i’m building a new PC specifically for oF projects. my work typically uses realtime video inputs, playback of stored video, and 2d drawing (e.g. dynamically turning the video into rendered rectangles or other shapes). i also want to use multiple monitors.
i had been planning on just getting a decent 3d card, like an amd hd 5770, but then i read about their mediocre 2d performance. i’m guessing that oF uses 2d routines, but maybe it uses 3d even for the 2d tasks?
anyway, any insight would be appreciated, including card suggestions.
Just my favorite cards for intensive computer graphics are NVIDIA GeForce GTX, but are not the more cheaper.
For simple tasks, oF runs great on just about any recent gfx card, including intel integrated graphics. However, if you want to do anything graphically taxing, or use any of the advanced OpenGL 2.0+ features like programmable shaders with GLSL, FBOs, etc, you’ll want a discrete card from AMD or Nvidia. The latest Intel HD 3000 graphics found in SandyBridge based chips I have heard support up to OpenGL 3.0, but I’ve also heard mixed results and buggy output from more advanced features, so YMMV.
As far as 2D performance goes, oF runs in OpenGL in 3D mode at all times. Someone may correct me but I’m 99% sure this is the case. At the moment, AMD and Nvidia are pretty much neck and neck from the performance crown, so its actually a great time to buy a new gfx card as competition breeds savings for you and me. Take a look at benchmarks for different price points and find the best value. The-Tech-Report has some great price/performance charts that can help with this decision. I can also give you some anecdotal evidence that suggests that any mid to high range current or previous gen gfx card will probably be fine, unless you really plan on pushing it.
I develop oF primarily on my laptop with a core 2 duo and intel GMA 950 graphics, also on an intel Atom powered desktop with ION graphics (essentially a Geforce 9400m), and an AMD Athlon II X4 desktop with AMD Radeon HD 5650 graphics.
I frequently run up against the limits of what the intel GMA can handle using plain ol’ OpenGL 1.x. Drawing large textured polygons really hurts the performance, but I can get away a lot of simple line and solid untextured polygons.
The ION, or 9400m, is the same card used in previous gen macbooks and low end macbook pros. It can hande much much more than the intel graphics, and can even handle GLSL shader work pretty admirably. It’s texture fill rate is orders of magnitude better than older intel graphics.
The AMD Radeon 5650 in my workstation is anywhere from 2-5 times faster than the ION. It really shines in shader performance, and I’ve yet to hit the limits of what it can do with simpler 3d stuff. I have pushed it to the limit with a GLSL raytracer on full quality, but it was more than adequate for the job and I’ve used it as an installation machine several times.
Are you going to use Windows or are you planning on doing a Hackintosh (original mac it’s only Radeon now) ? For windows, and if budget is not a problem, choose nVidia series 400 or 500. AMD has better graphic cards today IMHO. Pick one from Radeon HD 6xxx series. 5xxx models are still good, but just get a new card if you can afford. For a Hackintosh (I have one running SL - I was using Lion but I had to downgrade due to poor XCode performance and horrible code complet features), AMD works out of the box with Lion; they work with SL too but nVidia are the best with SL. Good luck