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  • takumsawsherman - Friday, July 06, 2007 - link

    AMD/ATI and NVIDIA are totally out of control. It's like they put 13-year olds in charge of the design, and State Government bureacrats are the programmers. I will focus on ATI, though NVIDIA seems to want to follow in their footsteps.

    1. Huge resource hog - the article mentions this, but one has to sit and time it themselves to realize what garbage this software is. Insane load times, just to switch output to a TV, or make basic adjustments. My trusty old Matrox G400Max 8 years ago in a matter of a few seconds, and the image looked better on TV as well. Speaking of Output to TV (or another monitor), under the old control panel, it was a check box. Now, one has to drag an icon of a TV into a box. Genius.

    2. Speaking of 13 year olds, what is with the cartoon characters dominating the interface. Am I supposed to get excited seeing that? Is it supposed to reward me for my waiting? And the stupid buttons that are harder to see than normal buttons, on top of brushed metal? Awesome, dude! Why not have a nice control panel, that has all of the controls within an intuitive system, somewhat like what Matrox used to have with Powerdesk? Hell, with that system, I could increment the refresh rate until I reached the limit of my Viewsonic at 116hz. That is power, and control.

    There is more that I could detail, but I need to get back to work. But no apologies should be made for the teams that design these monstrosities. They are not suitable for basic users. Basic users would think that perhaps their computer was not working, based on the load time. They are not suitable at all, and they should literally be thrown in the garbage. The people responsible for approving these designs, and team responsible for creating the design and basing it on .NET, should be fired. Then maybe somebody like Andy Hertzfeld should be brought in to lead the new teams.

    I thought that with AMD's purchase of ATI, this outcome would be fast-tracked. Unfortunately, whoever was in charge probably still is in charge.
  • PrinceGaz - Friday, July 06, 2007 - link

    Good article, I think I'll have a look at ATITool as that sounds ideal for my needs (I already use nHancer and have used RivaTuner in the past).

    My question is why are there no links to any of the third-party utilities you are so enthusiastic about? I know they're easy enough to find with a quick search, but it seems strange that you don't provide links to their official site. I assume it isn't because in at least one case it would mean linking to a site which probably competes with AT for ads and visitors? :)
  • Spoelie - Friday, July 06, 2007 - link

    Specifically, getting it to do all the clock/voltage/fan changing (auto 3D overclocking feature) instead of the standard drivers, made my x1950xt with even the standard HSF a very pleasant card.

    2d clocks standard 500/600 @var fan (minimum 29%), now 300/400 @22% constant fan.
    3d clocks standard 625/900 @var fan (up to 70%+), now 625/900 @59% constant fan.
    + fcourse voltage changes

    For older games that do not need as much grunt, you can set an exception so it uses the 2D clocks, for completely silent gaming. Configuring the fan at a constant not-too-loud speed that is sufficient to cool the GPU at the 3D clocks, gets rid of the fan winding up and down during gaming annoyance.

    And all the other goodies, for icing on the cake ^^
  • yacoub - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    ATITool would be perfect if its dynamic temperature-sensor-based fan throttling worked on more cards. It's hard to tell if the issue is with card hardware or with ATITool's developer, but either way it's frustrating to have a high-end GPU and yet not be able to have the fan throttle with detected temps per user settings. This worked perfectly on my 9800Pro and X800XL, but does not work at all on my 7900GT and apparently doesn't work right on X1900 series ATi cards not 8800 series NVidia cards either.

    It's a shame, because ATITool is such an awesome little program otherwise. It's by far much more user-friendly and easy to configure than something like RivaTuner (last I checked, which was a while ago).
  • Spoelie - Friday, July 06, 2007 - link

    Ati tray tools has the support you mentioned for the X1xxx range of cards, try that for a change. Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    "not" should be "nor".

    Also I should add that SpeedFan manages to do this temp-based fan throttling wonderfully for my CPU and has for a couple years now. I want this ability for my GPU as well, as I was able to do with older gen GPUs.... how can we LOSE this feature when things are supposed to IMPROVE with newer generation hardware?

    It's especially troublesome since the latest GPUs all seem to run a really low setting in Windows and FULL BLAST in 3D gaming. It's an on/off switch instead of a dynamic throttle the way ATITool is capable of doing (with older cards).
  • strikeback03 - Friday, July 06, 2007 - link

    Speedfan has not worked with either of the hardware combos I have tried it with. I'm gonna see if any of these GPU utilities can keep my video card fan from turning on randomly though.

    I'd be happy if the nVidia utility would let me disable the popup message about "SLI is disabled" every time the computer is turned on, considering the motherboard does not support SLI and there has never been a second video card.
  • The Boston Dangler - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    yeah, speedfan is great. try rivatuner for controlling vid fan speeds. Reply
  • The Boston Dangler - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    Although you state that AMD and Nvidia need to do much better, you were way too soft on them. Perhaps your experiences have been much better than my own.

