Ultimate ArKaos PC - 1280x1024 at 60fps with 8+ layers?

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Ultimate ArKaos PC - 1280x1024 at 60fps with 8+ layers?

Postby SoundPilot » Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:32 am

Speccing out what seems like an ideal system to run ArKaos in HD:

- Shuttle SN25P (Nvidia Nforce4 Ultra PCI-E, 1Ghz bus)
- Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (might try overclocking to 4200+)
- 2GB dual-channel Kingston RAM
- 3 Barracuda 7200.8 (300GB 8Mb 7200rpm SATA, RAID 5)
- Sapphire Radeon X800GTO2 (256M GDDR3 PCIE)
- Windows XP Home - stripped with litepc

Questions:
- Will ArKaos benefit from a dual-core CPU? (Any 64bit plans?)
- Will ArKaos HW use ATI's Radeon X800GTO2 acceleration?
- Any better display card options you know of?
- Think 1280x1024 at 60fps with 8+ layers is a reasonable goal?

Pushing the envelope for a possible live planetarium spacemusic gig next summer. No brownie points for visible pixels, or lost framerate!

Thoughts?

q;^'/
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Postby matthieu » Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:03 pm

- Think 1280x1024 at 60fps with 8+ layers is a reasonable goal?


With HW version 1280x1024 is not a problem with a good graphic card. The thing is decompressing movies in high resolution like 1024x768 is very CPU consuming and there is no solution to make it faster, the CPU has to decompress the movies files (QuickTime or DirectShow).
At Plasa, I was demonstrating 6 video layers 720x576 in PhotoJPEG and I had no framerate problems. With one Intel 3.4GHz processor (hyperthreading makes almost like 2 processors). The computer was not as good as yours.

The output resolution is not a problem, the movie resolutions could be when playing lots at the same time. Hard drive bandwidth will not be a problem with your config !

- Will ArKaos benefit from a dual-core CPU? (Any 64bit plans?)


ArKaos will take advantage of 2 processors as movie decompression will be done in the second processor.
ArKaos should naturally take advantage of 64 bits possibilities for all about memory copy etc. This should make the performances higher. Also all high CPU consuming operations are done in SSE2, 128 bits instructions, so this won't be faster, but the memory access should be faster.

- Will ArKaos HW use ATI's Radeon X800GTO2 acceleration?
- Any better display card options you know of?


I advice a good nVidia, it's better. But any ATI later than Radeon 9550 will be compatible with HW version. The newer it is, the better the performances will be.
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Postby SoundPilot » Fri Oct 28, 2005 12:09 pm

> The output resolution is not a problem, the movie resolutions could be when playing lots at the same time

Not likely to be using many hi-res video clips. Mostly still Hubble photos manipulated with layers of effects to create dynamic abstract patterns. (See http://www.petert.net/Syn8 for some live experiments - email me if you'd like a DVD - I've got 60+ minutes of very nice longform psychedelia.)

> The thing is decompressing movies in high resolution like 1024x768 is very CPU consuming and there is no solution to make it faster

Most video clips I'd use would be integrated into the effects layers, not fullscreen, so I can use NTSC 720x486 footage such as ArtBeats (http://www.artbeats.com). Might try out some of Spot's new Hi-Def electric sheep, though (http://electricsheep.org/).

>I advice a good nVidia, it's better.

What makes nVidia better? I'm not really up on the latest display tech.

q;^'/
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Postby SoundPilot » Sat Oct 29, 2005 6:54 am

> What makes nVidia better? I'm not really up on the latest display tech.

Also, is there a specific Nvidia video chipset or a card manufacturer that you recommend?

This is the part of the system design I am least confident about deciding on yet.

Thanks!

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Postby matthieu » Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:51 am

> What makes nVidia better? I'm not really up on the latest display tech.

A few technical aspects, like managing rectangle textures. Dual monitor seems also better on nVidia. On a few ATI, making 3D rendering on the second monitor is slower that on primary monitor.

> is there a specific Nvidia video chipset or a card manufacturer that you recommend?

No. If you don't use many effects, there is no need for the best one. If you want to use lots of effects in high resolutions, get a good one, new accelerated effects should be added in the next version.
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Postby SoundPilot » Mon Oct 31, 2005 9:44 pm

Thanks for the input, Matthieu!

I would like to build up 10 or more layers so I can fade effects in and out in the middle of the stack for very smooth long-form transitions. At 1280x1024. So I guess it's time to spring for the fastest hardware I can.

