New ATI driver speeds AGP texture uploads

— 12:00 AM on April 2, 2003

I have been remiss in failing to mention that ATI addressed the AGP texture upload problem in the Catalyst 3.2 release. I saw it in the release notes when ATI unleashed the thing, and two sharp-eyed readers, Wen Chang and David Edney, mailed me shortly thereafter to tell me about it. Here's ATI's note about it:

Framebuffer read-back performance has improved dramatically (500% or more) in CATALYSTâ„¢3.2. This feature allows an application to retrieve a fully rendered frame from the graphics adapter and manipulate it or store it in the system RAM or on the hard disk.
Wen Chang tested his Radeon 8500LE and got some nice results:
I've tested cat 2.5 & cat3.2 with "THE SERIOUS MAGIC TEXTURE DOWNLOAD BENCHMARK" from this article.
Here are the results:
2.5 Resolution:720*480*32
Average rendered thoughput: 11.692mb/s(+/-) (7.93fps)

3.2 Resolution:720*480*32
Average rendered thoughput: 125.502mb/s(+/-) (41.96fps)

AXP 1600+@143fsb(1500mhz)
K7s5a Rev3.1
512mb PC2700 ram
Hercules FDX Radeon 8500LE 64mb
WinXP SP1/DX9.0
David Edney got similar results:
I ran the Serious Magic benchmark on my system (Tyan S2460, dual AthlonMP2000+, Radeon 9700 Pro and 1GB Reg. ECC RAM) and I saw a result of 157MB/sec - a hell of a lot better than it was getting with previous drivers.
I have seen similar performance gains on a Radeon 9800 Pro.

I checked in with the Serious Magic guys, and they are seeing good speed-ups from the Cat 3.2s, as well. However, they report that the fix is only present in Win2K/XP. Win95 is still slow. (But then that's what you get for using Win95, I say.)

Looks like both ATI and NVIDIA have now addressed this problem. I am still waiting on word from Matrox and others.

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