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Thinking about upgrading my GPU
Eric Johnson
Member #14,841
January 2013
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bamccaig said:

It was a PS3 that died, not a PS4. :)

I know that. I should have worded my response better. :-X

Quote:

It would be ideal if the end user could open the entire case up and blow out all the dust without voiding any warranties or triggering any kill switches. :-/

You're better off with a PC at that point. ;) I think most consoles are designed in such a way that they don't want/expect the end user to ever want/need to explore a console's insides. Kind of a shame, really. :(

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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And that's why I don't want to buy a PS4. :) I'd rather save my money for PC upgrades. It is a shame though because PlayStation does tend to have some exclusives that I love, and if it ever comes to PC it'll be Windows-only so I still won't get to play... I'd be fine with it if they truly were designed in a such a way that you don't need to explore the consoles insides, but if the average consumer ends up with an overheating box after 5 years because of dust that was sucked into the case then obviously they fail. At the very least, the case should come with a washable filter that will eventually get plugged, and hopefully the machine can shut itself off before any real harm is done. Then the user can clean the filter, let it dry, and be back in business. Well, except people are stupid, so they'd probably try to blame Sony when their PlayStation got wet and short-circuited... :-X

Eric Johnson
Member #14,841
January 2013
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bamccaig said:

Well, except people are stupid, so they'd probably try to blame Sony when their PlayStation got wet and short-circuited...

That's the truest thing I've heard all day--"people are stupid". ;D

Anyway, back to GPUs... I asked some big-time PC gamer friends on Facebook, and several of them have recommended the GTX 1060. I've done some research on it and it appears to be a better card than the AMD R9 380 or 380X. The 1060 is fairly affordable, and some versions offer 6GBs of VRAM. :o The 3GB model is a great deal cheaper, but if I upgrade, I want to be future-proofed for a few years, and will likely bite the bullet on the 6GB as a result. From what I've read of reviews online, it sounds perfect for 1080p gaming (it can even do some 1440p gaming, but I don't have a monitor to see the difference, so it wouldn't matter to me). The card just sounds great. :o

I've got a GTX 1060. I have zero complaints. It's not "super fast" in 4K and recording. But, I knew going in that it was an entry-level 4K. At 1080p it does everything I could want.

Sounds fantastic. :D

Edit
Looking back at the GPU hierarchy chart that MiquelFire shared, the GTX 1060 is seven tiers greater than the R7 360 I already have, and is one tier above the R9 380X that I was looking at previously.

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC model has an attractive size and will work with my current PSU. Granted, it has a lower manual overclock potential than the multi-fan, > 6 pin power models, but I don't really see myself overclocking, especially because I plan on sticking with 1080p.

Double Edit
When it comes to upgrade my CPU as well, I think I'll go for the i5-7500. It has good reviews and nice benchmark scores.

Triple Edit
On second thoughts, maybe I'll stick with an AMD CPU so I don't have to replace my motherboard. The AMD Ryzen 5 1500X looks nice.

Quadruple Edit
So I'd have to upgrade my motherboard regardless if I am to upgrade the CPU, it seems.

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
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You mean in 4K, or 1080p?

It should run any game, even released today, at full detail, in 1080p. It's an "entry 4K" card. It actually runs 4K fine for non-bleeding edge (ala this and last year AAA-titles), and if you slightly lower the detail in some games you get full 50-60 FPS.

It's kind of mind-blowing how much an "entry level" 4K card costs ($250 I think). But when you look at the raw math of how much more screen drawing there is (4x a 1080p screen) it adds up fast in RAM throughput and core usage.

Also, I'm super happy with my GTX 1060. I don't remember the specific brand, but IIRC, I got the "quieter" model. I almost NEVER hear it spin up, and it'll even sit at 0 RPM (passive cooling) for many applications, including 3-D ones.

I can't wait to (ab)use it with Allegro and see how many silly sprites I can blast at 3451091523 FPS.

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

Eric Johnson
Member #14,841
January 2013
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It should run any game, even released today, at full detail, in 1080p.

