APG 2 GPU configuration advice  

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AlexandreJ
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APG 2 GPU configuration advice

by AlexandreJ » Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:37 pm

I will try to make a sticky note on what is a good configuration to run APG 2.

Hardware - Video Card

Our GPGPU system put these constraints on the hardware :
* OpenGL 2.0 or over
* Minimal number of texture unit : 2
* needed opengl feature : GL_ARB_texture_float, GL_ARB_texture_rectangle, GL_EXT_framebuffer_object
* 256 MB Memory

Vendors :
* NVidia or ATI
* we don't have much experience with other GPU that supports GPGPU ( intel, etc )

Tools :
* to check OpenGL on windows : http://www.realtech-vr.com/glview/download.html
* to check OpenGL on mac : http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/17087/opengl-extensions-viewer


Hardware - CPU

As we did a huge revamp on the CPU code too, these are the constraints on that :
* Intel or AMD
* NO G4 / G5 support

We are using SSE, SSE2, SSE3, etc if available, or standard code if not available.

Operating system

* Windows XP, XP64, Vista, Vista64 fully supported
* Mac OS 10.5 minimal ( 64 bits will be done soon )
* Linux 2.6 kernel 32bit or 64bits.

For linux, you'll need proprietary video card drivers to support GPGPU :
NVidia :
http://www.nvidia.com/object/linux_display_ia32_177.82.html
http://www.nvidia.com/object/linux_display_amd64_177.82.html
ATI :
http://ati.amd.com/support/drivers/linux/linux-radeon.html
http://ati.amd.com/support/drivers/linux64/linux64-radeon.html

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shadows44
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by shadows44 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:13 pm

Since this is a "GPU configuration advice" thread, a good idea would also to have information not only about the minimum requirements, but also about how graphic cards compete against one another. A good idea would be to create some benchmark scenes and to see how long it takes to run the detection process, as well as the rendering one. (by the way, is GPGPU used in both processes, or only during rendering ?)

This would be very useful for users like me who are planning to buy a new graphic card soon, and who would like to know if putting an extra 50 bucks in it will make a huge difference on not. ;)

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by marco-pano » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:20 pm

shadows44 wrote:..., a good idea would also to have information not only about the minimum requirements, but also about how graphic cards compete against one another

As APG is still in Alpha stage, I'm not not in favor of benchmark now, waiting final v2.0.
shadows44 wrote:...(by the way, is GPGPU used in both processes, or only during rendering ?)

If you read post here, you shall know what process are using GPGPU in Alpha, in final v2.0, in future version for smartblend.
shadows44 wrote:...to buy a new graphic card soon, and who would like to know if putting an extra 50 bucks in it will make a huge difference on not.

Always same situation: processors and other components are improving, memory is improving, graphic cards and hard disks also, OS too, softwares become more powerful when can use more advanced performances from previous components. So impossible to say, except "buy a new computer" when you fill that you will certainly get benefit for the money you spent. :)
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by shadows44 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:50 pm

As APG is still in Alpha stage, I'm not not in favor of benchmark now, waiting final v2.0.

I totally agree ; actually I was not talking about benchmarking now, but later on. It won't be relevant until pre-release or release stage.

If you read post here, you shall know what process are using GPGPU in Alpha, in final v2.0, in future version for smartblend.

Actually I of course noticed the real time editor (a huge improvement), but I was not sure about the rest. Thanks for the info about smartblend.

So impossible to say, except "buy a new computer" when you fill that you will certainly get benefit for the money you spent.

I don't really agree ; with benchmarks, we will be in the same situation as a gamer : you can find many tests showing how well graphic cards will perform under Crysis, Call of Duty and so on. If you see that x is 20% faster than y and costs only 10% more, you will know it might be worth it. On the other hand, sometimes very expensive graphic cards make no difference since they are not well used in a specific game. Then it won't be worth the price.

