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IS the Elite3D m3 worth it?

Discussion in 'Sun Hardware' started by Greg Fisher, Jun 28, 2003.

  1. Greg Fisher

    Greg Fisher Guest

    This is getting crazy, i'm seeing on ebay.co.uk elite3d m3 cards going for
    £55.

    Is there any performance differences between the creator3d and elite3d?

    Is it worth it to spend that 55 bucks?

    My main app would be blender, and other opengl stuff. And some video stuff?

    However the m6 costs ~£200. What is the difference between the m3 & m6 to
    dictate that price rise. I know that a £50 nvidia card can kill the
    performance of the elite, but what makes the elite stuff so special.

    Didn't Sun back in their days have better 3D performance then SGI, or was
    the former Iraqi information minister the marketing guy for sun?

    thanks again.
     
    Greg Fisher, Jun 28, 2003
    #1
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  2. Greg Fisher

    Mika Kongas Guest

    I've written some small pieces of software that utilize OpenGL in one way
    or another. My Max IMPACT in my SGI Indigo2 regularly beats both my
    Creator 3D and Elite 3D m3 in my Ultra 30. This is even when not using
    textures.

    Both the Sun boards are also newer than the Max IMPACT. For what it's worth
    the Indigo2 is a 195MHz R10k and the Ultra 30 is the slow 250MHz model.
    The CPU in the Indigo2 might be a bit faster than the one in the U30.

    If Sun has actually had faster boards, they've probably compared them to
    slower SGI framebuffers, such as SI or Solid IMPACT. Of course the
    application also matters a lot -- possibly much much more than the
    difference in the hardware if the code is sloppy. It's quite possible
    that some simple CAD software, for instance, is faster on Suns than
    SGIs even if the SGI hardware were in fact "better".

    Of course Sun has also not had real high performance framebuffers in the
    past. AFAIK there has been no real Sun product that could have been compared
    to something like the SGI Reality/InfiniteReality product lines. I don't know
    how well the 'new' XVR-4000 performs, but based on my previous experiences
    with "high performance" Sun framebuffers, I have some reservations about
    that one as well. Sun certainly did not have better 3D performance than
    SGI over all the product lines, of that much I'm quite sure.

    So it's really not very easy to say which framebuffer is "faster",
    the age old wisdom of getting the hardware that runs your specific set of
    applications the best applies here. Finding the fastest way to do things
    when programming the software in my experience usually requires reading some
    framebuffer manuals and/or simply using liberal experimentation.


    Mika
     
    Mika Kongas, Jun 28, 2003
    #2
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  3. I've written some small pieces of software that utilize OpenGL in one way
    My Indigo2 has a High Impact board (theoretically half the performance of
    the Max Impact), and I got an Elite3D m3 for my Ultra 60 (2x360MHz) not too
    long ago. I too had to make a casual comparison. Now, I will say without
    a doubt that the guts of the U60 kick the crap out of the SGI (faster CPUs,
    faster memory system, etc.).

    For my test, I used a popular game known as BzFlag. This game always runs
    perfectly smooth on my SGI at 1280x1024, with all the detail and texture
    options cranked to the maximum settings. At the same res, on the Elite3D,
    it was quite jerky. In fact, once I started turning on texture options, it
    became barely usable at all.

    I'm actually quite curious as to how the XVR series stacks up, as well as
    the Expert3D (rebadged 3DLabs, I think) cards stack up. I'd also like to
    see how some of these newer cards perform as simple 2D graphics cards.
    Frankly, I still don't understand why my UPA-attached Creator3D framebuffer
    is actually SLOWER at 2D operations (like scrolling in a web browser) than
    my Sun Ray, which is an ethernet-attached thin client!

    -Derek
     
    Derek Konigsberg, Jun 29, 2003
    #3
  4. Greg Fisher

    Jason Wagner Guest

    Is there any performance differences between the creator3d and elite3d?

    Elite does 1280x1024 as its highest, C3D goes much higher.
    More geometry engines, or whatever Sun calls fast CPUs that do all the work.
    The only was Sun will ever have an FB faster than SGI is if Sun buys SGI.
     
    Jason Wagner, Jun 29, 2003
    #4
  5. Take a look at the following links:

    http://www.sun.com/desktop/products/Graphics/graphicsbenchmks.pdf

    http://www.sun.com/desktop/products/Graphics/graphicsspecs.pdf

    http://www.netsys.com/library/sun/just_the_facts/Elite3D-JTF.pdf


    I recently upgraded an number of Creator3D systems to Elite3D systems
    and I am very pleased with them. The Creator3D's were too slow for
    the models we were looking at but the Elite3D's are fast enough.

    These cards are optimised for CAD type work (without textures) and not
    games or video.

    My measure of performance is the size of CAD model you can manipulate
    smoothly: with small models it does not matter what graphics card you
    have, they are all fast enough, with very large models it does not matter
    what graphics card you have, they (and your computer) are all too slow,
    but a fast card does allow you to work with larger models and if the models
    you want to work with fall in the range where the faster card is fast
    enough and the slower card is too slow then it is worth getting the
    faster card. (Alternatively you can look at it as how many pieces you
    have to split you model into to work with it).

    Intersetingly the Elite3D seems better than the Nvidia Quadro4 750 XGL
    (a £500 card) in my PC. Both cards are fast enough for the models I have
    been looking at, but the Elite3D produces much better pictures because it
    has a 28 bit Z-buffer instead of a 24bit Z-buffer.

    (From the Elite3D just the facts document above:
    The Z-buffer is extended from 24 bits to 28 bits and gets the optional
    stubby floating-point format, effectively giving the range of a 39-bit
    integer Z-buffer.)

    Obviously the Nvidia card and PC are much much faster than the old Ultra 10
    but it is the increase in the CPU performance of the PC over the Sun that
    makes the difference rather than the graphics. (It would be a different story
    I expect if I used textures).

    YMMV.

    Nick
     
    Nicholas Brealey, Jun 29, 2003
    #5
  6. Greg Fisher

    Chris Morgan Guest

    The latter heats your room much more :)

    Oh yeah, it has significantly better 3d kick, excluding heavy textures
    (if you need to use a lot of textures, I don't know what Sun cards are
    good, I only have older ones).

    Elite3D also has very nice image quality I find, better than my
    Geforce card in my linux machine.

    Finally, M6 has twice the fp engines as m3

    Chris

    --
    Chris Morgan
    "Post posting of policy changes by the boss will result in
    real rule revisions that are irreversible"

    - anonymous correspondent
     
    Chris Morgan, Jun 30, 2003
    #6
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