Better Video Cards Do Make a Difference

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Posts 1129
Keith Larson | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Dec 1 2009 8:15 PM

I have a HD 3400 class video card and a HD 3800 video card. Both are two generation old ATI cards, but both meet the recommended specs that tech support lists. With most non-game software I have never noticed that better video cards made much difference, but with L4 the HD 3800 makes a dramatic difference, L4 seems almost snappy with it! Granted it does not help with HDD or internet limited functions such as syncing or searching for commentaries in the PG, but anything that requires the displaying of information is very much improved. Right clicking is very close to L3 speeds, the only slowdown is caused by the program looking for information to display, not the displaying of information itself.

The good news is that HD 3800 class cards are selling for around $75 at newegg and there might be some HD4000 class or Nividia cards that are even faster at this price range.

I hope this information is helpful to anyone looking to improve the user experience with L4.

Posts 25605
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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 12:44 AM

Is it GPU speed or video memory capacity/speed that helps? I say that because the amount of video memory (64 MB DDR to 512 MB DDR2 on a HD3650 AGP) made a huge difference to startup time in Win 7 on a 6 year old machine  - at least that seemed to provide the difference rather than GPU/core speed.

Dave
===

Windows 10 & Android 8

Posts 1129
Keith Larson | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 6:51 AM

Dave,

Both the HD3400 and the HD3800 have 512 MB, however the HD3400 uses DDR2 and the HD3800 uses DDR4. So it is not the size of memory, but the speed of the GPU and the memory that must have made the difference for me. Your HD3650 is certainly faster than my HD3400 and the added memory (64 to 512) and faster memory speed (DDR vs. DDR2) was why you saw an increase in speed.

Video card purchases are a hard call, I typically try to go three years or more with my cards, so I want them to last awhile. On the other hand, I don't like the high markup on the latest and the greatest. If I was in the market for a new card I would be looking at the HD5700 series. They are almost as fast as the last generation HD4800 series and they have Direct 11 support, so they have some good life in them. There are a lot of good deals right now around the $100 range, but for $50 more you would have Direct 11 support and a card that is very energy efficent so it will run cooler and quiter. Three years of not having to listen to fan noise has to be worth something. Smile

Posts 273
Ken Avery | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 6:56 AM

I have not looked at the specs for the two cards; though, I suspect the number of GPUs makes a big difference.

As far as 64MB DDR verses 512 MB DDR2; not only is there more memory, the memory speed is faster, this will make a difference.

Other things that make a difference are multithreaded processors; I see no delays on my XEON, my fast Dual-Core is much slower running Logos 4 because I designed it for single threaded gaming. (Not a fare comparison, the XEON Quad Core with Hyper-threading and an L3 cache is smoking fast)

My gaming machine boots to the OS in less than 30 seconds and opens Logos 4 in about 3 minutes; though, my XEON with Hyper-Threading boots slower, it starts Logos 4 in about 10-15 seconds while I am compiling, running virtual machines ... etc., the XEON keeps up with all the threads Windows can throw at it.

Basically, I would suspect number of GPUs make a difference, machine and video memory size and speed, multi-threading and the cpu cache.

That said, I would expect performance would be as follows (best to least): XEON, i7, Quad-Core, Dual-Core then video, memory ... etc. adding to the performance.

From what I have seen, it looks like Logos 4 performance is directly proportional to how many threads the processor can handle.

Posts 1129
Keith Larson | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 7:38 AM

Ken,

Some interesting observations. I too am starting to think the L3 cache plays a big role. My church is a Phenom 9660 and I can definately see that Logos 4 is using all four cores. But this first generation Phenom does not have the 1MB L3 that the second generation Phenoms do. My home computer has an Athlon 2 chip, which is basically a Phenom II with two cores disabled. It has the large L3 cache and in some things (especially repeated actions) it is faster than my quad core. I am guessing that this is because it is fetching data from the L3 cache.