That's fantastic. I definitely want to get the GTX 1060.

Chris Katko said:

I don't remember the specific brand, but IIRC, I got the "quieter" model. I almost NEVER hear it spin up, and it'll even sit at 0 RPM (passive cooling) for many applications, including 3-D ones.

I've read that they're all fairly quiet. Passive cooling sounds interesting (and dangerous). You've never encountered overheating or any other temperature-related issues with the card?

Neil Roy
Member #2,229
April 2002
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I can't wait to (ab)use it with Allegro and see how many silly sprites I can blast at 3451091523 FPS.

If you do that, please make a video we can see. I would love to see how much you can blast onto your screen with Allegro! :)

Right now, I am happy with my GTX650, cost me $100CDN at the time.

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
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Passive cooling (in this case) is just the fan not spinning. Not really dangerous considering you can run modern intel i5s on a heatsink in a laptop if you underclock them enough. The fan spins up whenever it needs to. I haven't had to configure it at all.

Anyone for 4K Red Alert?

{"name":"uffqJMC.jpg","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/2\/6\/26d515280c259da91d60b08cb0fe4a07.jpg","w":3840,"h":2160,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/2\/6\/26d515280c259da91d60b08cb0fe4a07"}uffqJMC.jpg

p.s. Radar is for pussies.

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

Neil Roy
Member #2,229
April 2002
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Anyone for 4K Red Alert?

That is insane! I love it. You may just sell me on it yet. ;)

Eric Johnson
Member #14,841
January 2013
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Passive cooling (in this case) is just the fan not spinning. Not really dangerous considering you can run modern intel i5s on a heatsink in a laptop if you underclock them enough. The fan spins up whenever it needs to. I haven't had to configure it at all.

Good to know. :)

Edit
So I already had enough money saved, so I went ahead ordered the GTX 1060 this evening. I'm excited to use an NVIDIA for the first time! :D

Thanks everyone for all your replies and help. ;D

Neil Roy
Member #2,229
April 2002
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Eric Johnson
Member #14,841
January 2013
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I wonder how many frames per second I'll get with the new GPU in Deluxe Pacman 2. ::)

Edit
The graphics card arrived today. It gets about 500 FPS in Deluxe Pacman 2. ;)

Neil Roy
Member #2,229
April 2002
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The graphics card arrived today. It gets about 500 FPS in Deluxe Pacman 2.

:o

Nice! ;D... I think I get 380+ with my GTX 650, which bugs me, I don't know what slows the game down. I mean, for that type of game, 300+ FPS is plenty, but, really, it should be MUCH higher. I profiled it and the slowdown seems to be in the Allegro functions which decode the OGG sound files. I redone them to lower the quality (which made no difference in how they sounded anyhow) thinking maybe I had saved them at too high a quality but that makes no difference, so I am stumped.

I just started doing a remastered version of the game using SDL2 to test and already I get well over 3200 FPS so... <shrug> time will tell.

My original Deluxe Pacman 1 compiled with Allegro 4 used to get insanely high frame rate with no hardware acceleration at all.

I should see if I used just WAV files if that would improve the DP2 frame rate.

Eric Johnson
Member #14,841
January 2013
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Are you drawing all of the graphics from an atlas? If so, are you using al_hold_bitmap_drawing before and after drawing from said atlas?

Edit
So I've played a few games already and wow, I love this graphics card! Whereas my old card played Fallout 4 O.K. on low, this new one works without issue on ultra! I couldn't be more pleased with this card. :D

Neil Roy
Member #2,229
April 2002
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Are you drawing all of the graphics from an atlas? If so, are you using al_hold_bitmap_drawing before and after drawing from said atlas?

I load in the graphics, then copy the individual images into an array of small ALLEGRO_BITMAP s which I draw from later on (the original loaded bitmap is destroyed).

Hmmmm... I wonder if the smaller, individual bitmaps are too small and that may be causing problems? This was my first Allegro 5 project, having come from Allegro 4.