Here's my current working spec on the system:

> Shuttle SN25P Nforce4 Ultra
> Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Toledo 2x1Mb cache
> 2Gb Kingston DDR400 RAM PC3200
> 3 Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 300GB SATA150 RAID5
> Geforce 7800GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16

I'm doing some final research on different video card manufacturer's Hi-def output options, and also make sure the heatsink fits in the Shuttle. I'll keep you posted!

q;^'/
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Postby SoundPilot » Mon Oct 31, 2005 9:51 pm

Say, since you're tearing into your rendering engine anyway, any plans to support Nvidia's SLI architecture?

If you do, I'd consider the Shuttle SN26P SLI system instead, so I could add a second Geforce 7800.

Hey, gamers shouldn't have ALL the fun, eh?

Or spend all the money, for that matter...

q;^'/
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Postby matthieu » Wed Nov 02, 2005 11:00 am

any plans to support Nvidia's SLI architecture?


It will improve performances naturally, as the graphic processing will be faster.
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Postby SoundPilot » Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:13 pm

Okay, I got the system! Ordered all the components on Tuesday night from Newegg, it all arrived Friday, built it Friday night and been burning it in all weekend, loading my software and hardware. ArKaos runs #@&%ing awesome! 12 layers of effects at 1024x768, hardly even breaks a sweat, the second CPU core is barely idling unless I play several compressed clips. I can run a CPU torture program in parallel and Arkaos doesn't even seem to notice!

Now for the bad news - there's been major trouble getting ArKaos to work right with the Nvidia 7800GT dual-display system. It's working, but there are a few bad things happening that I can work around, and it's really clumsy.

I've got another 20 day trial since I installed on the new machine, but I'll go ahead and get my reg key so I can post a trouble ticket. Hopefully there's something I'm missing...

In the meantime, here's what's happening:

1) If I use Nvidia "DualView" with different sizes on the primary display and the "TV out", overlay won't work. Non-overlay mode works, but the TV out flickers when I try and do any multitasking outside of ArKaos, such as drag visuals from Windows, etc. (My Toshiba Satellite with Nvidia GeForce4 460Go doesn't do that, and I got used to working this way.)

2) If I use "Span" mode (both monitors the same size, joined as one wide display), ArKaos opens up across both monitors, which stretches the UI all out of shape, and I can't scale it back down! Overlay works in fullscreen, but all the UI panels open up halfway off the primary screen (in the middle of the wide display) which is useless since I can't drag them back. Ugh.

3) The "Clone" mode with Overlay on seems to be the most usable combination. But then of course the UI appears on the TV out when the overlay is not in fullscreen mode. I can use the downstream mixer to switch to another source, but that's risky in a live situation. On my Toshiba I can leave the second monitor empty with a black desktop, so if anything happens it simply goes black.

4) Just as dangerous - the video out glitches horribly going in or out of overlay mode, and also when resizing the overlay, but that may be a problem with the card's overlay hardware design. This flickers for over a second, with very bad sync that the switcher's TBC can't resolve. (The Toshiba glitches, but only once and very briefly.)

5) Finally, the overlay is the wrong aspect, which leaves small black bands at the top and bottom of the video output. I thought it was a display card problem at first, and spent a couple hours messing with Nvidia's overscan settings (even downloading a very nice Nvidia tweak tool http://www.tvtool.info) but no luck. Eventually I noticed that this was only happening in overlay mode, so on a whim I tried resizing the little overlay window on the primary monitor - and yes, I can change its aspect ratio freely! This effects the aspect on the full-screen overlay, so I can carefully scale it to exactly 4x3 to get rid of the bands. But that's really finicky - you only get one chance and the window handles go away.

This all feels pretty buggy to me. I'm preparing my first ArKaos performance for December, and I sure don't want to be wanking with the display on stage. I know how hard it is to support all these thousands of cards, but I need help on this one.

Do you have a known good display card that you can recommend? I've got 15 days to return this card if I can't solve this. But I'm hoping that there's a fix - this is supposed to be the hottest Nvidia card going. Or maybe the new ArKaos HW version solves these problems by working within OpenGL or something? But that may not be in time for me...

