Hardware: 3D Cards

I’m seekething information on 3D cards, that ol’ subset of graphics cards that were designed primarily for 3D-RAM. Anyone know where I can find info on different kinds, and stuff?

Go crazy go nuts. :smiley:

Uh, 3d-RAM? Care to specify?

I’m probably getting confused ‘n’ stuff. I’m taking PC Hardware Fundamentals this semester, and most likely, I have gotten various types of RAM mixed up.

<a href=“http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-124-115&depa=1”>Best.Card.Ever.</a> <img src=“http://www.neo-geo.com/ubb/graemlins/buttrock.gif”>

Ah. Well, the various kinds of RAM are not the biggest worry, as far as Video RAM goes. I’m guessing your thinking of a card that has a dedicated set of Video RAM? In that case, the kind of RAM that the card uses is usually analogous to the power of the card itself.

As far as what kind of card you want, heres the big list of what you should answer;

what games are you looking into, primarily? You are allowed to leave this blank, but it can be a factor

Price range?

Do you prefer framerate, or detail?

Do you want to tinker with the card and drivers to get the most out of it, or would you prefer a humbler card that is more stable on its own?

I got for Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 an NVIDIA 6800 128MB card…the shit rocks and it was only for $350. I’m personally loyal to NVIDIA, but I heard ATI is quite good as well.

The NVidia and ATI argument is what the whole bit about performance vs. stability was about. ATI produces better performers, Radeons almost always win in bencharks to their GeForce counterparts (some exceptions occured with the 6800 vs x800 line, but only some exceptions). However, ATI has horrible driver support. I had experiences with it. Yar had experiences with it trying to run KOTOR on his mobility radeon 9000. Some tech support forums I go to frequently bring up the subject of ATI drivers. Its so bad, its actually suggested to use 3rd party drivers over any of the official ones.

I hear that ATI has gotten a lot better with their driver support recently… like someone hit their programmers over the head with a hammer or something.

Unless you are a super hardcore gamer, the performance aspect doesn’t really come into play when comparing cards released about the same time for the same price, unless you’re talking about running at a 1600x1200 resolution with full detail. Even when comparing different generation boards there isn’t that huge of a difference anymore.

<a target="_blank" href=“http://www.rpgclassics.com/staff/kerohazel/bitchin3d.jpg”>At any rate, this is the only graphics card you’ll ever need.</a>

Um, it sounds like he’s asking for homework help, not TOLYAWESOMESTUPIDLEETMEGAOBSOLETETOMMOROW vid cards.

Now that is one bitchin’ card :hahaha;

Oooh yeah… I fell in love immediately. :kissy:

But my chances are slim. :thud:

Well, he ust said ‘information on them’ without a specification on what kind of info, so its kinda hard to say, but he does mention Hardware fundamentals class later, so I guess I’ll do my best.

Ahem. You said something about 3d-ram. I’ve never heard of that, but I think you may be confused with Video Ram, which I know very well. So, brace yourselves.

Video Ram is a separate segment of RAM from your systems RAM. Whereas system RAM is plugged into the motherboard and modular, Video RAM is integrated straight into a video card, and is not modular (cannot be added/removed without removing the whole card itself). It lives up to its name for this reason, and is there because the bandwidth between the Video Card and the System RAM is too great for certain tasks to be accomplished well. Namely, texturing. High-end texturing and such effects are loaded in the VRAM to make rendering them on your screen much easier on your video card.

Of course, there is no limitation that says textures are the only thing to be loaded on, but they are undeniably the biggest effect.

Integrated video is considered weak for the very reason that it lacks VRAM. It uses system RAM to spool textures, and loses not only system RAM for doing so, it loses a degree of bandwidth between the GPU and the VRAM. Both effects, but moreso the former, can be a severe hindrance to a computer.

Now, for how much is considered small, large, etc.

2 and a half years ago, my old GeForce 3 was top o’ the line with its whopping 64 MB VRAM. Nowadays, the argument is for 128 and 256 MB cards. Some people say that 128s do just fine, but games are starting to use the more expensive 256 MB cards. Some people would rather spend their money on a powerful card and 128 MB RAM. Others would go for a semi-powerful card with 256 MB RAM.
For comparison of such a case, Herr Rommel said earlier he had a NVIDIA 6800 128MB. I, on the other hand, have a Radeon 9800XT 256MB. THe 6800 has a far superior GPU and video capabilities, but my Radeon has more VRAM.

Games are just starting to use the 256MB cache, and the first semi-big name to do so was Far Cry, which had massive outdoor environments with a draw distance of 1.2 KM, yet incredible detail. It was soon followed up with Doom3, which was lauded as needing 512 MB to run at ultra settings, it just used a workaroudn to get said setting running on lower systems. Now there is Half-Life 2, which purportely can use more than 128 MB, though the specifics of how are unknown to me.

Note: I do not mean they NEEDED 256 MB cards, it is always possible to scale back graphics a bit.

So, yeah, 128 MB is current, but aging, 256MB is ahead, but turning to the norm, and 512 is the next big thing.

One last addendum; I know that the PS2 has a measly 4 MB VRAM, and that even for a console, that is miniscule, and was talked about as one of the great developmental hurdles.

Yeah, this really was for a homework thing.

Ah. So, did my post help? Don’t feel afraid to ask questions then.

Well, I kinda need sources to cite. I can’t say “a guy I know, via a video game message board.”

Point taken.


Two well-known PC hardware guides online. Take a look-see.