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by marco-pano » Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:27 am

Hi Shadows44,
I understood from a recent post from Alexandre that rewriting smatblend to use GPGPU will not be part of final APG v2.0 final.
As my old graphic card doesn't seem working well with the present APG v1.9.1 Alpha2, my Google search lead me to many "Gamer sites" and I found results are very different with the games tested and the website's procedure to test. Anyway, none of this websites will test using GPGPU with APP/APG or others picture softwares like DxO Optics, Photoshop... Even for APP only, it's quite an accurate work to define how to test systems and graphic cards.
Marco, Paris ;)
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by shadows44 » Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:42 am

Anyway, none of this websites will test using GPGPU with APP/APG or others picture softwares like DxO Optics, Photoshop...

Quite right... I was not able to find any real benchmark about photoshop cs4, which is quite odd since it features GPGPU.

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by mediavets » Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:33 pm

I have 'new' PC and wish to get an APP/APG compatible GPU video card for it - but don't wish to pay for more than will be useful.

I'm a novice when it comes to understand the pros and cons of different video cards.

Are 'gamer' type cards any better or worse than 'workstation' type cards.

For example I can get an MSI NV8800GTS card with 320MB RAM for £50 or an NV FX1700 card with 512MB RAM for £130 - both used not new.

Is the FX1700 worth the extra?

Does more video card RAM make much difference for APP/APG now or in the future?

Does a higher res. pano benefit from more video card RAM?

Is there any benefit from having more than one GPU card?

Does APP/APG make any use of more than one GPU? If so is ATI Crossfire better than NVidia's SLI?

I don't play games on the computer so have no interest in a cards gaming performance.
Last edited by mediavets on Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by mediavets » Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:39 pm

Well I have answered one question myself through some Googling.

My 'new' PC is a Dell T3400 and the X38 chipset apparently only supports Quadro SLi on higher end FX series graphics cards.
Last edited by mediavets on Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Andrew Stephens
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by jriley » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:49 am

AlexandreJ wrote:I will try to make a sticky note on what is a good configuration to run APG 2.

Hardware - Video Card

Our GPGPU system put these constraints on the hardware :
* OpenGL 2.0 or over
* Minimal number of texture unit : 2
* needed opengl feature : GL_ARB_texture_float, GL_ARB_texture_rectangle, GL_EXT_framebuffer_object
* 256 MB Memory

Vendors :
* NVidia or ATI
* we don't have much experience with other GPU that supports GPGPU ( intel, etc )

I know that my hardware doesn't literally meet the requirements. It meets all of them except for 256MB VRAM; my iMac has 128MB VRAM. Just for grins, I enabled the GPU processing in preferences. When I click on Check and Render, the rendered image is identical to the reference image. Then, I went ahead and detected a pano. In the editor, I was able to very smoothly transform the preview or individual images, just as in the demonstration videos. Only one thing: the images look "solarized". See what I mean at http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/559761/AutopanoGiga001.mov

All of this makes me wonder: how absolute is the 256MB VRAM requirement? Moving the preview around was silky-smooth. Of course, it would require figuring out why the images look solarized. Any possibility of lowering the bar on VRAM? (Note: the graphics card on an iMac can not be upgraded :( )

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by hankkarl » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:05 am

mediavets wrote:Is there any benefit from having more than one GPU card?

Does APP/APG make any use of more than one GPU? If so is ATI Crossfire better than NVidia's SLI?

I'm wondering about this also.

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by AlexandreJ » Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:22 am

mediavets wrote:Is there any benefit from having more than one GPU card?
Does APP/APG make any use of more than one GPU? If so is ATI Crossfire better than NVidia's SLI?

As sli allows you to have more GPU ram, it's like having double gpu ram. So we'll use that. SLI or crossfire also double the fillrate and power,
we'll use it also. Now, really, for APG, you don't need such power.

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by fma38 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:40 am

Is SLI/Crossfire transparent from a programming point of view?
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by AlexandreJ » Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:56 am

Yes ... quite.

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by [bo] » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:34 am

jriley wrote:All of this makes me wonder: how absolute is the 256MB VRAM requirement? Moving the preview around was silky-smooth.

That's an educated guess, but I think there's no actual limit set in Autopano - the "requirement" comes from the fact that it's nearly impossible to find a current generation video card with less RAM :D
Some of my panoramas, posted in the Autopano Pro flickr group.

