3D Archive

The RV770 Story: Documenting ATI’s Road to Success

Anand Lal Shimpi, founder of Anandtech.com, had the opportunity to sit down with Carrell Killebrew, Eric Demers, Mike Schmit and Mark Leather, collectivley known as the designers behind the current crop of AMD graphics chips, and quiz them about how the RV770 graphics chip came about. In the article, Anand recounts the history that influenced the chip's design and the obstacles that were overcome from his two hours meeting with the design team.

VIA Publishes 2D/3D Documentation, Partners with OpenChrome

Earlier this year VIA announced they wanted to join the open-source bandwagon by establishing an open-source driver development initiative, releasing documentation and source-code, and to better engage with the Linux community at large. They have made a few small steps over the past few months, but today they have made their largest open-source contribution yet by releasing four programming documentation guides that cover the video, 2D, and 3D programming for their Chrome 9 graphics processor. In addition, they are now partnering with the community-spawned OpenChrome developers.

SGI and Khronos Group Publish OpenGL with New License

SGI and the Khronos Group published a new license for OpenGL. "The license, which now mirrors the free X11 license used by X.Org, further opens previously released SGI graphics software that has set the industry standard for visualization software and has proven essential to GNU/Linux and a host of applications." New new license is shorter than the the FreeB license in version 1.1, which wasn't an Open Source license.

DirectX 11: Sooner than You Think

With a preview version slated for November 2008 and beta versions as early as 2009, Microsoft's newest DirectX will be here sooner than you think. ExtremeTech's Loyd Case digs deep into DirectX 11 and discusses its new features and how it differs from DX10. While improved graphics are expected out of the new release, DX11 hopes to improve upon crunching complex graphics with the GPU through hardware tessellation, which many people hoped to see in DX10.

‘OpenGL 3.0: a Big Step in the Right Direction’

With the SIGGRAPH OpenGL BOF now past, Nick Haemel from AMD has written a blog post about OpenGL 3 and the reasoning behind the choices made. "After testing an approach that would have a drastic effect on the API, requiring complete OpenGL application rewrites and not introducing any of the long awaited features modern GPUs are capable of GL 3.0 takes two important steps to moving open standard graphics forward in a major way. The first is to provide core and ARB extension access to the new capabilities of hardware. The second is to create a roadmap that allows developers to see what parts of core specifications will be going away in the future, also providing the OpenGL ARB with a way to introduce new features faster."

Nvidia Reiterates Position on Closed Source Driver

Yesterday, we reported on the statement several kernel developers had signed that urged hardware manufacturers to open up their Linux modules and drivers. "We, the undersigned Linux kernel developers, consider any closed-source Linux kernel module or driver to be harmful and undesirable," the statement read. Nvidia, which delivers probably the most prominent closed-source Linux driver, has reiterated its position concerning this matter.

Nvidia Blows Out Moore’s Law with Fresh Tesla

"Nvidia pitches its Tesla hardware as a magical solution for the world’s toughest computing problems. Just move your code that runs well across many processors over to the Tesla boards, and Shazam!. You enjoy sometimes 400 per cent improvements in overall performance. Despite such mind-blowing increases in horsepower, Tesla continues to occupy a space that one could characterize as ultra-niche. Only the brave few have navigated Nvidia’s CUDA programming apparatus to tweak their code for the general purpose graphics processors inside of the Tesla systems. That ultra-niche, however, may grow into a niche over the coming year thanks to the introduction of more powerful Tesla systems."

Open Graphics Project To Announce Pre-Orders

Open Graphics Project founder Timothy Miller recently noted on the project's mailing list that they are set to announce that their first hardware, the OGD1, is ready for pre-order. "The OGD1 design has actually been finished for a couple of months now," he began, explaining that they've been setting up a way to process pre-orders for the first 100 boards. The board will retail at USD 1500, with a USD 100 discount offered for the first 100 pre-orders. "These are pre-orders, not orders," Timothy continued, "that means the lead time is unpredictable. We don't have a stock. We will purchase a stock based on the number of pre-orders we get. Also, this means that if we never get a large enough number of pre-orders, we will be unable to fulfil them; all pre-orders would be cancelled, and no one would be charged anything."

The History of the Teapot

"As anyone who is into 3D computer graphics knows, there is something mysterious and special about The Teapot. It's not just any teapot - it's 'the' teapot. The teapot was made by Melitta in 1974 and originally belonged to Martin Newell and his wife, Sandra - who purchased it from ZCMI, (a department store in Salt Lake City). The teapot was eventually donated to the Boston Computer Museum but now resides in the Ephemera collection of the Computer History Museum. It's cataloged as 'Teapot used for Computer Graphics rendering' and bears the catalog number X00398.1984."

