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Other Graphics Cards and 3D Technologies Discussion forum for any graphics hardware not provided by AMD/ATI. Also place to discuss 3D technologies such as 3D Stereo, PhysX and other interesting developments/rumours in the 3D industry.

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Old May 14, 2011, 03:38 PM   #1
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erek
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Id Software’s John Carmack picks a side in the Nvidia/AMD GPU war

John Carmack picks NVIDIA over ATI generally... Maybe ATI shouldn't have screwed up with IdSoftware around Doom 3/R300 (wasn't it over the leak of the game?)

We sat down with legendary John Carmack and picked his brain on a few of our favorite topics. Along the way, we asked him which graphics card–AMD or Nvidia–he would buy right that second and why. His answer might surprise you.

PCG: If you were to buy a graphics card right now, what would you get?

John Carmack: Let me caution this by saying that this is not necessarily a benchmarked result. We’ve had closer relationships with Nvidia over the years, and my systems have had Nvidia cards in them for generations. We have more personal ties with Nvidia. As I understand it, ATI/AMD cards are winning a lot of the benchmarks right now for when you straight-out make synthetic benchmarks for things like that, but our games do get more hands-on polish time on the Nvidia side of things.

Nvidia does have a stronger dev-relations team. I can always drop an email for an obscure question. So its more of a socio-cultural decision there rather than a raw “Which hardware is better.” Although that does feed back into it, when you’ve got the dev-relation team that is deeply intertwined with the development studio. That tends to make your hardware, in some cases, come out better than what it truly is, because it’s got more of the software side behind it.



Source: PC Magazine
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Old May 14, 2011, 04:22 PM   #2
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Think the title is sensationalist and stupid though, looking at what he´s acctually saying..
He said similar things back in the D3 development days.

Dug that old thing up:
http://74.200.65.90/showthread.php?t=3149
Quote:
NV30 vs R300, current developments, etc

At the moment, the NV30 is slightly faster on most scenes in Doom than the
R300, but I can still find some scenes where the R300 pulls a little bit
ahead. The issue is complicated because of the different ways the cards can
choose to run the game.

The R300 can run Doom in three different modes: ARB (minimum extensions, no
specular highlights, no vertex programs), R200 (full featured, almost always
single pass interaction rendering), ARB2 (floating point fragment shaders,
minor quality improvements, always single pass).

The NV30 can run DOOM in five different modes: ARB, NV10 (full featured, five
rendering passes, no vertex programs), NV20 (full featured, two or three
rendering passes), NV30 ( full featured, single pass), and ARB2.

The R200 path has a slight speed advantage over the ARB2 path on the R300, but
only by a small margin, so it defaults to using the ARB2 path for the quality
improvements. The NV30 runs the ARB2 path MUCH slower than the NV30 path.
Half the speed at the moment. This is unfortunate, because when you do an
exact, apples-to-apples comparison using exactly the same API, the R300 looks
twice as fast, but when you use the vendor-specific paths, the NV30 wins.

The reason for this is that ATI does everything at high precision all the
time, while Nvidia internally supports three different precisions with
different performances. To make it even more complicated, the exact
precision that ATI uses is in between the floating point precisions offered by
Nvidia, so when Nvidia runs fragment programs, they are at a higher precision
than ATI's, which is some justification for the slower speed. Nvidia assures
me that there is a lot of room for improving the fragment program performance
with improved driver compiler technology.

The current NV30 cards do have some other disadvantages: They take up two
slots, and when the cooling fan fires up they are VERY LOUD. I'm not usually
one to care about fan noise, but the NV30 does annoy me.

I am using an NV30 in my primary work system now, largely so I can test more
of the rendering paths on one system, and because I feel Nvidia still has
somewhat better driver quality (ATI continues to improve, though). For a
typical consumer, I don't think the decision is at all clear cut at the
moment.