The bottom line is if you are in the market for a new computer you want to purchase a well balanced system. With some software the extra cores and caches, good video cards did not make that much difference, but with Logos 4 it seems to use everything you can throw at it, which is a good thing in my mind. I hate purchasing hardware that is rarely if ever used by the software you run. For years hyper-threading and multiple cores have been under utilized by software.

Posts 273
Ken Avery | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 7:44 AM

P. Keith Larson:
For years hyper-threading and multiple cores have been under utilized by software.

Interesting, it looks like the cache makes a difference - the Quad-Cores actually have more L2 cache, this should also help.

It has just been the past couple of years we started writing SW to take advantage of multi-threading and multiple cores, it is only going to get better now that we have some momentum in this direction.

Posts 232
AndyTheGreek | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 7:55 AM

Or you could take the view that software producers realized that most 'serious' users (i.e. non gamers) would have an average spec PC and coded accordingly.

I would guess Logos3 uses 'ordinary' Windows functions to write to the screen and Logos4 is doing something different...

The problem with all this leading edge technology use is that Logos 4 is still, essentially, a text based research tool and I'm not sure if the functionality it has requires a leading edge approach. Actually, as a C++ programmer who's written this sort of thing for years, I know it doesn't...

I would 'sacrifice' a snazzy look and feel for usability and performance without blinking...

Not that I'm saying that software shouldn't make use of multiple cores and the like, especially as they are becoming more and more common - but maybe it's too early to rely on their presence. And as for a program like Logos4 needing a higher end video card? I don't think I would call that progress, myself.

Posts 273
Ken Avery | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 8:24 AM

Andy Bell:

Or you could take the view that software producers realized that most 'serious' users (i.e. non gamers) would have an average spec PC and coded accordingly.

I would guess Logos3 uses 'ordinary' Windows functions to write to the screen and Logos4 is doing something different...

The problem with all this leading edge technology use is that Logos 4 is still, essentially, a text based research tool and I'm not sure if the functionality it has requires a leading edge approach. Actually, as a C++ programmer who's written this sort of thing for years, I know it doesn't...

I would 'sacrifice' a snazzy look and feel for usability and performance without blinking...

I am only a developer looking at Logos as a black box; though, I suspect it is a lot more than a "text based search tool". I like to think of it as a book/text database because there are all kinds of attributes assigned to them that provide search capabilities, this can get complicated very quickly and consume cpu's and threads very quickly.

Note: The big give-away, the indexing that takes so much time to complete, this is a database function to create indexes that allow for sophisticated search algorithms to be executed against the indexes and data.

Basically, I would expect the i7 processor (or equivalent) to be on the radar for the next PC upgrade.

Posts 232
AndyTheGreek | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 8:42 AM

Ken Avery:

I am only a developer looking at Logos as a black box; though, I suspect it is a lot more than a "text based search tool". I like to think of it as a book/text database because there are all kinds of attributes assigned to them that provide search capabilities, this can get complicated very quickly and consume cpu's and threads very quickly.

Note: The big give-away, the indexing that takes so much time to complete, this is a database function to create indexes that allow for sophisticated search algorithms to be executed against the indexes and data.

Basically, I would expect the i7 processor (or equivalent) to be on the radar for the next PC upgrade.

Just to point out - I said research tool, not search tool. To my mind there's a difference between the two terms.

I'm a big fan of using databases, so I have to admit being a little puzzled as the use of tech here - SQLLite is, as the name suggests, 'lite' - it's no Sybase or Oracle or even a MySQL. Of course, most commercial, full featured, database systems are way too expensive for Logos4 to use, and MySQL is too hard for a non technical user to configure (Logos can't distribute it without, effectively, charging for it which rules it out of contention).

There are other DB systems available - although I'm not sure of their use with .NET applications. In any case, using a 'Lite' database to try to cross index books seems a tad strange to me - databases usually are designed to index their own data... Not that what Logos4 is doing is impossible, but there are other, arguably better (and faster), ways of doing it...