Quote:

So I've played a few games already and wow, I love this graphics card! Whereas my old card played Fallout 4 O.K. on low, this new one works without issue on ultra! I couldn't be more pleased with this card. :D

Nice! I think these days the CPU makes less of a difference than the video card. Especially in 3D games which use the video card to do a lot more than they used to.

Edgar Reynaldo
Member #8,592
May 2007
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Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
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Neil Roy said:

Nice! I think these days the CPU makes less of a difference than the video card. Especially in 3D games which use the video card to do a lot more than they used to.

Actually, I thought that too. I was completely wrong.

When I upgraded from my AMD Athlon X4 630 to FX-8370, I more than doubled my FPS using the same videocard for the game Styx: Master of Shadows--a graphically intensive yet simulationally sparse game (only a few units in any given map). I even made a post about it back then.

I also went from being unable to record gameplay without significant FPS drop, to recording 60 FPS with zero drop at 1080p, using CPU only recording. (Nowadays I use NVENC because my CPU runs like 90% usage trying to record 4K.)

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

Eric Johnson
Member #14,841
January 2013
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@Neil: I would save all of the graphics to a single image, load them into a single bitmap, then draw the parts that you need using al_draw_bitmap_region instead of using individual images and bitmaps.

As for CPUs, I think it depends on the game. Before I upgraded my GPU, I tested overclocking on a few games and noticed that most favored the GPU over the CPU. For example, Fallout 4 performed better when the GPU was overclocked versus just the CPU (CPU OC alone only improved performance by 1-3 frames per second, whereas GPU OC increased it by about 12 FPS). Minecraft was the only game that I tested which significantly benefited from overclocking the CPU. So it varies between games, I guess.

MiquelFire
Member #3,110
January 2003
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@Neil: You could also look into loading one bitmap, then using sub bitmaps instead al_draw_bitmap_region (Internally, sub bitmaps basically does all the work for you)

If you used more than al_draw_bitmap or al_draw_tinted_bitmap, then you HAVE to use sub bitmaps anyway.

---
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Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
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Didn't we just talk about this before in another thread? It's called a texture atlas.

Factorio uses it:

https://gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/73316/how-do-we-solve-big-video-memory-requirements-in-a-2d-game

As do basically all games that need to have fast drawing. Texture change draw-calls are (relatively) slow. So if you need lots of textures, you put them together into larger "textures" (named a texture atlas). It's also good to place padding between each "texture" so they can't bleed into each other when mip-mapping is applied. (Or shutoff mip-mapping depending on your application.) Meanwhile, most even OLD cards support HUGE texture sizes compared to video games (minimum of 4096x4096, IIRC, for like... OpenGL 1.3--fact check it but they're listed by OGL version spec.) so CUDA cores don't care that they have access to larger textures... they only care how many times you have to "reset" them by switching those textures.

{"name":"figure1.jpg","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/9\/9\/99f2fe58419e61de1b91f12f028be129.jpg","w":400,"h":400,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/9\/9\/99f2fe58419e61de1b91f12f028be129"}figure1.jpg

From here:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/130940/practical_texture_atlases.php

Advanced games will have active texture atlases that work like virtual memory managers which "swap in and out" textures from RAM, and "packs" them as densely as possible.

[edit] I'll look up the exact specs when I get back home but here's a REALLY COOL SITE that benchmarks various videocards and tells you WHAT FEATURES the majority of users are going to have:

http://feedback.wildfiregames.com/report/opengl/feature/GL_MAX_TEXTURE_SIZE

Most have 8K by 8K texture sizes. I think my GTX 1060 can go to like 65536. =D

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

Neil Roy
Member #2,229
April 2002
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I really don't think how I load and draw my textures is the problem with my game as it doesn't have that many, and they are rather small. When I profiled it, the main bottle neck was a vorbis decoder or whatever in Allegro, which indicates it is the OGG files I use for sound. I should test just using WAVs and see what happens. I may experiment a little. I used to love dirty rectangles with Allegro 4, that is what my DP1 game used for a long time.

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