For developers doing forward looking work, there is a different tradeoff --
the NV30 runs fragment programs much slower, but it has a huge maximum
instruction count. I have bumped into program limits on the R300 already.
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Old May 14, 2011, 04:32 PM   #3
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Doom 3

Perhaps I am not recalling the circumstances of the events surrounding ATI and IdSoftware and if they had a relationship problem over the leak of Doom 3... I just recall that somehow the leak was traced back to ATI, and therefore IdSoftware was not going to give ATI the special attention/optimization treatment as much as NVIDIA... I know that Valve had a close tie with ATI about the release of Half-Life 2 (which was delayed) and thus the vouchers with the Radeon 9800s or something, but for some reason I am lead to believe that ATI got a bit alienated from IdSoftware over that leak deal...

am I mistaken?
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Old May 14, 2011, 04:40 PM   #4
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Carmack has been irrelevant for quite a long time.
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Old May 14, 2011, 04:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandorski View Post
Carmack has been irrelevant for quite a long time.
Hate to say it, but I totally agree. ID's games and technology simply aren't pervasive anymore and he's not a central figure in gaming today.

I agree that nV has had better dev relations, but in the end, a game has to run on what hardware is popular. ATI and nV will both get attention.
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Old May 14, 2011, 05:33 PM   #6
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plus his engines are opengl

i always wonder, what exactly does an opengl centered game run on xbox? call of duty games turned into directx on pc even though they're based on the quake 3 engine, so why not say... brink?
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Old May 14, 2011, 05:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kn00tcn View Post
plus his engines are opengl

i always wonder, what exactly does an opengl centered game run on xbox? call of duty games turned into directx on pc even though they're based on the quake 3 engine, so why not say... brink?
Rage is DirectX
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Old May 14, 2011, 05:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Pr3tty F1y View Post
Hate to say it, but I totally agree. ID's games and technology simply aren't pervasive anymore and he's not a central figure in gaming today.

Then you are not understanding Carmack. He doesn't do this stuff to make games, he codes to solve problems that haven't been solved yet and if a game can be made out of the solution then all the better. Perfect example was Doom3's shadow technique. He wasn't exactly looking to make good looking shadows for Doom 3, he was exploring possibilities and looking for a solution to a difficult problem. He found one and that solution was used in the IdTech4 engine.
Which is part of the reason the games sometimes feel like tech demos, because they kind of are. The rest of the team is responsible for making a game out of the tech demonstration. This is part of the reason I liked Quake 4 way better then Doom 3.
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Old May 14, 2011, 05:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
I mean, the latest integrated graphics parts probably are more powerful in many ways than the consoles. If they gave us the same low-level of access, coupled with the much more powerful CPUs, we could do good stuff there.
This is the quote that I agree with.

To add to the point:

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/gra...l-to-directx/1

I realize Richard Huddy's view did get contorted and out of context to some degree but the PC platform could sprout new wings if developers had more flexibility to do more instead of the restrictions forced upon by just open standards.

The innovation that can take place would be welcomed.
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Old May 14, 2011, 05:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AluminumHaste View Post
Then you are not understanding Carmack. He doesn't do this stuff to make games, he codes to solve problems that haven't been solved yet and if a game can be made out of the solution then all the better. Perfect example was Doom3's shadow technique. He wasn't exactly looking to make good looking shadows for Doom 3, he was exploring possibilities and looking for a solution to a difficult problem. He found one and that solution was used in the IdTech4 engine.
Which is part of the reason the games sometimes feel like tech demos, because they kind of are. The rest of the team is responsible for making a game out of the tech demonstration. This is part of the reason I liked Quake 4 way better then Doom 3.
You seem to fail to understand what the word pervasive means:
per·va·sive/pərˈvāsiv/
Adjective: Spreading widely throughout an area or a group of people.

I was saying that Id's presence in gaming today is much smaller than it was in the past. Id simply isn't a big player any more. Sure, names get dropped in articles, but Carmack and Id don't hold the status that they once held.

