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May 2016

The Bellinghman
Date: 2005-02-24 11:28
Subject: On multipliers in computing
Security: Public
It's one of the features of the advance of computing technology that something new will often be some multiplier of its predecessor. But this is getting ridiculous.

I just installed a new graphics card in my home PC. It's a fairly high end one, and I'm running the desktop at 1280 x 1024 x 32bit colour.

This work PC is running at 1280 x 1024 x 24bit colour, and for what I do, that's perfectly OK. I'm not actually asking for a replacement yet. But it's a 4MB graphics card, whereas the home one is a 256MB card. Yes, that's 64 times as much RAM. The amount of RAM in a graphics card has doubled eight times since this machine's card was high end.

Moore's law seems inadequate for that.

(ATI are now talking about release a 512MB card pretty soon now.)
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User: sesquipedality
Date: 2005-02-24 12:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The only thing that uses all that memory is of course textures for 3d modelling.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2005-02-24 12:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Indeed. I suspect that the doubling of RAM in the ATI card will lead to something like a 10% frame rate speed improvement in parts of Half Life 2 and the like.

As Intel showed - if you're being beaten in the speed stakes, start throwing silly amounts of RAM at the problem. The Pentium 4 Extreme Edition has 2MB of on-chip cache, and that's extremely expensive to do for what is a relatively tiny speed improvement.
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Andrew Mobbs
User: mobbsy
Date: 2005-02-24 14:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The extra RAM is nearly useless at the moment, but will probably be more useful for games in a year or two. The only time you'll see a difference is using high FSAA settings, which you'll only be able to do with older games anyway.

There's a (slightly old) comparison of 128MB vs 256MB cards here that makes the point quite well.

The new Pentium 4 600 series also has 2MB cache.
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