In order to increase sales of their professional cards, ATI and Nvidia speed limit opengl performance of their consumer cards. Believe it or not, my 8800 GTX can’t do more than 8.5 million triangles a second in opengl whereas it can do over 200 million (that’s a guess, probably far more) in D3D and I could get 16 million out of my GeForce 256 almost 10 years ago.
I’ve been aware of this for some time and I can’t begin to tell you how disgusted I am. Naively, I thought such an outrageous, horrible thing couldn’t last but it’s actually getting much worse.
Well, I make 3D graphics software pretty much exclusively for consumers, mostly in the field of cultural heritage. Visualisation of the odd complex model is part of this and with fast GPUs becoming common place this should be fine and dandy. In practice, it’s become impossible.
So, with 10 years of reputation for extrememly high performance 3D graphics software (I’ve always sweat blood over that last 0.01% of performance) I now can’t deliver a simple model visualisation app to my clients.
Thanks a lot IHVs, should I then start looking for a new job and forget about OpenGL entirely?
Now, I’m wondering, have the rest of you not noticed this peculiar fact? When I first got an X800 and discovered it could only do ~40m tris whereas the previous gen 9800 pro could do 4 times that I spent an inordinate amount of time ripping our engine to shreds trying to figure out what was wrong with it. Finally I discovered that by installing a modified driver that tricked the card into believing it was a FireGL brought perfomance on par with it’s (normal) D3D performance. Now the nvidia 8800 has flung me right back to the dark ages when no one knew what a 3D accelerator was.
I guess I’m hoping there is some way around this, but if there is the IHVs will probably remove it. What I would really like to see is the IHVs reconsider this feat of treachery. And Nvidia, 8.5 million?! What?! You’ve really overdone it! I can probably do better in software!