are a little limited as they can only use image-mapped textures, rather than procedural shaders/textures.)


The only things that will impact Imagines' performance are: raw processor speed and available RAM (both Physical and Virtual- Physical having more effect).

Hyper-Threading, or Dual Core, technology won't help either- so basically you need the fastest processor you can afford and the most RAM, along with the Fastest Hard-Drive. (Note: I'm not 100% sure about Windows 7, but Vista Home Premium and above supports a feature called Ready Boost- which allows you to use a USB flash drive as Virtual Memory- instead of the Hard-Drive which can really speed things up, as it's hundreds of times faster to read data from a flash drive, than it is even the fastest hard-drive.)

My XP-Home Edition system for instance, whilst nearly four years old, has a 3.2GHz HT processor- Sandra reports my processor speed as about 4.25 GHz- but, as Imagine cannot use multiple processors/threads, it can only ever use 50% of my total processor speed.

I've also got 1 Gbyte of RAM, and a set 3 GByte of Virtual RAM. (4 Gbyte RAM is all that 32-bit windows can address- I've never bothered looking into exactly how much virtual memory you can use.)

You might have noticed that processor speeds seem to have dropped now that Multiple Cores are in vogue? This is because if the software allows the use of multiple cores, then the PC can achieve equivalent/better performance than a much faster single cored processor. e.g.: A quad-core running at 1.2 GHz in theory could run at a speed equivalent to 4.8 GHz. As noted above however, this is of no benefit to Imagine, as it currently stands- it would only be able to run at 1.2 GHz. So, crazy though it might seem, running Imagine, my out-of-date system will out-perform many modern PC's.

Hopefully, the above has made some sort of sense? I'm sure some of the other guys can give you other advice as well.

All the Best,

Kevin.

Posted on: 2009/12/2 23:48
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Re: Top range gfx cards
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Aren't graphic cards mostly for the various first person shooter type games that they're churning out?

You might be confusing how graphic cards improve things on an Amiga.

I've gotten a new laptop for $500. Shop around, they're chopping the prices down for Christmas, and they have those smaller sized laptops for pretty cheap that will give you plenty of rendering power for Imagine.

Posted on: 2009/12/3 6:09
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Re: Top range gfx cards
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As kmanktelow says...

today the only two things that matter to IFW is single cpu raw processor power and memorysize.

Any current graphicscard will be sufficient to run it.
Any modern cpu will run it much faster then Amiga done so far, and even though imagine itself wont benefit from a multi-core cpu, the rest of the system will.

If I do get the source, I will try my best to recompile it for multi-threading.

So basically, any decent computer today will run Imagine, so any top-of-the-line stuff is only needed for other stuff today.

Most of the updated software do use the new technologies though.


/Johan A

Posted on: 2009/12/3 11:21
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Johan Andersson the Impulsive Imagineer
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Re: Top range gfx cards
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I use up to six instances of Imagine at a time. I noticed Imagine is still incredibly slow, but I don't know of any other packages that allow more than one instance to run at the same time. I usually work on multiple projects, then when I have time to let the computer run, or remember to render before I go to sleep (I have a post-it that says "render"), I run them all at the same time, and they usually finish as quickly as they would have if I ran only one instance. Try it, I'd like feedback. You don't have to, but I think this is the only way to benefit from modern hardware right now.

Posted on: 2009/12/4 7:24
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Re: Top range gfx cards
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Yes, you can run multiple instances... but it eats a lot of memory.

With a multicore CPU you can even render and work at the same time, although the memory will again make that quite slow at times.

Posted on: 2009/12/4 11:38
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Re: Top range gfx cards
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the trick is to set the affinity of each instance of Imagine to only one cpu core.

Posted on: 2009/12/5 11:49
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Re: Top range gfx cards
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First of all, thanks for the replies.

I'm getting the hang of it now. ;)
I have some interest in playing games, but mostly what I need is good speed to see if I can make my 3D hobby more than a "once-a-month" thing.

I'll probably settle for the best processor I can afford and a midrange gfx card.
I have quite a few free 3D programs (that came on mags) that are surely more powerful than Imagine ever will be, but since I already know how this baby works, I'll stick around for now.

I still love my Amiga, but Imagine3D is too "awkward" nowadays (especially on my AmigaOne). Some bugs, some gfx glitches, crashes and...slow renders. The time will come soon for me to go PC...

Thanks.

Posted on: 2009/12/5 16:31
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Re: Top range gfx cards
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Hi, Nuno,

If you don't mind using IFA version 5, then I'd strongly recommend running it under WinUAE (using Amiga In A Box- AIAB- to set up the basics.)

It's unbelievable how fast IFA runs under emulation....
(And there's the odd textures that simply aren't available for the PC version, that were available for the Amiga.)

On saying that, I'd strongly recommend investing in the RJJ Textures for the PC version of Imagine- they are litterally amazing.

All the Best,

Kevin.

Posted on: 2009/12/6 0:36
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Re: Top range gfx cards
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Quote:
It's unbelievable how fast IFA runs under emulation....


hey kmanktelow,could you run the faws imagine benchmark scene on the emulation for me. I would be interested in the results.
link is:-
http://3d.faws.org/renders.php?LANG=uk

the link to the test scene.
http://3d.faws.org/renders/ts1.zip

hehe it was crazy in those days waiting days for a render to finish. Good old days ? I dont think so as far as 3D goes..

Posted on: 2009/12/7 8:31
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