    No mention of Coolbits or NVTempLogger? Maybe because they are XP-only?

    I dumped ATI years ago due to their weak hardware, CCC + .NET was the last straw. That, and the media thingy was nothing more than WMP with ATI's skin. Pure garbage. At very least, it let me have ANY video source as wallpaper, about 5 years before Vista's Dreamscene or whatever it's called.

    That leaves Nvidia. Under XP, the old control panel was excellent. Coolbits added freq adjustments, RivaTuner did not integrate. All other settings were easily laid out for me to tinker with, and very functional. However, the new-fangled control panel had only about 10% of the settings as the old one. The nTune utility was 100% fatal to my motherboard, freezing up the moment the .exe was run. This was on an Asus A8N32-SLI, the premiere mobo of the day. So sad...

    Now that I've regrettably installed Vista, I'm stuck with the moronic new control panel. After manually enabling visibility of every possible setting, I'm left with a tiny fraction of the settings I had under XP. Many of these will do nothing, some will break apps or the entire machine. nTune now works under Vista, although the one and only thing it does is monitor and log vid temps. I look at the screen shots AT posts and I wonder "Where the Hell did my settings and monitoring go?"

    Although you didn't get into PureVideo in this piece, I'd like to bring it up. Where do they get off charging me for a driver, for the hardware I already purchased? Unlike Creative, support was stated, and it's functionality was promised. "Now with PureVideo technology" and "Free PureVideo support in this driver release". I, and many others, interpreted that to mean the PureVideo software was included. WRONG. It remains $20 - $50. I tried the demo, and what does $20 - $50 get you? Crap. After much fiddling, I was able to match the PQ I had without PV. It works with only this player and that file type, which covers about zero of my PC vid watching. For DVD's, my Denon DVD player whips PV and AVIVO's asses, every goddamn time. It isn't worth "free", nevermind $50.

    Excuse me if I drifted into a rant, but it's frustrating. The disparity between the quality of hardware and software seems to be growing right across the board, no pun intended.
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    There's a common misconception between PureVideo the hardware, and PureVideo the software; this was a poor choice in naming by Nvidia. The entire suite of PureVideo hardware features can be access by any application using the DXVA interface and some knowledge of what features are available. The latest versions of PowerDVD and WinDVD have no problem here.

    The problem is that when Nvidia was shipping its earliest PureVideo hardware, the support from Cyberlink(PowerDVD) and Intervideo(WinDVD) wasn't where Nvidia wanted it, so they created their own MPEG2 decoder in order to showcase what the hardware could do. They eventually called this decoder the PureVideo Decoder, and this was their mistake. Thankfully this problem is slowly going away; I've heard there won't be any more updates to the PureVideo Decoder so it will ultimately be discontinued.
  • Wwhat - Saturday, July 07, 2007 - link

    Unfortunately MS forced people to get obscure updates you had to search for, that installed lots of DRM(-updates) for DXVA to work and have 'purevideo' enabled in many common utilities like WMP.
    And vista has its share of such pain too I understand due to it being thick with DRM, if anything is not 100% in line with MS's demands (or should I say sony/WB's?) it will simply not work right, often without much notification.
  • xsilver - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    i know ati tool works for both nvidia and ati but what about the rest?

    "and individual cards cost up to $900, what is another half-million spent on making a new utility to go with said GPUs?"

    this comment was particularly funny - i doubt these 3rd party tools were made with anywhere near that $$$
  • gigahertz20 - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    *Takes out bat and hits xsilver in head*

    Duh, he was talking about the companies you idiot. None of these 3rd party applications have a budget of anything!!!. They are completely free.
  • xsilver - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    yes exactly -
    you misunderstood what I wrote

    what it takes 3rd party makers a few thousand dollars (ok maybe more)
    it takes nvidia and ati half a million.

    thats funny no?
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    It's just a really simple estimate, don't think too hard on it. I'm figuring NV would need 3 full time people (2 programmers, 1 QA), and various fractions of management and engineering resources to get the job done. By the virtue of being a company, NV immediately encounters costs that a single guy working in his spare time doesn't have, but it also means that NV could build a better utility since they know the hardware inside and out(at the cost of making the whole thing slightly more expensive to develop). Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, July 06, 2007 - link

    They probably need more resources than that, especially just to get drivers signed off by Microsoft... Reply
  • gigahertz20 - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    Enjoyed this article, it's amazing to think these big companies cannot produce utilites for their very own video cards that can beat out 3rd-party applications. They create these complex million line code drivers, but yet that can't create an application that will let you overclock your video card and test it out like ATITool does? It would be nice to have one driver by each company (AMD and Nvidia) that let's you perform all tweaks 3rd party apps let you do and don't consume lots of hard drive space and memory....and it should have an easy to use intuitive iPhone like interface....

    The perfect AMD or Nvidia driver, small size, lots of features, consumes little system resources, intuitive interface = perfect

    That's why uTorrent is one of the most popular torrent clients, the programmers for these large corportations need to get with it!

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