My comment had nothing to do with the quality of his games or the technology they use. Id simply lacks a presence in gaming today. Their greatness and centrality to gaming has been relegated to history. Thus, Carmack leaning towards one vendor or another means very little today compared to say, what it would have meant in 1993.
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Old May 14, 2011, 06:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pr3tty F1y View Post
You seem to fail to understand what the word pervasive means:
per·va·sive/pərˈvāsiv/
Adjective: Spreading widely throughout an area or a group of people.

I was saying that Id's presence in gaming today is much smaller than it was in the past. Id simply isn't a big player any more. Sure, names get dropped in articles, but Carmack and Id don't hold the status that they once held.

My comment had nothing to do with the quality of his games or the technology they use. Id simply lacks a presence in gaming today. Their greatness and centrality to gaming has been relegated to history. Thus, Carmack leaning towards one vendor or another means very little today compared to say, what it would have meant in 1993.
Like they say, legends never die, they just fade away. Carmack is a legend, but like most everyone's said, his (and iD's) time at the top of the gaming heap has long since past.

To put it more cynically, it comes down to "what have you done for me lately?"...and Carmack and iD hasn't done much, if anything, lately, except for Carmack doing his thing with Armadillo Aerospace.
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Old May 14, 2011, 07:05 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Talon_262 View Post
Like they say, legends never die, they just fade away. Carmack is a legend, but like most everyone's said, his (and iD's) time at the top of the gaming heap has long since past.

To put it more cynically, it comes down to "what have you done for me lately?"...and Carmack and iD hasn't done much, if anything, lately, except for Carmack doing his thing with Armadillo Aerospace.
Agree 100%
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Old May 14, 2011, 08:30 PM   #13
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you guys certainly are pretty cynical about carmack
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Old May 14, 2011, 08:45 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by erek View Post
you guys certainly are pretty cynical about carmack
It would be like Steve Wozniak saying he prefers PowerPC over Intel. That may have mattered in the past, but it doesn't matter now.

Both have contributed greatly, but neither are relevant to the present state of PC computing/gaming.
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Old May 14, 2011, 09:28 PM   #15
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It would be like Steve Wozniak saying he prefers PowerPC over Intel. That may have mattered in the past, but it doesn't matter now.

Both have contributed greatly, but neither are relevant to the present state of PC computing/gaming.
POWER7 is pretty cool though I hear
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Old May 14, 2011, 09:40 PM   #16
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ATI's previous old cards used to be slow on OpenGL games, but now ATI's modern cards able to perform OpenGL games very fast and could be faster than nvidia cards too.
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Old May 14, 2011, 10:18 PM   #17
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except brink
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Old May 15, 2011, 01:08 AM   #18
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Mr. Carmack needs to stfu and make a good game to be worth an opinion...
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Old May 15, 2011, 01:29 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KickAssCop View Post
Mr. Carmack needs to stfu and make a good game to be worth an opinion...
While you´re here spouting yours all day, someone ASKED him for his aswell.

