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  ATI Radeon 9x00 series tweak guide

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OpenGL Settings - continued

Hardware PageFlip. Ticking this option enables the Graphics card to optimize page flipping for swapping full screen buffers, which should will maximize performance for full-screen OpenGL applications, & would be recommended.

Hierarchical Z. Ticking this option enables the use of a hierarchical Z-Buffer. In which case the Z-Buffer is divided into several levels of tiles upon which depth tests are then carried out to determine visibility of objects & whether rendering should occur or not. Performance gains from this are rendering order dependent, with front to back rendering achieving most benefit & back to front least. Most games though use a random rendering order where the benefit lies somewhere in-between. You should only need consider disabling (Unticking) this feature if you wish to benchmark the performance advantage this feature offers & it shouldn’t be necessary to do so for compatibility reasons.

KTX Buffer Region. Ticking this option will enable the use of the GL_KTX_buffer_region (Dual planes) OpenGL extension. This provides improved performance in supporting Applications/Games by allowing an area of an OpenGL window to be saved in off-screen memory for quick restores, though is mostly only used in 3D modelling applications, such as 3D Studio Max. That said, there shouldn’t be any adverse effect to having this enabled even if it is unused & as such you shouldn’t need to Untick this.

Mipmap Detail Level. This slider controls the LOD parameter used for textures, whereby moving the position of the slider can increase the sharpness of Mipmapped textures or vice versa. Options available for this setting are High Performance, Performance, Quality, High Quality. As the descriptions indicate, each mode offers progressively sharper or more blurred textures, which will yield improved image quality or frame rate. The images beneath illustrate the effect of High Performance & High Quality setting in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault.

 

High Performance

High Quality

 

The image quality differences are fairly distinct as can be clearly seen, certainly when using FSAA select High Quality to counter the slight blurring that can occur with FSAA enabled.

PointParameters. The Rage3DTweak help file notes that it may be necessary to Tick this option in order for the S3TC compressed textures available in Unreal Tournament CD 2 to work (This does not apply to any other Unreal engine games). If you don’t play Unreal Tournament anymore or the CD 2 textures work, then leave this option Unticked.

SSE. Tick this option to enable support for the Intel SSE instructions set in the Radeon Drivers. This yields improved performance with supporting CPUs. If your CPU supports SSE, e.g. AMD Athlon XP then Tick this, otherwise leave it Unticked, e.g. if you have a Pentium II.

SSE2. Tick this option to enable support for the Intel SSE2 instructions set in the Radeon Drivers. This yields improved performance with supporting CPUs. If your CPU supports SSE, e.g. Pentium IV then Tick this, otherwise leave it Unticked, e.g. if you have a Pentium III.

TCL. Leave this Ticked.

Texture Compression. Ticking this option allows the use of DXT1-5 texture formats in supporting applications/games & it is highly recommended you select this option given its common usage in games now whereby it provides improved performance by reducing texture memory requirements, with minimal image quality loss. Unticking this will disable DXT1-5 texture formats & is not recommended for compatibility & performance reasons, nor should it be necessary for troubleshooting purposes either.

Texture Preference. Unfortunately since posting this guide initially I’ve still been unable to find out exactly what this option does (As before neither FIC responded nor anyone at Rage3D's Forums). As such the only recommendation I can give is to set this to High Quality & adjust texture detail settings via in-game options.

TRUFORM. TRUFORM provides support for Higher Order Surfaces (via N-Patch tessellation & with newer ATI Radeons Displacement Mapping as well) which in supported applications yields more complex appearing shapes with not too noticeable a performance hit. When set to App. Preference this enables OpenGL applications to use supported TRUFORM features of the Radeon Graphics card as appropriate, this is the recommended choice as most supporting applications allow you to set which TRUFORM features are to be used (If they are supported at all). Selecting Always Off disables OpenGL/Direct3D applications from using TRUFORM features, which would be recommended for ensuring optimal performance instead (Though, again, most supporting applications will allow you to enable/disable TRUFROM features anyway). The images beneath illustrate the effects of TRUFORM in Soldier Of Fortune II.

 

TRUFORM disabled

TRUFORM enabled

 

As shown above, TRUFORM provides a more natural, less angular sloping to the terrain in the game, which adds nicely to the game – with no noticeable performance loss.

Wait for VSync. V-sync limits the highest possible frame rate to your Monitors refresh rate at any resolution. Setting this to Default On will allow the Application/Game to determine whether V-sync is to be enabled or disabled (Defaulting to it being on if not specified). Setting this to Default Off will allow the Application/Game to determine whether V-sync is to be enabled or disabled (Defaulting to it being off if not specified). Always Off will disable V-sync in all OpenGL Games/Applications regardless, which can improve performance (Frames are rendered as fast as they can be regardless of refresh rate), although you may experience image tearing &/or input device/controller lag as a result. Whereas Always On will enable V-sync in all OpenGL Games/Applications regardless. I’d recommend leaving this set to Default On for best visual quality (& enabling V-sync in the Game/Application if available) as a result unless you intend to benchmark Game performance.

Z Compression. The Z-Buffer contains depth information for every pixel to be rendered. Thus, using higher resolutions not only consumes more fill rate, it also requires a larger Z-Buffer as more pixels are to be rendered. Hyper Z III however supports compression of the Z-Buffer, which reduces the size of this data & therefore will save on bandwidth needed for Z-Buffer reads/writes. With FSAA enabled colour compression is also supported. As such this compression helps makes the Radeon a highly efficient card when rendering with FSAA (particular with FSAA enabled) & ATI claims that at best it offers at 24:1 compression ratio using 6X FSAA (4:1 with FSAA disabled). Perhaps most critically Z Compression is lossless when set to Driver Default & there should be no adverse effect on image quality as a result. Personally I’d not recommend selecting any of the other available options except for experimental purposes, perhaps.



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