Hardware

New toy (HD6850)

Back in the days before I got myself a PS3 I used to upgrade my PC every year. But since then (early 2009) I haven’t really bought any new PC games and thus never felt the need to upgrade my hardware. But well, my HD4850 (512 MB) started to show it’s age, especially when I wanted to play The Witcher 2 (I loved the first one, and the second one seems to be a great RPG too) and realized that even at lowered details and dialed back resolution (which isn’t really nice when you have a big display) the game was chugging along (20~25 fps with a lot of stuttering). So I decided to get me a new graphics card, and after reading through reviews and articles I settled for an Radeon HD6850. The HD4850 was a nice card (except that the cooling fan died, and the one you see in the shot is a replacement one I mounted myself), but for current games it just wasn’t enough anymore, and the new HD6850 has twice the VRAM and it’s cooling fan is even more silent than the already very-silent one on my HD4850 (it’s so silent you have to put your fingers into the fan to see if it’s actually working). And for roughly 135€ it wasn’t too expensive either, especially since it included a free copy of the recently released DIRT3, a game I wanted to buy anyway (I’m really into racing sims/games and own a nice steering wheel ). And yes, The Witcher 2 looks really stunning with this new toy, so hopefully the game itself will be as good as the first one, and DIR3 seems to support DX11, so I’m pretty sure this will look stunning too (especially when you’re used to the low-res 30fps visuals of current console games).

And yes, the HD6850 also supports Shader Model 5.0. So maybe I’ll start digging into this and try out some of this in OpenGL. Especially the new tesselation unit looks interesting. Though I’m still pretty busy with work on “Phase 2” of Projekt W and I don’t plan on putting any SM5.0 functioanlity into it (maybe I’ll try to apply hardware tesselation to the globe, just to see how it looks).