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Video Boards & Driver Best Practices for nVidia & others - Settings

    
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Factorytuned

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 Video Boards & Driver Best Practices for nVidia & others - Settings
01-09-2012 12:31 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Post Last Edit by Factorytuned at 2012-9-5 21:40

I want start a thread on best practices for Video settings as it seems there are several settings that impact the performance of ZW3D (We need a new name for this software.)

Okay, it would be nice if we could build a video board and driver profile set and post these best practice and settings here. This will help, well the development team, as well as and more importantly in the short term, us the users... I'm a 20 year veteran computer system integrater and have access to lots of hardware, and software in use in the field in primarily manufacturing environments.

That said, I only sell and support MS, Intel, and along with Nvidia graphic processors and related hardware. We need some profiles on how the OpenGL vs software acceleration work within Z3D and what OTHER video boards, hardware and drivers are used and may work better or not suffer from the same issues.

I will share my findings and on what platforms. We need this FAQ badly, as there are settings that effect, as mentioned, performance and the erratum I've seen with these setting.

This is primarily related to the CAM side and solid model verify, but also affects, the CAD side with visual effects, lines, arcs, surfaces and the like as well as how well the pick apperture works and how surfaces are represented, ghosting etc.. As well as general 2D performance in a 3D space. GUI is also impacted, menus, input performance within fields, etc..

I will start with Nvidia FX and Fermi boards and what I have found. I will be testing a Quadro K5000 Kepler for a customer, The K5000 has over 1500 Cores and functions on the TeraFlop level and runs on Express Buss 3, well beyond what's needed for ZW3D or most any CADCAM package for that matter.

So share what you use for video hardware and driver level is important. I have found that the MOST CURRENT DRIVER is not the right driver necessarily. And the default settings for said drivers are not always the best or correct.

ZWSoft, this is a good time for you too, to step up and provide information for your customers. Not just "NEWEST DRIVER"....

Jeff
AKA - Factorytune

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Colin

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Message 2 of 8

05-09-2012 09:16 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Thanks, Jeff

It is great if we could get more information about the driver details. At the same time, we are working to optimize the graphic performance. I also post more information about the graphic performance that we are improving.

1) More advanced APIs of OpenGL are used to boost the graphic performance, that is why it is advised to use the graphic card which support OpenGL 2.1 or above, it is great if you got a card which support OpenGL 3.0 or above

2) The graphic performance issue we found in some low-end graphic cards which only support OpenGL 2.0 or below are being improved.

3) For the computer with I7 CPU which integrates with graphic card, the software will use the integrated graphic card of CPU instead of the separate graphic card, please check the graphic card setting, make sure to pick 'Use separate graphic card' to use ZW3D.

4) There are some more enhancement to deal with the big file and solid-verify of CAM in V17. The 64bit will be supported in V17, which works great with big file, what is more, with the upgrade of machineworks module to V7.1, the Solid-verify will work much better with the optimization for multiple-core.


Best regards
Colin

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Factorytuned

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05-09-2012 10:15 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Colin:

Always good to hear! Hopefully we will get feedback from other users of other hardware platforms as well.

I will not pursue any FAQ building based on anything older the OpenGL 2.0, Shader Model 3, and DX 9c. But will actully focus on OGL 3+, SM4+, and DX 10+, as that is where the industry is mostly..

We need to build a nice complete FAQ so when the BETA releases show up, we can add good information for a solid product.

Jeff Lemons
AKA - Factorytuned

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Factorytuned

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Message 4 of 8

08-09-2012 10:19 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Post Last Edit by Factorytuned at 2012-9-8 22:42

Mudcrab:

Continued here; The Visual Studio runtime vCredist.exe(version), works with driver version 275.36 Unified driver, perfectly well. I get ZERO blowups. If I load any of the later drivers tool paths simply will not finish if they have any length and complexity. But that(275.36) driver is not so good from a shader, anti-alias, and OGL for 2012, as compared to the later drivers.

Hardware OGL work erroniously and the display list is different as to how analysis of the surface is computed. Using 2012 native rather than OpenGL display list produces a much more accurate SolidVerify surface finish.

There are actually gouges in OpenGL Display list compute that simply do not exist, when "native" solid verify is used.

It really should be the other way around. OpenGL diaplay list with an nVidia FX1800, 2000Fermi, FX3800,4000Fermi and especially the boards with 64bit floating point precision should have an perfectly computed surface. AND with a gig or more VRAM the native system memory really should be used for CL info only. All visual compute data should be held in the video board ram. But this is code optimization at it's finiest, and really shows what a programmer is made of, how good they really are at writing good clean code.

Assembly routines are the best practice for this type of code rather than C++ and can be directly compiled in with the C routines without external calls. These routines execute fastest and are smallest in size but most difficult to write. Out of school I programmed video libraries in C/Assembly for automation along side a buddy who programmed Assembly/PASCAL. You are earning your pay if you are doing it correctly. (well out of the scope of this thread)

So 305 driver was just released, I have not had a chance to test it on anything. Server 2K8(Win7, Vista) have some limitations as far as nVidia manager is concerned. I'll need to read over the white paper for the driver.. But it's geared for the new boards to include the Kepler as well as Maximus for SLI compute. Again, not so good for ZW3D.. As the driver libs have to be optimized for these neat features.

