Connect3D X800XT PE - 02 - Features
||Radeon X800 XT PE - R420
||256 MB 256-bit GDDR3
|Engine Clock Speed
|Memory Clock Speed
||8.3 Giga pixels /sec
||VGA / DVI-I / D-Sub
Connect3D's X800XT Platinum Edition is based on ATi's R420 chipset which is
built using the 0.13 micron process. The card's engine clock ticks at 520MHz
and the Memory clock at 560MHz, reaching the effective speed of 1.12GHz. The
differences between the three available versions of the X800 can be seen in
the table below.
||X800 XT PE
You can see the only thing that seperates the XT PE from a simple XT version
is the slightly higher clock speed.
The 256-bit memory bus on the X800, halves the amount of time the GPU has to
idle in order to pass data back and forth to the memory. The 16 pixel pipelines
inside the X800 engine, contribute to the card's great performance as the calculations
needed for the very demanding games of our time will take much less time.
Also note that the card can operate in both 4x and 8x mode making it compatible with older motherboards.
To understand what 3Dc does, we need to step into a brief discussion about
You can think of a normal as an arrow pointing outwards from a surface at a
90 degree angle in order to quickly access its angle difference from different
points of lighting.
First, a model with an extremely high polygon count is created (i.e 15000 polygons)
and then one with less (1000 polygons) and that is the one that we'll eventually
keep. Running a simple program calculates the differences between the two models
and stores it as a normal map texture. Before rendering the final model in the
game, the normal map texture is applied on the low polygon model and pixel shader
instructions are used to compute real time lighting.
|A quick example of Normal Mapping (not 3Dc!)
Normal mapping is greatly used in some of the most successful
game titles of our days like Far Cry, Half Life 2 and Doom 3. However, the problem
with Normal mapping is the great limitation to the texture size due to the lack
To get a peek at what would happen if none of the textures were
compressed in a recent game, try Doom 3 and set the details to Ultra High. As
suggested by Id Software, Doom3's publisher, the Ultra High detail level requires
a graphics card with 512Mb RAM. In case you're not really into the graphics
card market there is no card with 512Mb RAM, yet.
Such is the case with normal mapping. The current texture compression algorithms DXTC and S3TC are inapplicable on normal mapping textures as they produce block artifacts, so programmers usually avoid using them.
3Dc is the solution to this problem with an algorithm that splits
up the texture into blocks. Then compressing each block, it is able to achieve
up to 4:1 compression.
When using 3Dc you can get much better quality textures with the same performance from your card.
The bad thing about 3Dc is that we'll have to wait until the game developers
incorporate it into their engines or release a patch that takes advantage of
it. Ubisoft was supposed to be the first to include 3Dc support into their much
awaited Far Cry patch 1.3. However, as we found out, there is no actual difference
in the game despite the addition of the console command "EnableCompressedMaps".