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by bradtem » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:58 pm

I asked this in another thread but this looks like the right one. I have had zero luck in getting GPU mode to work on Linux, using the .180 nvidia drivers. I tried it on my main system with a 7600gt with 256mb ram. I also tried it with 7600gs cards in both 32 bit and 64 bit mode, and with older nvidia drivers.

No luck in any cases. Where it worked, it was not simply slow, but effectively unusable. Ie. you would attempt to drag the scroll bar to move around in the image, and it would delay 8 to 10 seconds before the image moved. Similar multi-second responses to things like changing the zoom level that you would think would be instant on any GPU.

Now the 7600 is not a super-fast GPU, and newer cards are 4 to 8 times faster. However, since I can only presume people would not be tolerating 1 second lags on moving the scrollbar on their high end GPUs, this is not a performance question.

So is it a memory question? Or something else?

Have other people found it to work on 7xxx series GPUs? What GPUs have people found good performance on under linux? Will getting a new card fix my problems?

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by HansKeesom » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:50 pm

Now that the 3.0 version has a preview mode which seem to base itselves on the GPU heavily, it seems like a good moment to bring new life to this thread.

So, any ideas what to do to get better performance in the editor. Goal is to save myself even more time sitting behind computer. Rendering is not that important as it runs while I am away from my computer.
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by jriley » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:59 pm

I am at the IVRPA conference in NYC and asked that very question to Alexandre yesterday. He said that the GPU requirements were no greater in APG3. It sounds like it will actually work better with lower-end GPUs.

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by HansKeesom » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:06 pm

Sorry but you seem to make a conclusion which is unjustified. Requirements are about the minimal you should have to make the system/software working in a decent way. That has not changed from APG2 to APG3 which is a good thing but also expected.

APG3 has new functionality in the editor which will work with the same GPU that are in the APG2 requirements but will/might greatly benifit from a good GPU.

APG3 does not require a faster GPU but problably has more reasons then APG2 in itself that make you wanne get one.
Regards, Hans Keesom
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by jriley » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:16 pm

HansKeesom wrote:Sorry but you seem to make a conclusion which is unjustified. Requirements are about the minimal you should have to make the system/software working in a decent way. That has not changed from APG2 to APG3 which is a good thing but also expected.

APG3 has new functionality in the editor which will work with the same GPU that are in the APG2 requirements but will/might greatly benifit from a good GPU.

APG3 does not require a faster GPU but problably has more reasons then APG2 in itself that make you wanne get one.

I haven't tried APG3. I am only sharing what Alexandre said yesterday. YMMV.

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by HansKeesom » Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:12 am

Rereading everything I think I was read a bit to fast.

What Alexandre said is correct if it means APG3 will run faster then APG2 on the same hardware.

But that is not what I tried to ask. I was wondering whether this is a good moment to start looking for a good GPU as it is used in a great way in the editor. Having a good GPU seems more of impact then before.
Regards, Hans Keesom
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by Michael Ezra » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:59 pm

I am builing a PC with SandyBridge-E i7-3930K CPU & 64GB RAM that can allow up to quad SLI or CrossFire
1. Any advice which GPU setup would APG most benefit from?
2. A pair of GTX 690?
3. Is there a preference between CrossFire or SLI?

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by AlexandreJ » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:41 am

We'll probably need to create a new page APG v3 GPU advise

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by Michael Ezra » Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:42 pm

That would be great! I purchased all components for new PC except the video card:)

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by Michael Ezra » Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:47 am

Alexandre, could you please share a quick advice - would APG 2.6 and 3 benefit from NVidia GTX 690, compared to single GPU cards?
I have the entire system assembled, just need to buy the graphics card:) Its a $1000 card, so just wanted to be sure that it could be utilized.

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by AlexandreJ » Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:48 pm

I don't really know Michael. We are using standard Open GL v2, v3 calls as well as pixel shaders ( v1.4 ). Normally these calls are accelerated by using SLI for example ( or dual gpu graphic card ).
Then it is more about OS : on windows, I prefer nvidia. On mac, I'm stucked with what's inside. On Linux, I prefer ATI. This is the way I decide. Then having a lot of GPU is better but not really needed. One key aspect is maximum texture size you can download on the GPU, but nowadays, all gpu are 8K at least.

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