[nSLUG] Video card performance...

Jeff Warnica jeffw at chebucto.ns.ca
Mon Nov 29 13:15:06 AST 2004

The /. announcement of a new linux version of Doom 3 reminded me of a question
Ive been pondering for a while..

Currently my main system is running a maxed out K7/socket A mobo; it has the
fastest processor it can take, the most memory it can take. 8 months or so ago,
I got a 64mb nVidia card (gforce 4? Not being at that machine now, I dont
recall. Beh).. Sine the mobo only does 4x AGP, and the card can do 8x, there a
clearly a potential bottleneck there.

Somewhere (likely the README; cant find it online now) the logic behind how doom
3 does the the automatic graphic settings was explained (as it diddnt work with
Linux). It all seemed to boil down to the amount of memory the video card had;
the more memory, the less compressed the textures were, the higher quality the
output. This seems to imply that regardless of how fast the card is, the
bottleneck is in loading the textures. And it seems clear to me that the
computation the GPU does remains constant when changing the quality of
textures. In any case, the bandwidth required to send commands sent to the
video card (rather then data) is relativly small.

Based on this, Ive developed a theory that even though my current video card can
transfer data faster then the mobo can handle it, if I were to upgrade it, I
would still get a performnace increase. /Loading/ a level might take longer;
but if I ensure that I set the quality setting such that all textures can be
preloaded, once loaded there is relativly little AGP traffic, and therefor I
would see an increased performance. (That is, higher quality and/or higher

Is this a reasonable theory? Would I see an increase in performance if I were to
upgrade my video card?


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