Saturday, December 01, 2007

Now I have a 6200

We still haven't fixed the crash bug in X-Plane 9 yet, but we have narrowed it down to:
  • Windows only
  • nVidia only
  • Pixel shaders only
We actually know partly what happens, but we don't know why, and we don't know how to fix it yet (short of disabling VBOs or pixel shaders, both of which are unacceptable workarounds). Austin's shipped b4 with shaders off, just to get people running while we work on this.

So I went to BestBuy last night and bought a 6200 (out of desparation) - I can now see the crash bug for myself. My framerates are also terrible. My guess is I can tweak the drivers, but having experience now with the 5200, 6200 and 7300, I can safely say: avoid the lowest end nVidia cards. In particular:

The important thing to look at here is "core config" (although bus width and clock speeds will always be higher in the higher end models). For the last four generations, nvidia has made three levels of cards: a hig end card (with a number like x700, x800 or x900), a mid-range card (usually x600) and a low end card (x200, x300). So for the GeForce 6 series, the 6800 was the flagship card, the 6600 was the mid-range card and the 6200 is the "budget" card.

Each time they go down a level, the number of shaders and other parallel hardware resources gets cut down. This translates directly into lower framerate, particularly in X-Plane 9 where we're shader-bound when you use the shader features. I often recommend the mid-range cards as a good value, but the low end cards aren't worth it - they're too stripped down for not much price savings.

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