Anyway, everything else is going great! Working on some new Hubble images and multi-layer presets with expression. I'll try to post some new videos soon at http://www.petert.net/Syn8

Thanks for your patience!

q;^'/






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    Postby Freddywaters » Mon Nov 07, 2005 5:19 pm

    Hey Soundpilot,

    if I read your explainations correct, you have 1 display on the DVI (VGA) port and 1 on the TV out port.
    I also just ordered a new machine (Dell Dimension Extreme 9150 / 3,2 Ghz Dual channel / 4 GB ram / 2 x 160 gb disk) with a Nvidia 7800 GTX card, but I understood you can use a special cable to connect 2 displays to the DVI (VGA) connector ... maybe this can help
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    Postby matthieu » Mon Nov 07, 2005 8:09 pm

    1) If I use Nvidia "DualView" with different sizes on the primary display and the "TV out", overlay won't work. Non-overlay mode works, but the TV out flickers when I try and do any multitasking outside of ArKaos, such as drag visuals from Windows, etc. (My Toshiba Satellite with Nvidia GeForce4 460Go doesn't do that, and I got used to working this way.)


    We fixed the overlay bug a few weeks ago. It seems to come from nVidia drivers. It happened on a Geforce FX 6800 PCIX but not on the same card but non PCIX. It will be fixed in the next build... But I could send you a beta if you send a support request to me (after LDI, in 10 days)

    2) If I use "Span" mode (both monitors the same size, joined as one wide display), ArKaos opens up across both monitors, which stretches the UI all out of shape, and I can't scale it back down! Overlay works in fullscreen, but all the UI panels open up halfway off the primary screen (in the middle of the wide display) which is useless since I can't drag them back. Ugh.


    The way to avoid it is: close the KOS files, reduce ArKaos UI and open your KOS file.

    3) The "Clone" mode with Overlay on seems to be the most usable combination. But then of course the UI appears on the TV out when the overlay is not in fullscreen mode. I can use the downstream mixer to switch to another source, but that's risky in a live situation. On my Toshiba I can leave the second monitor empty with a black desktop, so if anything happens it simply goes black.


    You shouldn't use Clone mode or Span mode, but just dual view.
    I send you a mail with more info. Check it and you'll have everything you need

    4) Just as dangerous - the video out glitches horribly going in or out of overlay mode, and also when resizing the overlay, but that may be a problem with the card's overlay hardware design. This flickers for over a second, with very bad sync that the switcher's TBC can't resolve. (The Toshiba glitches, but only once and very briefly.)


    Have you installed latest driver version ? I can't help you on this point but I'm curious to see exactly what happens.

    5) Finally, the overlay is the wrong aspect, which leaves small black bands at the top and bottom of the video output.


    Strange thing too...

    We have not tested the HW on GeForce 7800 at the moment. But if the drivers have no problem, everything should work fine.

    Check my message. If you still have problems, send a mail to support@arkaos.net, I won't be available for 10 days.

    Cheers
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    Postby jbrownrbe » Sun Jan 22, 2006 7:42 am

    You shouldn't use Clone mode or Span mode, but just dual view.
    I send you a mail with more info. Check it and you'll have everything you need


    So Matthieu, are you saying that Arkaos can output a single image across 2 monitors in dual view mode?

    I have been trying to figure this out over the last couple of days using an XFX nVidia 6600 GT and 3.5 DMX.

    I would ultimately like to be able to send a single image across 2 projectors for an upcoming project.

    Thanks.
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    Postby Freddywaters » Mon Jan 23, 2006 10:15 am

    jbrownrbe wrote:
    I would ultimately like to be able to send a single image across 2 projectors for an upcoming project.

    Thanks.


    For this, I used an Omniview Expandview 4-port video splitter. Connect this to the second VGA-output.
    Advantage of this splitter is that, if you want, you can turn on/off each screen manually

    http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProductP ... _Id=187339
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    Postby matthieu » Mon Jan 23, 2006 11:02 am

    jbrownrbe wrote:So Matthieu, are you saying that Arkaos can output a single image across 2 monitors in dual view mode?

    I have been trying to figure this out over the last couple of days using an XFX nVidia 6600 GT and 3.5 DMX.

    I would ultimately like to be able to send a single image across 2 projectors for an upcoming project.
    Thanks.


    At the moment you cannot. You can have a look on what happens this way:
    - activate the horizontal span (in nVidia control panel)
    - in ArKaos monitors setup, select first monitor, and check the overlay option
    - start fullscreen, you have the display over the two monitors, but with a menu bar.

    We planned to fix it working in a future release, as well as adding new screen resolutions for this setup.
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