The Lab rates video cards into 5 classes. They setup your default viewer graphics preferences based on those classes.
There is an update coming to the GPU Table, which is what the viewers use to figure out what class your video card is in and choose your initial settings. We should see it in one of the viewer release candidates this week or next.
The GPU Table has this information:
|// Class Numbers:|
|0 – Defaults to low graphics settings.||No shaders on by default||Not supported|
|1 – Defaults to mid graphics settings.||Basic shaders on by default||Supported|
|2 – Defaults to high graphics settings.||Atmospherics on by default.||Supported|
|3 – Same as 2, but with lighting and shadows enabled.||Supported|
|4 – Same as 3, but with ambient occlusion enabled.||Supported|
|5 – Same as 4, but with shadows set to “Sun/Moon+Projectors.”||Supported|
You can find a copy of the GPU Table in the viewer’s install folder. Its secret name is: gpu_table.txt. You can look up your model of video card to see how the Lab thinks it should be supported.
Some Class 5 cards are:
ATI ASUS EAH58xx and up
ATI FirePro M5800 and up
ATI Radeon HD 7800 and up
ATI ASUS HD7800 and up
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 6500M and up
ATI Radeon HD 6900
NVIDIA GTS 360M
NVIDIA GTX 570M
NVIDIA GTX 290
NVIDIA GTX 460-480
NVIDIA GTX 550-590
NVIDIA GTX 660-690
Surprisingly something like the GTX 650 is a Class 3. So, if you are thinking about an upgrade, you may want to look through the table. Don’t take it as gospel. I really doubt that 650′s rating. I know people that are using 240 ad 260 cards and running on a graphics setting of HIGH.
Some Interesting Stats
Oz Linden was doing some testing and building some performance curves for viewers. Apparently they are looking at what cards and features they might improve support for and which cards did better to see why. Whatever, an interesting facet of that research is ALM (Advanced Lighting Model) performance.
Class 5 video cards (the good ones) got better performance with ALM enabled.
Class 4 cards saw a small degradation in performance with ALM enabled.
Class 3 cards saw a 35% to 45% degradation in performance. Oz didn’t tells us bout class 1 & 2 cards.
They are studying the stats to figure out what gave the better performance.
Oz Linden will see if he can eventually publish the stats. I would recommend not holding your breath. He gets busy and forgets some things.
The new stats system is letting the Lindens get better data. Oz is learning how to use it. So, he can pull numbers on his own. That may lead to us finding out how many people are now using ALM enabled.