Fillrate Question

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A tech question for MARTINI from the Barracks: "Fillrate question; Occasionally Video Card discussions come up, what one or brand is the best to get the optimal performance. You have never committed to a specific manufacture, from what I remember although you have said (at that time) nvidia had better fill rate.My question, is it Texture or Pixel, or both filtrates one should look at when deciding? Does frame buffer play into it at all? "
MARTINI:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fillrate
Good explanation here.

Newer generation cards are much better, since they can handle rendering more pixels per second. It's hard to choose between ATI and NVIDIA. When I first started, ATI seemed to be better at handling fillrate (and that is just my opinion with no actual metrics), but now I can't really tell any difference with the latest generation of video cards. I have never, in my memory, advocated NVIDIA had better handling of fillrate limits to any players.

It's hard to define fillrate definitively. You can tell if a video card is fillrate limited by running the game in a small window (you can do this with your ww2.bat file and define width/height as small numbers (640 x 480 or smaller). If your framerate increases dramatically, your card is fillrate limited.

When you talk about the frame buffer, you are probably referring to video memory. More video memory is definitely better so the card does not have to swap it out.

The article mentions overdraws. This is optimized by sorting non transparent objects from front to back. So a wall in front of you is drawn first and an object on the horizon is drawn last. Intrinsically, a depth buffer is used to discard any objects behind others. The video card will not do any raster operations for the object behind the wall. You can optimize this further with occlusion culling, but that is usually done on the CPU and optimizes what is actually sent to the video card.

If the ATI driver team actually shows up this week as indicated by our ATI rep, you can also ask them for a detailed explanation.

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