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Developer Newsletter: Issue #28

 
 
 


In This Issue:

Past newsletter issues are also available in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

 

TECHNOLOGY


GeForce 7800 GTX Launched

GeForce7With 8 vertex pipelines and 24 pixel pipelines, the GeForce 7800 GTX features a superscalar architecture and the NVIDIA CineFX 4.0 engine. The CineFX 4.0 engine includes a redesigned vertex shader unit that shortens the time required to set up complex geometry processing. In addition, a new pixel shader unit delivers up to 2x the floating point shading power of previous generation products, while an improved texture unit incorporates new hardware to speed up anisotropic and floating-point filtering operations. Also included are new features such as transparency antialiasing, improved multisampling, advanced video processing, and more.

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DEVELOPER RESOURCES


NVPerfHUD 3 Released to the Public

NVPerfHUDThere are so many new features in NVPerfHUD 3 that we introduced three separate modes to hold them all! Use the new Frame Analysis mode to freeze your application and single-step though a frame, drilling down into each draw primitive call to get advanced details about what is going on at each stage in your graphics pipeline. The new Debug Console mode shows you the DirectX Debug Runtime messages, warnings from NVPerfHUD, and custom messages from your application. And, of course, the powerful pipeline analysis experiments are still available in Performance Analysis mode.

We have also produced an NVPerfHUD 3 Overview video that describes all of NVPerfHUD's key features in detail. In addition, the NVPerfHUD User Guide and Quick Reference card are now available in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

GameDev.net published a review describing all the new features we've added to NVPerfHUD 3. They report that "[Frame Analysis Mode] is by far the most impressive mode of NVPerfHUD. ... A few moments in this mode does more to show how advanced graphic pipelines work than anything else I have seen. ... NVPerfHUD should be of interest to anybody who develops software that employs DirectX graphics."

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Cg 1.4 RC1 Released

This release candidate build of Cg 1.4 includes several new features and improvements:

  • Significantly improved code generation in most profiles
  • Complete rewrite of CgFX. CgFX now works on all platforms, and works on non-NVIDIA OpenGL drivers. Substantial documentation for CgFX will be coming in a subsequent build of Cg 1.4
  • Native implementations for Win32, Win64, Linux (32-bit and 64-bit), and Mac OS 10.3 (Panther) and 10.4 (Tiger)

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Melody Melody 1.2 Now Available

Melody now supports generating normal maps from much larger models than ever before.  Check out the latest release and updated User Guide for tips and tricks that will help you get the most from automatically generated normal maps.

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NVIDIA Plug-ins for Adobe(R) Photoshop(R) and More

Photoshop_PluginsOur plug-ins have been updated to take advantage of Adobe Photoshop CS2 features, particularly the extended support for 32-bit per component floating-point import and export. Existing .dds files can also be directly loaded in floating-point for HDR processing without loss of data.  Developers building HDR content for tomorrow's games should absolutely upgrade to Adobe Photoshop CS2 and install our latest texture tools.

In addition, the installer now includes two new scripts for Adobe Photoshop. Mipster is a mip-map generation tool that leverages the power of the Photoshop CS2 internal image filtering engine along with the NVIDIA DDS Plug-in and Normal Map Filter. The Cube Map Shuffler script rearranges cube-map-face elements for use with different export and editing tools. It can quickly convert and copy between different cube map layout formats, a task that has previously been annoyingly slow and error-prone. Updated versions of both the Normal Map Filter and DDS Plug-in are also in this release.

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NVIDIA DDS Utilities Now Support Larger Textures at Higher Quality

The latest release of nvDXT and related utilities now perform all internal calculations using floating point arithmetic, resulting in higher quality textures. They now support texture sizes up to 8k by 4K, and support for DXT5_NM (compressed normal maps) has been added. If you haven't updated your NVIDIA DDS Utilities for a while, now is the time!

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 FX Composer 1.7 Released

This release of FX Composer includes several minor bug fixes and installer updates. It has also been updated to support the Microsoft DirectX SDK April 2005 Update.

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New Whitepapers and Presentations

Let's Get Small talks about mipmapping, explaining how the process works and how to make full use of it. It also includes discussions on how mipmapping affects different kinds of textures, such as bump maps, normal maps, and color maps, advice on how to use mipmapping effectively in your authoring pipeline, and much more.

Image Processing on the GPU whitepaper describes the basic methods of GPU usage for image processing and provides useful pointers to documentation, demo programs, and other developer tools.

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GPU_Gems2GPU Gems 2 Reviewed on Slashdot

An independent review of our latest book, GPU Gems 2: Programming Techniques for High-Performance Graphics and General-Purpose Computation, is now available on Slashdot.

You can also find Slashdot reviews of our previous books, GPU Gems: Programming Techniques, Tips, and Tricks for Real-Time Graphics and The Cg Tutorial: The Definitive Guide to Real-Time Programmable Graphics.

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ForceWare Release 75 Graphics Driver

In conjunction with the announcement of GeForce 7800 GTX, we have announced immediate availability of our new Windows Hardware Qualification Labs (WHQL)-certified NVIDIA ForceWare Release 75 graphics driver. The new driver supports more than seven different operating systems and more than 250 NVIDIA products. This new driver features:

  • Support for OpenGL 2.0. The latest API and new extensions enable rich shader effects on NVIDIA GPUs.
  • Improved SLI Performance and Features. Allows end users to achieve incredible performance for games and applications and enable SLI in any game for maximum flexibility; includes broader SLI validation and optimizations for the latest games.
  • Improved Video Functionality. Includes support for inverse 2:2 pull-down detection and correction, high definition 1080i deinterlacing, HDCP support, and more.
  • Support for Windows XP, Windows XP Profession x64, Windows NT4, Windows 9x/ME, Linux 32-bit, Linux 64-bit, FreeBSD, and Solaris.

