hardware / software rendering speed

ok lets say you have a P4 1.5 GHz, but you have an older openGL enabled video card. and you want to render 50,000 polys per frame, with lighting, shadows, etc, etc. and lets say this is too much for the card to handle. will the P4 pick up the slack of the video card? or will openGL use only hardware? or will it use only software rendering? or will it depend on which is faster?


If the videocard has OpenGL drivers installed, Windows will use the graphics card (well, depending on your current resolution and a bunch of other things. But it should pick up the card)… Then, if the card is T&L, OpenGL will use the card for T&L (all cards accelerate the rasterization so OpenGL will use the card for that anyway).

If you want your app to use the P4 for all these things, you have to choose a non-accelerated pixel format. I posted some code that would do exactly that a while ago: