Page 1 of 2

3D Labs Graphic card

Posted: Sat Jul 26, 2003 9:15 pm
by Landis
Hello all!

Well, heres the deal. I previously was running Blender on the same machine (dual PIII 1 GHZ w/ 1 GB PC133) as I do now, only I was using a 3DFX Voodoo 5500. I now run Blender on the new card and it seems to struggle on the same tasks in the same manner. I should see some difference in workload from this beast considering the difference in the two cards....they are literally like night and day technically, however I am not seeing this. Is there something I can do to improve the performance...there is no way in hell that these two cards should perform exactly the same considering the voodoo card was manufactured primarily for gaming and the 3D Labs...well...I think we are all familiar with their function in the industry.

Again, I have a 3D Labs Oxygen card. The model is GVX420. I am concerned that Blender is not fully utilizing this card. Here are the specs: ... _index.htm

Any information would be very appreciated belive me. I have been fretting over this ever since I bought has stored presets for MAYA, all kinds of CAD apps, etc. Ofcourse nothing for Blender but there is an OpenGL default setting which I have been using. Here are a couple of screenshots of the utility:


Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2003 7:12 am
by z3r0_d
who says the drivers are night and day technically too?

just becaue the card does directx well (or glide) doesn't mean the same applies to opengl.

and, this is on elysiun isn't it?

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2003 7:39 am
by IoN_PuLse
What OS? What version of Blender? The fact that you were even able to get Blender working with a 3dfx card means you may be running blender in some sort of mode where acceleration isn't enabled. Because 3dfx cards have horrible OpenGL support, and the only way to get them to 'work' with Blender is by disabling their "extra" "features".

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2003 11:58 am
by alt
Blender is not utilizing your 3d card.
Blender is utilizing OpenGL your 3d card provides.

Considering it is a high-end 3dLabs card, there is plenty of OpenGL for Blender to utilize.

OpenGL in Blender is used for screen drawing. It is not (currently) used for final rendering or something like that.

What is the task Blender struggles with?

I would go with generic OpenGL settings with your 3dLabs card. Others, I recall, are specific drivers made for specific software to handle their very specific OpenGL load.

As said, Elysiun would be a better place for this discussion. You can PM me too if you want to.

Posted: Mon Jul 28, 2003 11:15 pm
by Landis
:arrow: z3r0_d...

Glide pertains to 3DFX cards, I no longer am running that card (as my primary display anyways). If you read my thread I am now running a 3DLabs card. And finally, yes...this is on Elysiun, however, I have been asking this question for some time now and no one seemed to know the answer so I decided to come to the source...literally. I am not simply asking about my video card, I am also curious on how Blender utilizes OpenGL in general.

:arrow: IoN_PuLse...

XP. Blender 2.23 and beyond. But again, I am not concerned with the performance of the 3DFX card. Now, in regards to your accelleration comment, are you talking about the display settings inside of windows or some type of accelleration within Blender?

:arrow: alt... have the type of information I have been looking for! So, I was not mistaken by thinking my card is designed to help during the render process as well as crunching numbers during the modeling phase...its just that Blender does not currently support this yet. Cool. I am not dissappointed, I can wait...I just wanted to know what was up.
Anyways, the card (or Blender rather) seems to be struggling during the modeling phase...if I am displaying all layers containing all of my meshes while working on the Airman, my new 3DLabs card seems to be functioning the same as the old..not any slower or faster. It redraws very slowly...stuttering...or more accuratley I experince lag in all of my commands. Again, thank you very much for your answer. I will take you up on your PM offer as soon as I get home from work, although, feel free to reply to this in order to provide some information to others who may have the same problem because believe me...there is absolutley NO information on this anywhere in either one of the forums! I alos looked into buying a FIREGL card by ati...but there isnt really any information on that card either....I realize that these are highend cards but I take Blender very serious...this is more than a hobby to me and I would like to compliment this excellent set of 3D tools with good hardware. Oh!...before I forget...can you help bring some of the following settings (see link below) into perspective for any of them apply to Blender and if yes how so?

Also, z3r0_d...IoN_PuLse...thank you both very much for your time.


Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2003 3:06 am
by IoN_PuLse

I am slightly familiar with the 3dlabs cards as my college has a few labs with boxes that have them. They are cards that are designed for OpenGL, they even have instructions for OpenGL built directly on to them. However I know that they have application-specific drivers for accelerating applications such as Maya, 3ds max, etc...also note that the card only accelerates the editor, NOT the renderer. The renderer is always CPU-only.

Using a 3dfx card in XP means that you probably were using the windows 2000 drivers or (i'm not sure if XP comes with these) default drivers for your card that has no acceleration support. This would mean the card is acting as a SVGA card, and Blender's interface would be rendered with Microsoft's OpenGL software renderer...because 3dfx cards have lots of issues with Blender and proper OpenGL support :evil:

Anyways your issue is with the 3dlabs, and my feeling is that might need newer drivers or drivers from 3dlabs, because you might be running the ones that XP just gives you when it detects the card? Because if that is the case, you won't get any acceleration with default XP drivers.

Hope that helps some.

Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2003 6:11 am
by Landis

Wow...quick response...awesome man! Thanks. Remember how I said my 3DLabs card has presets for specific apps...and then a default opengl setting (which I am using now), well...there is 2 opengl says that it has "no page flip". What the hell does this mean? Also, where are you going to school? I am currently in the military but I am almost wife and I are looking to move to San Fransisco so that I can attend the Academy of Art College.

Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2003 6:28 am
by IoN_PuLse
I'm at AI-CDIS in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) for game programming....(website: )

Page-flipping is just a way of dealing with buffers, it shouldn't make a noticable difference.

Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2003 11:20 pm
by alt
So, I was not mistaken by thinking my card is designed to help during the render process as well as crunching numbers during the modeling phase...its just that Blender does not currently support this yet.
Some software just uses OpenGL as a final output too, making test and reference shoots fast for artists and directors. And Maya uses hardware to render some particles. But high-end renderings are done with ordinary cpu (AFAIK).

My 3dLabs card experience is quite thin as I only set one up for XSI at school.
But screen drawing should be fast. I can't imagine any apparent reason for it being slow. You can try to make a sphere and subdivide it until Blender starts to crumble. With my Matrox 13000+ polygons in edit mode start to make it slightly slower.

If OpenGL acceleration is properly enabled, your other hardware may have bottlenecks too. Memory amount, speed and bandwidth are common blocks. You can check out 3dLabs for specifications and help too. Try out other bit-depths too (16bpp, 24bpp, 32bpp). And you can try some other 3d-app, like Softimage XSI, and see if you have the similar problems (EXP version is free).

Posted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 10:36 pm
by Landis

Thanks alot guys for the help. I have definatley learned alot.


Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 5:10 am
by IoN_PuLse
Is the problem resolved then? I mean that's the point right :)

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2003 6:38 am
by Landis
Well, kind of....but I now have some good information to run with. Thanks again.


Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2003 5:27 pm
by thorax
Oxygen is 3DLabs top of the line.. Voodoo is dead.. 3DLabs proposed the Shader language that OpenGL 2.0 is/was? planning to use.. NVidia doesn't have geometry engines in their cards, 3DLabs does, and SGI does.. This is what we lost going with gamer 3D cards. Chances are the 3DLabs is more precise with OpenGL than any of the other cards that cost under 500 dollars..

Also to distinguish when rendering the CPU is always used, because Phong shading for instance requires the computation of lighting normals across the face, whereas a graphics card uses Gouraud Shading (sp?)
to simulate a Phong shading style rendering by only computing lighting normals in the vertices (a byproduct of this technique is what gives us vertex coloring). The idea is that your graphics card fakes what your CPU does for real it just does it a lot faster because it does less and fakes more. And the difference between Geometry engine and no Geometry engine, in the NVidia card your CPU does polygon setup and lighting of the vertices, the NVidia card does the polygon fill and color interpolation. In the 3DLabs everything (I would hope) is done in the card except for the specification of the geometry and texturing.. That's like how it is done in the SGI's..

Notice that in the old days they used to compare graphics cards by comparing the number of polygons per second the acard could render, and then later that changed to the fill rate? Its like going from a external modem to a Wintel modem. The features that would exist in the external modem where subtituted for software and that which absolutely must be in hardware was put in the card. But you have to have drivers to make use of the card.. You could probably do all the 3D work on the 3DLabs card just by hooking up a monitor to the card, clipping on some power and a clock, and hand feeding it functions and data through its
bus adapter..

And I bet the 3DLabs card would be closer to working with a headless OpenGL workstation (or terminal) than the NVidia cards.. (remember those headless workstations guys? it was popular int he early 90s when CPU's and ram were expensive.. SGI for some time was thinking about releasing a workstation (and I guess they had) that had no real guts but was a XWindows like workstation with OpenGL graphics hardware so people could share SGI workstations, taking advantage of the way displaylists package polygon data and distribute it).. Anyhow.. NVidia cards and a P4 are good enough for basic 3D work, but when you get into the highend work, the tendency is to want to offload more of the work on the cards, so your CPU is freed up to do stuff it does best.. The Wintel-like cards that downsized their parts to software drivers, and actually use system RAM and the CPU resources in place of that, that's why they tend to be rather cheap (both quality and in price).. The funny thing is you can probably put a Oxygen on a P200 and it would outperform the equivalent of NVidia on a P3-800 ..

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2003 8:24 pm
by Landis

Dude.....what can I are most definatley the most knowledgable individual on the subject of video cards that I have ever talked to....or atleast read from :wink: . That or you are completely bullshitting me...but even if you are it still requires an appluase. Ok, that I feel like I am COMPLETELY up to speed on this now, I would like to pick your brain a little...and I am convinced that this is very productive for people to read. Also, are you on the developement team or do you just know this tye of stuff....anyways...what do you reccomend that I do to allow for Blender to better harness the power of my card. I am currently running a dual 1 GHZ PIII's (which is awesome for me considering the Oxygen card utilizes the PIII's specifically...for multi-threading or something I have no idea but I am sure that you do). I also have 1GB of RAM, however, since I am running dual processors I was told that they share the this correct? ANd last but not least I am currently utilizing the dual head feature of the card (dual monitor output) in addition to running my old voodoo on a third) the fact that I am pushing three monitors have anything to do with the slow performance? I know that is probaly a stupid question but let me have it. K man...gotta go...I am at work....thanks again.


Posted: Sat Aug 02, 2003 7:17 am
by thorax
Landis wrote:thorax,

Dude.....what can I are most definatley the most knowledgable individual on the subject of video cards that I have ever talked to....or atleast read from :wink: . That or you are completely bullshitting me...but

The DisplayLists and G-Shading and Phong are true.. The rest is
partial BS.. I get a bit fuzzy..

Anyhow.. I have the complete reply here:

The short answer is that your Oxygen will only get you a lot
of speed dependent on how much blender uses Display Lists to
encapsulate geometry.. In general the operations like vertex interpolation and skin deformation will not increase in speed.. In general it will depend on how much Blender can offload onto the card, and I would have to look at blender's code to determine this.. Ton can probably tell you..

We've used Blenchmarks in the past to judge graphics card speeds and
render speeds.. Its the Blender version of a Linux Bogomip..

As for the multiple processors..
In short I would sell that machine and go get a P4-2.4 ..