Just my 2 cents - and I'm not unhappy with Logos4 per se. I want Logos4 to be a success but I can't help putting my 'techie' hat on and asking questions...

 

Posts 273
Ken Avery | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 8:47 AM

Andy,

I apologise for the miss-quote of search verses research; are they really using SQLLite for Logos 4?

 

Posts 26
Doug Horst | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 8:50 AM

Just a note on SQLITE is a software library that provides a serverless relational db implementation.   It was designed to be embedded in systems unlike the server based implementations your are talking about.  It also completely in the public domain so there are no license issues involved.  Finally is is more conformant to SQL standards than mysql.  It is a solid choice as a db for this application.

Posts 273
Ken Avery | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 8:55 AM

Andy,

I am aware of SQLLite; though, I have never use it - I will take your word that it is a good chioce.

Posts 232
AndyTheGreek | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 8:57 AM

Ken

If you goto the Logos4 install and examine the files in Data\XYZ\LibraryIndex\ you'll see they all contain the text 'SQLLite format'. Indeed, each of the .DB files in each of the folders under Data\XYZ\ folder is a separate SQLLite database with one or more tables in them (I've had a poke around using SQLLite tools).

There was a post a few days ago where Logos4 refused to start after a crash and the error message was SQLLIte failure - my guess was that Logos4 crashed whilst writing to a SQLLIte table/index and corrupted it. It's common for 'file based' databases to get corrupt this way, unless they use journaling. To my knowledge SQLLIte doesn't and the only one that does is NexusDB, buit that's a Delphi/C++ Builder database - I don't know if it supports .NET

Since discovering that, I'm making sure I backup my Logos4 installation regularly, as a restore from backup is a far better option than a reinstall->redownload->reindex...

Andy

XYZ refers, of course, to the random folder name...

Posts 232
AndyTheGreek | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 9:01 AM

Douglas Horst:

Just a note on SQLITE is a software library that provides a serverless relational db implementation.   It was designed to be embedded in systems unlike the server based implementations your are talking about.  It also completely in the public domain so there are no license issues involved.  Finally is is more conformant to SQL standards than mysql.  It is a solid choice as a db for this application.

Unless you're using the dark edges of SQL, SQL standards conformance isn't much of a concern. My problem with virtually all 'serverless' database systems is just that - they are serverless and prone to data corruption if the host application crashes. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, then it's normally unrecoverable... apart from a reintstall...

 

Posts 687
Jon | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 9:06 AM

Andy Bell:
Since discovering that, I'm making sure I backup my Logos4 installation regularly, as a restore from backup is a far better option than a reinstall->redownload->reindex...

Actually, you can delete those db files and Logos will reproduce them at next program load; just don't delete the index ones or you'll be sitting around for a while...

Posts 5615
Todd Phillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 9:08 AM

Andy Bell:
would guess Logos3 uses 'ordinary' Windows functions to write to the screen and Logos4 is doing something different...

Logos 3 uses Window Graphics Device Interface (GDI) for its display API.  Logos 4 uses Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF).  GDI is the old way of rendering. WPF is the "next generation" of Windows display API: it's part of .NET Framework 3.0.

WPF use Direct3D for ALL of it's display routines.  This simplifies things for the programmer, but adds a layer of hidden complexity that requires more computation which can be offset by using a quality video card that supports Direct3D hardware acceleration.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa663364.aspx

Andy Bell:
Not that I'm saying that software shouldn't make use of multiple cores and the like, especially as they are becoming more and more common - but maybe it's too early to rely on their presence. And as for a program like Logos4 needing a higher end video card? I don't think I would call that progress, myself.

Hardware requirements go up all the time.  Was the transition from DOS to Windows considered progress?

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Posts 232
AndyTheGreek | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 10:37 AM

Jon Rumble:

Andy Bell:
Since discovering that, I'm making sure I backup my Logos4 installation regularly, as a restore from backup is a far better option than a reinstall->redownload->reindex...