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Upgrade Your PC Today!

Now more than ever, being an NVIDIA developer has its privileges. The Developer Relations team recently worked with Dell to get an amazing deal on a number of Dell Dimension XPS Gen4 Gaming PCs for use at E3 2005. Now that the show is over we're offering up this E3 System Special to our entire developer community for an amazing price. Interested? Click here for full details.

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Become a Registered Developer Today

Joining our Registered Developer program is free and gives you access to a number of benefits:

  • Developer Forums
  • Prerelease Tools
  • Prerelease Drivers
  • Bug Reporting

Joining is easy!  Simply fill out one of applications below:

Please note that it may take a few weeks to receive a decision on your application, due to the large number of applicants.

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GPGPU Feature: Exploring Graphics Processor Performance for General-Purpose Applications

This paper by P. Trancoso and M. Charalambous at the University of Cyprus presents a comprehensive study of the performance of general-purpose applications on the GPU, and determines the conditions that make the GPU work efficiently. Also, as the GPU is cheaper and consumes less power than a high-end CPU, the authors show the benefits of using the graphics card to extend the life-time of an existing computer system.

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EVENTS


Meltdown 2005

Join NVIDIA and the Microsoft Windows Gaming & Graphics team at Meltdown 2005 (July 26-27) which will feature tracks covering: Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2005, Windows codename: "Longhorn", Graphics, General Windows platform best practices, and Publishing and Business Development. NVIDIA will be hosting a suite at the event so please plan on stopping by. You can learn more about Meltdown and register by visiting http://www.microsoftmeltdown.com.

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SIGGRAPH 2005

NVIDIA will be participating in and sponsoring a number of different sessions and other events at SIGGRAPH 2005. These sessions and events include two sponsored talks, three sketches, and several courses. A complete list is available on our "NVIDIA at SIGGRAPH 2005" page.

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Iron Developer at CEDEC 2005

If you're a Japanese developer, don't miss our Iron Developer event at CEDEC 2005. We'll be giving four talks there, covering a range of topics:

  • Mike & Luna: Even More Secrets from the NVIDIA Demo Team & Next-Generation Special Effects
  • Shader Integration
  • Shaders in Your Toolchain: COLLADA & FX Composer 2.0
  • Performance Tools and SLI Programming

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Tip of the Month: Enabling Transparency Multisampling and Supersampling on GeForce 7 Series GPUs

To enable Transparency Multisampling in D3D first check if it is supported:

(pd3d->
CheckDeviceFormat(D3DADAPTER_DEFAULT, D3DDEVTYPE_HAL, 
                  D3DFMT_X8R8G8B8, 0,D3DRTYPE_SURFACE,
       (D3DFORMAT)MAKEFOURCC('A', 'T', 'O', 'C'))) == S_OK);

When rendering alpha tested fragments Multisampling can be turned on by setting:

pd3dDevice->
SetRenderState(D3DRS_ADAPTIVETESS_Y,
               (D3DFORMAT)MAKEFOURCC('A', 'T', 'O', 'C'));

To enable Transparency supersampling first check if it is supported:

(pd3d->
CheckDeviceFormat(D3DADAPTER_DEFAULT, D3DDEVTYPE_HAL,
                  D3DFMT_X8R8G8B8, 0, D3DRTYPE_SURFACE, 
       (D3DFORMAT)MAKEFOURCC('S', 'S', 'A', 'A'))) == S_OK);

When rendering alpha tested fragments supersampling can be turned on by setting:

pd3dDevice->
SetRenderState(D3DRS_ADAPTIVETESS_Y,
               (D3DFORMAT)MAKEFOURCC('S', 'S', 'A', 'A'));

Both modes can be turned off by setting:

pd3dDevice->SetRenderState(D3DRS_ADAPTIVETESS_Y,
                           D3DFMT_UNKNOWN);

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Featured Pages and Downloads

Some of the most popular pages and downloads over the past few weeks have been:

  • NVIDIA GPU Programming Guide. Useful advice on how to identify bottlenecks and eliminate them by taking advantage of the latest GPU features.

  • NVPerfHUD 3. NVPerfHUD is a performance analysis tool that overlays a graph of useful information on top of DirectX 9.0 applications.

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Job Openings

NVIDIA's Developer Technology group is always looking for talented engineers and artists in the US, Japan, and Europe. See http://talent.nvidia.com for more general information, or our specific openings for: Mobile Device Developer Technology Engineer (USA, Europe, and Korea), and 3D Professional Applications Developer Technology Engineer.

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Newsletter Distribution

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to friends, coworkers, or any other potentially interested parties. In addition, if you know of anyone who might be interested in signing up for the newsletter, please point them to http://developer.nvidia.com/object/Newsletter_Signup.html.

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Past Newsletter Issues

In case you missed any of our previous newsletter issues, you can find them online at our Developer Newsletter Archive in a variety of languages, including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and English.

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NVIDIA® Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA) is the worldwide leader in graphics processors and media communications devices. For more information about NVIDIA please visit our website: www.nvidia.com.

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