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Graphics card upgrade
I just want to share with people a pleasant experience that I have had with the greatly improved response of interactive 3D graphics in Mathematica 6 having upgraded my graphics card. Old card: ATI Radeon 9600. Fill rate 1300 MTextels/s. This card is very nice for general purpose use, but it struggles to keep up with large interactive 3D graphics. New card: nVidia 7600GS. Fill rate 4800 MTextels/s. This choice of card was constrained by the limited 300W power supply in my computer; more MTextels/s needs more clock speed and hardware parallelism which needs more watts. I wasn't disappointed. Interactive 3D manipulation of large graphic objects (e.g. a 3D plot of a cloud of 12,000 points) had a fast update rate, i.e. motion was now smooth with the new card, rather than jerky as it was with the old card. I don't know to what extent this improved performance generalises across other types of graphics. I have tried 3D graphics with large numbers (i.e. many thousands) of points, lines, spheres, etc, and in all cases there was a large improvement so that a fast update rate resulted. I guess that most of the interactive graphics computations occur on the graphics card itself for this simple type of 3D graphic, so you see the full effect of the relative performance of the-new-versus-the-old graphics card. It seems that a modest investment in a good graphics card is well worthwhile if you plan to do interactive graphics with Mathematica 6. Presumably, a top-of-the range graphics card (currently approx 20,000 MTextels/s fill rate) would give a proportionately faster response. Steve Luttrell West Malvern, UK.