The specifications...: that sometimes they cheat!

Tile Rendering: if one does not see, do not draw it!


Material used in the tests

Yield (1): VillageMark

Yield (2): 3DMark2000

Yield (3): 3DMark2001

Yield (4): Quake 3

Yield (5): AntiAliasing = Quality

Overclocking: a pity...


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Juan Herrerías Rey

Articles about the Videocard

What is... the videocard?


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Hercules 3D Prophet 4500: KYRO II against NVIDIA

His publicity in CsH


Tile Rendering: if one does not see, do not draw it!

The motive for which the chips KYRO can give good results at excellent levels despite his absence of "brute force" is his method of "renderizado intelligently", the tile rendering; or, since it is translated by the publicity of Hercules, the renderizado in cells.

Simplifying a little (or enough), in the classic renderizar method to ("paint) a three-dimensional scene (3D) there are calculated all the objects of the scene and the triangles that will represent them, the textures are applied to them (the "photos" that give the appearance of brick, skin, water, sand...) and lighting... and only then one determines, with regard to the point of view of the "spectator" or "camera", what objects are covered by others and which are visible and have to be represented therefore.

Yes, he has read well: if the hero of our adventure is emboscado after a column waiting to the monster, normally they will be calculated and texturizarán all the polygons of our hero that we would see if the column did not exist, although finally only it "puts out" the top of the cannon of his gun laser. In the opposite case (monster waiting for incautious hero), the same happens; something deplorable.

Scheme of the conventional process of renderizado - Source

One of the principal consequences of working with this "direct" method is the high consumption of memory of video. For when we decide that we do not need to show all these "secret" polygons, already they are texturizados; that is to say, that are already painted, although we decide not to show them. And not only this: the information traffic has been enormous, since not only the geometry of the objects has been calculated and requested the textures: also we have verified his position as the z-buffer, we have stored the result in the frame buffer... well, already we said that it was a simplification, but an idea is done: truth?

The "classic" solution to this problem is absurdly simple: to use the most rapid memory and of major possible band; nowadays, this means memory DDR-SDRAM with bus of 128 bits and to more MHz that we could obtain. Precisely because of it, the GeForce2 MX200 is much slower than the MX and MX400. If something limits the yield of a "classic" graphic card it is his memory band.

As sure that it will have foreseen, the chip KYRO takes the opposite way: before putting itself to texturizar píxels like madman, it divides the scene in areas (cells, tiles) and calculates in every area what triangles will be seen and which not (elimination of secret surfaces, Hidden Surface Removal), later to work only with the "useful" píxels. This approach of the renderizado joins other additional improvings as:

  • Aptitude to apply to a pixel 8 textures for spent: it helps to reduce the band consumption in games with multiple textures, although then "only" it applies 2 textures for every clock cycle;
  • Full Screen Anti-Aliasing (FSAA): "smoothed of toothed rims", one of the strong points of this chip, since we will see;
  • Internal True Color: independently of the number of colors to be represented, the internal calculations are always done to 32 color bits, giving more final quality if we were deciding to use an exit of 16 bits;
  • Environmental Bump Mapping (EBM): a method much advanced to achieve impressive effects in the mapping of reflexes and lights; nothing to envy to the GeForce in this respect;
  • Compression of Textures S3TC: moreover I save of memory band, if it needed.

Thanks to all this, to the KYRO II his "simple" SDRAM is enough to him perfectly to 175 MHz. There would not come to him badly an extra pair of details, like any more speed of clock (any more MHz) for the chip or support of T&L, but everything will be walked... because they hope to extract a KYRO 3, skylight.

The quality in 2D seems quite it good that it is necessary in a product destined for the domestic - playful market; we cannot say how one will see in a monitor of 21 ", but in a LG FLatron 795 + of 17 " plane was meeting perfectly to 1600x1200, and the 300 MHz RAMDAC gives still for more.

To end, a detail on the mythologized one AGP: AGP supports 2x, instead of 4x that is becoming standard at present. But this DOES NOT IMPORT the MOST MINIMAL THING: the speed of the AGP only influences the yield if the memory integrated to the card is finished and we must use the principal memory of the system, much slower. Something that the games programmers know, and for it they design thinking about cards with approximately 32 MB.

Anyway, that it usually not appreciate any difference between AGP 2x and 4x (enough professional graphic cards sell still in format PCI... and fly). Also, being such a thrifty memory chip, or they have installed in the card 64 MB to impress or have done it so that it is never finished, which is infinitely better that to have AGP 2x with only 32 MB.



Pantallazo of the drivers

Pulsate in the image to see it to major size

Pantallazo of the drivers

Pulsate in the image to see it to major size

The card that we prove, despite being a final model, was not including the CD with the drivers (that, of course, yes comes with the commercial cards... would be missing more). For it, we went to the web of Hercules España and unloaded the last ones that we find, them 7.111th.

Easy to install, translated and absolutely finished, with all the necessary options to fit the behavior in OpenGL and DirectX; more than correct. They do not include options for overclocking, but as we will see it is not the strong point of this card, so really it does not matter.

A curious detail: for defect, on having started Windows, a photo of the card appears during a moment; to deactivate this effect (it does not create any problem, but personally already I see enough logotypes throughout the day), we will have to go to the button "Center of support", inside the eyelash "Screen".


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