hehe, anyway, I think he´s more of a technology man then a game designer over at id, now rage might not be the most high end graphical game there is, but then again it IS a console game..
But what it does have going for it is the fact that it has some unique tech with megatextures, and it runs a solid 60fps, which is kinda rare on a console game of that scope, and it looks pretty good while doing so..
Not that psyched about it gameplaywise tbh, but the way you can build a world in that engine, with that editor, is kinda exciting.
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Old May 15, 2011, 03:26 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by erek View Post
Rage is DirectX
Actually the engine is capable of both OpenGL and DirectX. Has to be given the platforms it is targeting. But If I had to venture a guess as to which API the PC version will use, I'd lean towards OpenGL.
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Old May 15, 2011, 08:07 AM   #21
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ATI's previous old cards used to be slow on OpenGL games
I wasn't thinking that... remember the 9700 Pro?
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Old May 15, 2011, 08:19 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Trunks0 View Post
Actually the engine is capable of both OpenGL and DirectX. Has to be given the platforms it is targeting. But If I had to venture a guess as to which API the PC version will use, I'd lean towards OpenGL.
i highly doubt that Carmack would use the higher-level OpenGL ES development kit for Rage if it comes out for the PS3, but use the much lower level API (LibGCM)
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Old May 15, 2011, 08:25 AM   #23
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Let the man have his personal preference.
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Old May 16, 2011, 01:01 AM   #24
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i highly doubt that Carmack would use the higher-level OpenGL ES development kit for Rage if it comes out for the PS3, but use the much lower level API (LibGCM)
That would be more his style. But I wouldn't discount it, given how deep into OpenGL they are. Either way, the PC version with be OpenGL based on what Carmack said in March.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Carmack - March, 11th, 2011 - Bit-Tech.net
OpenGL still works fine,' said Carmack, 'and we wouldn’t get any huge benefits by making the switch, so I can’t work up much enthusiasm for cleaning it out of our codebase. If it was just a matter of the game code, we could quite quickly produce a DirectX PC executable, but all of our tool code has to share resources with the game renderer, and I wouldn’t care to go over all of that for a dubious win.
Carmack: Direct3D is now better than OpenGL - Bit-Tech.net
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Old May 16, 2011, 01:25 AM   #25
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Doom 3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trunks0 View Post
That would be more his style. But I wouldn't discount it, given how deep into OpenGL they are. Either way, the PC version with be OpenGL based on what Carmack said in March.



Carmack: Direct3D is now better than OpenGL - Bit-Tech.net
in that case (OpenGL for the PC version,) lets hope for support of Linux


(hopefully Doom 3 will be open sourced soon too...)
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Old May 16, 2011, 04:47 AM   #26
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Perhaps I am not recalling the circumstances of the events surrounding ATI and IdSoftware and if they had a relationship problem over the leak of Doom 3... I just recall that somehow the leak was traced back to ATI, and therefore IdSoftware was not going to give ATI the special attention/optimization treatment as much as NVIDIA... I know that Valve had a close tie with ATI about the release of Half-Life 2 (which was delayed) and thus the vouchers with the Radeon 9800s or something, but for some reason I am lead to believe that ATI got a bit alienated from IdSoftware over that leak deal...

am I mistaken?
Yeah I think you are mistaken. That was ATI's issue with Apple circa 2000.

During Doom 3 / HL2 days, ATI was in bed with Microsoft and NVidia was having relationship issues with MS due to original XBox GPU pricing dispute. DX 9 specs was rectified without NV's participation. NV mispredict some aspect of the spec, and causing FX series performs horribly with DirectX games but not with OpenGL.

So at the time it was like NV + Id in OpenGL camp competing with MS + ATI + Valve in DirectX camp. The good old days!
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Old May 16, 2011, 07:23 AM   #27
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Cramak gona fix it
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Old May 16, 2011, 08:14 AM   #28
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Cramak gona fix it
Still not happenin'...
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Old May 16, 2011, 09:56 AM   #29
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So having a closer relationship to Nvidia (party girls?), getting Nvidia stuff delivered to him (wrapped in his favorite decorations), and someone answering the phone when John calls when he is in trouble is reason he prefers Nvidia over AMD. Nothing to do with technical aspects of the hardware/software? Did Nvidia just pay ID software a wade of money for him to say this stuff? If that is the true reason then maybe AMD should help out more the new upcoming developers, the small time developers (like John Carmacks of the past) for the next new generation of games.

John Carmack use to be excitted about future possibilities and tech, not someone there to hold his hand.

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Old May 16, 2011, 10:09 AM   #30
SIrPauly
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I think it runs much deeper than that. Look at what nVidia has done with Cuda working with companies and learning institutions - is it party girls and paying them off? Or is it a commitment of being pro-active, rolling up their sleeves working with developers?

nVidia's biggest strength is their pro-active nature. It actually amazes me and they just adapt to the market place and try to become a force in it.
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