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Imagination Technologies

Geforce 6800 - the next generation

Rivatuner SoftMod for 6800/6800LE

Unwinder - the father of Rivatuner (a very popular tweaking application for NVIDIA and ATI accelerators) - is fairly known in the gamer community for years now. The newsblurb months ago that he´s working on a software based modification to enable the disabled quads and VS units on 6800 boards, made many 6800 owners sit up.

First attempt in version RC15.1 had a rather small success rate. Follow-up version RC15.2 now seems to score a lot better. The units in question are locked on a hardware level, which makes Unwinder´s success even more unexpected.

There´s no guarantee neither that the units can be unlocked, nor that the unlocked units will not present any artifacts. The possibility is there and chances are high for success on both accounts but it´s just that, a possibility and nothing else.

The modification is as easy as it can get. Install the NVstrap driver and click on “customize” where you´ll see the disabled units. A simple click on the left side of each of the units and a reboot and the mod is applied.

If Rivatuner now indicates in it´s main window that all units are enabled, then you´re halfway there. If no artifacts show up after extensive stress testing, congratulations your SoftMod has been successful.

One way to quickly verify that the additional units are in fact enabled, is a fill-rate testing utility, such as MDolenc’s Fill-rate Tester:

Fillrate Tester
Display adapter: NVIDIA GeForce 6800
Driver version:
Display mode: 1600x1200 A8R8G8B8 85Hz
Z-Buffer format: D24S8

FFP - Pure fillrate - 4820.768555M pixels/sec
FFP - Z pixel rate - 9681.030273M pixels/sec
FFP - Single texture - 3828.084717M pixels/sec
FFP - Dual texture - 2393.115234M pixels/sec
FFP - Triple texture - 1634.902100M pixels/sec
FFP - Quad texture - 1234.095703M pixels/sec
PS 1.1 - Simple - 2533.705811M pixels/sec
PS 1.4 - Simple - 2533.710205M pixels/sec
PS 2.0 - Simple - 2535.045654M pixels/sec
PS 2.0 PP - Simple - 2533.908203M pixels/sec
PS 2.0 - Longer - 1277.399902M pixels/sec
PS 2.0 PP - Longer - 1277.338013M pixels/sec
PS 2.0 - Longer 4 Registers - 1277.390625M pixels/sec
PS 2.0 PP - Longer 4 Registers - 1277.409424M pixels/sec
PS 2.0 - Per Pixel Lighting - 348.166443M pixels/sec
PS 2.0 PP - Per Pixel Lighting - 564.541138M pixels/sec

On Page 10 I took a look at Far Cry. Back then I used ForceWare version 61.45 nowadays I use 65.73.

Far Cry v1.2 / SM3.0 path
1280*960*32 / 4xAA / 4xAF (quality)

ForceWare 61.45

Research: 37.74 fps
Regulator: 32.14 fps
Training: 36.12 fps
Volcano: 36.87 fps

ForceWare 65.73

Research: 43.09 fps
Regulator: 37.71 fps
Training: 40.65 fps
Volcano: 42.65 fps

Quite a healthy increase in performance; not only with the SM3.0 path but also with the default SM2.0 path too. I noticed the biggest increases in performance under heavy lighting conditions. I recall with earlier drivers running into quite a few single-digit framerate cases, one of the most apparent in the Regulator demo when the player moves outdoors.

Enabling the 4th quad and 6th VS unit with the same above settings results to the following (percentages on the side in comparison to 65.73 drivers and default hardware/frequency configuration):

16p / 6vp / 325/700MHz

Research: 50.10 fps (+16.26%)
Regulator: 41.84 fps (+10.95%)
Training: 44.90 fps (+10.45%)
Volcano: 47.72 fps (+11.88%)

An average ~12+% increase isn´t exactly small, yet the board has become abysmally bandwidth hungry. While bandwidth is the same as on default (22.4GB/sec), the maximum theoretical fill-rate after enabling one more quad and thus 4 more texturing units, has jumped from 3900 to 5200 Mpixels/sec.

I decided to overclock the board and after thorough testing and monitoring GPU temperatures I decided for 350/870MHz. Temperatures never exceeded 61C and that with 24-25C room temperatures.

16p / 6vp / 350/870MHz

Research: 58.53 fps (+35.83%)
Regulator: 47.83 fps (+26.83%)
Training: 49.74 fps (+22.36%)
Volcano: 56.62 fps (+32.75%)

A roughly ~30% average increase is very noticeable especially in real time gaming conditions. Now I´m really impressed J.

Besides the above I tested also PCGH´s VGA demo (Pier), which is quite CPU bound.

4xAA / 4xAF (quality)

ForceWare 61.45 = 36.17 fps
ForceWare 65.73 = 42.14 fps


16p/6vp, 325/700MHz = 45.90 fps (+8.9%)
16p/6vp, 350/870MHz = 51.03 fps (+21.09%)

I´ll also have a look at Doom3 performance with and without the SoftMod, in the page to follow, but it doesn´t seem unsafe to conclude that enabling the disabled units alone isn´t going to make much of difference, except for example heavy pixel shader conditions. It has to be combined with higher core/ram frequencies in order to gain a significant difference. One of the absolute best case scenarios I´ve seen this far is Rallisport Challenge; there the benefit from the softmod + overclock can account for >50% performance increase in 1600 with 4xAA/16xAF.

Unwinder and of course all the beta testers deserve a lot of credit, for giving us the opportunity to make it possible.

Seite 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
 Geforce 6800 - the next genera...
 17 Seiten
 verfasst von Ailuros
 Donnerstag - 26.08.2004 - 18:20 Uhr
[1]  Introduction & Systemsetup
[2]  Antialiasing & Anisotropic Filt...
[3]  2. Anisotropic filtering
[4]  Synthetic Applications
[5]  F1 2002
[6]  Rallisport Challenge
[7]  Serious Sam: The Second Encount...
[8]  Need For Speed: Underground
[9]  Unreal Tournament 2004
[10]  Far Cry
[11]  Hybrid Super-/Multisampling Mod...
[12]  Hybrid Super-/Multisampling Mod...
[13]  2D, DVD / VIDEO Playback
[14]  Summary
[15]  Softmode
[16]  doom3
[17]  DVD