Exploring the Motivations Behind the Open Graphics Project

"Excitement in the Open Graphics community is quite high as it approaches its first production run of the FPGA-based 'Open Graphics Development' board, known as 'OGD1'. It will be available for pre-sale this month with the first units expected to ship soon thereafter. As an insider in this group, I had a unique opportunity to interview several of its members, including: Timothy Miller, the experienced hardware engineer who first started the project (as well as the company, Traversal Technology, which will produce and sell OGP designs), and Patrick McNamara, an interested amateur tinkerer who founded the Open Hardware Foundation."

NVidia Purchases Gaming Physics Processor Maker PhysX

Graphics card producer NVidia confirmed late yesterday it is purchasing Ageia Technologies, the first producer of so-called 'physics processors' for 3D gamers, for an undisclosed amount. Ageia Technologies is best known for its PhysX processor, which is supported by popular games such as Gears of War, the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon series, and Unreal Tournament 3. Working under NVidia's wing will help the company properly implement PhysX into future product launches, which should result in a broader target market.

Interview: Michael Meeuwisse

Kerneltrap has an interview with the creator of project VGA. "The project aims to develop a simple, low budget, open source, VGA compatible video card available this year. Michael is also a member of the Open Graphics Project, but started Project VGA in order to get something affordable on the market as soon as possible."

AMD Preparing for Another GPU Documentation Release

"The leading question most of you are likely wondering is why there hasn't been anymore ATI GPU specifications released in over two months. Well, as we have shared in earlier articles, AMD has had limited staff devoted to sanitizing the documentation and getting it cleared by their legal department for release. However, that is about to change. AMD's John Bridgman has confirmed that they are in the process of hiring new people to do all of the planned documentation and support work that will help the open-source community. Within a couple weeks, these new AMD employees will begin this crusade."

Memory Management for Graphics Processors

"The management of video hardware has long been an area of weakness in the Linux system (and free operating systems in general). The X Window System tends to get a lot of the blame for problems in this area, but the truth of the matter is that the problems are more widespread and the kernel has never made it easy for X to do this job properly. Graphics processors have gotten steadily more powerful, to the point that, by some measures, they are the fastest processor on most systems, but kernel support for the programming of GPUs has lagged behind. A lot of work is being done to remedy this situation, though, and an important component of that work has just been put forward for inclusion into the mainline kernel."

Students Design Open Source Video Card

With the Open Graphics Project advancing slowly a few students picked up the idea to do it all smaller, faster, and more importantly, cheaper. From the site: "We'd love to have an OGD1 card and are amazed by it's specifications, but for us and a lot of people, this card is simply too much. So that's where this card comes in, to give you all the fun of developing on programmable hardware, designing video cards and architectures, for a price that won't hurt your wallet."

nVIDIA Introduces the ‘Enthusiast System Architecture’

"Today, with the coming introduction of the NVIDIA 780i chipset, NVIDIA is looking to make serious changes to what is possible with enthusiast systems by launching a new technology platform. The name of the new standard is ESA - Enthusiast System Architecture. Its goal is to provide information and control to enthusiasts not just for NVIDIA motherboards and video cards, but to provide that information and control for many other components in an ESA-enabled system. The actual protocol is OS independent. This is very important for the future of ESA, as it will eventually allow ESA to operate with any platform."

AMD 8.42 Linux Driver Brings Fixes, Aiglx

Ati AMD has released a new version of its graphics drivers that fix some long overdue bugs. "Today it's now time where the fglrx driver reaches yet another milestone. Not only does today's release address many of the outstanding bugs for the earlier GPU generations while also introducing a few new features, but it also delivers AIGLX support! Yes, you read that right. You can finally run your ATI graphics card with the fglrx driver and run Compiz, Beryl, or Compiz Fusion without using XGL!"

Nouveau Driver Q&A

"On the Phoronix Forums we have been running a Q&A with the developers of the Nouveau project. For those out of the loop or new to Linux, the Nouveau project aims to provide an open-source 2D/3D graphics driver for NVIDIA hardware. After collecting a number of questions from our readers, KoalaBR and Marcheu have answered these questions. The questions range from whether there will be open-source SLI support to asking if NVIDIA has ever contacted the Nouveau developers."

OpenGL 3 Announced

The OpenGL Architecture Review Board officially announced OpenGL 3 on August 8th 2007 at the Siggraph Birds of a Feather (BOF) in San Diego, CA. OpenGL 3 is the official name for what has previously been called OpenGL Longs Peak. OpenGL 3 is a true industry effort with broad support from all vendors in the ARB. The OpenGL 3 specification is on track to be finalized at the next face-to-face meeting of the OpenGL ARB, at the end of August. This means the specification can be publicly available as soon as the end of September, after the mandatory 30 day Khronos approval period has passed. Also presented were the changes to the OpenGL Shading Language that will accompany OpenGL 3. For more details check here, here and here.