Again, all we're worried about here is stability and performance. Typically, if something is stable, no time is wasted and the desire and idea of speed is curbed.

We need other contributions.

Jeff
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Factorytuned

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Message 5 of 8

27-09-2012 12:37 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Post Last Edit by Factorytuned at 2012-9-27 01:05

305.93 nVidia Driver for FX and Fermi boards.

305.93, has fixed the issues seen in 295.76. Visual Studio C++ no longer gives a runtime error. What's more once ZW3D reaches it's memory threshhold, this is where it would bomb in solid verify; resources are then released, and system memory usage falls to a bare minimum.

I have not done any serious tweaking of the driver, but there's definitly room for tweaks. If you run one of the newer FX or Fermi boards you will see a bunch of new menu options open up for tuning in the manager.

I have noticed a couple degraded performance issues with ZW3D with this driver and board set 305.93 FX3800 and QF4000. These are only related to boards 3800 and beyond with 64bit floating point precision enabled on the nVidia GPU, these are related to anti-alias. Also there is a new hybridized setting for when enhaced video features are enabled within a given software package, the nVidia driver has now been made aware of how to better handle this. I need to look further into it, as well as the OpenGL settings within the driver and how ZW3D reacts to all hardware accelerated performance.

That said you will find performance gains and added clarity especially when it comes to surfaces and lighting on surfaces. This enables you to analyse a surface with greater detail, so when using advanced surface features you can really tweak the settings to the correct surface, alignment, pulling and rippling as well as joining or merging advanced surfaces. Also, line meshes, micro lines, and micro bow ties and zooming to the finite level without error has improved.

Improvement was solely on the nVidia side with these advanced video boards, without patching anything else on the system.

Ongoing issues needing addressed or a workaround provided in white paper.

1:
We need have a setting or Zw3D is broken with this regard: OpenGL Display List needs to be selectable as "Default" or otherwise. Then, and this is KEY, stay active for all operations. I have to tell solid verify I want to use OpenGL DS and confirm with a click of ("apply" radio button) then OGL DL is active. Paning and zooming is silky smooth, tool path sim, then responds to tolarence settings with serious precision. This needs to remain saved at end of session.

2:
There is still an intermittient issue with video lock in solid verify, not sure what causes it, but the generated tool path will lock disallowing any further rotation, zooming etc.. I noted what I was doing a couple times this occured, but will have to review my notes as I cannot remember off head! Once Toolpath - Solid Verify, has been closed the last "location", of the attempted move, pan, zoom etc., is revealed with the model in that location and or angle. This would present a problem if one was out of zoom range, and one could presume possibly the model has disappeared or been lost.

Remember this only works if we all share information.

Jeff
AKA - FT/Factorytuned

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Luurt

Assistant Engineer

posts: 29

Registered: 2012-1-5

Message 6 of 8

05-11-2012 07:40 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Reply 5# Factorytuned

Gentlemen,

I am happy to read that more people see the need of practical info about the way ZW3D users should optimize their video cards and drivers.
This issue is becoming more and more a pain in the ...........
Every new version of ZW3D is a challenge to those who use other types of graphics than Nvidia and even Nvidia becomes more and more a luck of the draw in terms of perfomance.
I had a new driver on my Quadro 3000m and all perfomance in standard 3D mode which worked fine with the previous driver was gone.
I selected a catia profile and it works acceptable again
Now I have a prospect with an ATI radeon x600/x550 series
Zw3D 2012 sp1 almost freezes on the screen, while Mastercam runs smoothly on it
Does anyone have the right ZW settings fort that card for me?

Thanks in advance
Luurt

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Factorytuned

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Message 7 of 8

06-11-2012 12:04 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Luurt,

While I do not have the best setting for x600/550 I should say that card probably simply does not have the processing power for the ZW3D. Now that said I have never used nor, know of anyone that hase used that board. But, with likes of a Qudaro3000M that's pretty serious video power for a mobile computer. The ATI board in question is nowhere near the power nor the price point of a quadro2000/3000m 4000..

Other input is needed regarding this and other boards. And again no other users are forthcoming with this information. But I think the x600 card falls short of processing power. MasterCAM is an old robust software, meaning CNCSoftware have had years to develop it as a Surface Based CAM package. It is highly optimized for 2D and then 3D. You can run MasterCAM on a Legacy PCI board and get nearly the same results as with a 3000M.

ZW3D on the other hand require some rather serious video power to overcome some of the coding issues in the graphics libraries. But ZWSoft seem to be vigilant in the desire to fix this. The big chang should be when x64 comes out next year as I would think a lot of these issues will be addressed based on the requirements of the OS framework if for no other reason.

You need to read white papers on the Nvidia driver when considering changing to a new version. You will see there are limitations and application notes regarding the specific OS.

Jeff
AKA - Factorytuned.

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Luurt

Assistant Engineer

posts: 29

Registered: 2012-1-5

Message 8 of 8

06-11-2012 04:58 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Thanks Jeff, I must say I didn't have a clue about the quality of that ATI board.
I advised my prospect to test on another PC with nvidia graphics and inform me about the results
I any case i will forward the message that the ATI board is not powerful enough for ZW3D

Best regards
Luurt
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