Actually, you can delete those db files and Logos will reproduce them at next program load; just don't delete the index ones or you'll be sitting around for a while...

Assuming you can 1) identify which one(s) are corrupt and 2) it's not one of the indexes that has become corrupt...

I would just restore the backup, it would probably take just as long to visit each folder and delete the .DB files...

 

Posts 232
AndyTheGreek | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 10:55 AM

Todd Phillips:

Andy Bell:
would guess Logos3 uses 'ordinary' Windows functions to write to the screen and Logos4 is doing something different...

Logos 3 uses Window Graphics Device Interface (GDI) for its display API.  Logos 4 uses Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF).  GDI is the old way of rendering. WPF is the "next generation" of Windows display API: it's part of .NET Framework 3.0.

WPF use Direct3D for ALL of it's display routines.  This simplifies things for the programmer, but adds a layer of hidden complexity that requires more computation which can be offset by using a quality video card that supports Direct3D hardware acceleration.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa663364.aspx

Andy Bell:
Not that I'm saying that software shouldn't make use of multiple cores and the like, especially as they are becoming more and more common - but maybe it's too early to rely on their presence. And as for a program like Logos4 needing a higher end video card? I don't think I would call that progress, myself.

Hardware requirements go up all the time.  Was the transition from DOS to Windows considered progress?

Thanks for the explanation. Whether WPF represents progress over GDI, I cannot say as I've never used it. I must admit that when I first read your post I kind of shuddered - Direct3D for an application that is 90% textual is something that, IMHO, no-one would have even considered in the absence of .NET - it's overkill. As for making it easier on the programmer, maybe. But I guess that it depends on your toolkit. Visual C++ & MFC was, in my experience of it, one of the most 'hostile' environments and frameworks for programming. Delphi/C++ Builder, OTOH, took care of all the nasty GDI stuff without compromising speed or flexibility. But it's a niche area... Although, looking at the table in the msdn link, it could do (and still can do) everything apart from the 3d graphics...

As for Windows being progress over DOS - yes, eventually it was. Windows 98 was the first Windows I felt really comfortable with. Windows ME was, well, best left unmentioned. XP was good. Vista was probably a step back and 7, by all accounts, is a step forward. But operating systems may well demand hardware improvements - we're used to that. But user applications, especially applications in Logos's genre don't normally come with such demands...

 

Posts 1674
Paul Golder | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 11:20 AM

So I'm guessing Logos 5 recommended system requirements will be:

  • 1.6 GHz Single Core 64-bit Cray X2 Vector Processor, 4 processors per compute node
  • 8 vector pipes
  • 512 KB L2 Cache, 8MB L3 Cache
  • 128 CPUs per cabinet (max) 32K CPU’s per system (max), 1,024 supported, additional scalability on request
  • 25.6 Gflops (peak) per CPU
  • 4-way SMP nodes shares uniform memory access to local node memory
  • Non-uniform memory access across a high-bandwidth, low-latency, node interconnection network
  • Caches are globally coherent
  • 32 GB, 64 GB DRAM memory per node, 16 TB per system (@ 1,024 CPU’s)
  • (128 GB DRAM option delayed availability)
  • 28.5 GB/sec local memory bandwidth/CPU
  • High-bandwidth, low-latency fat tree network. 9.375GB/sec point-to-point bandwidth

Smile

"As any translator will attest, a literal translation is no translation at all."

Posts 5615
Todd Phillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 11:21 AM

Andy Bell:
I must admit that when I first read your post I kind of shuddered - Direct3D for an application that is 90% textual is something that, IMHO, no-one would have even considered in the absence of .NET - it's overkill.

Actually, with the kind of visual design and flourishes that modern windowing systems are moving towards (i.e. Aero), it's probably going to be a requirement in the future to be able to generate graphics that can easily be mapped into 3D space (whether pictures or text).  Not that you have to like it, mind you.

 

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