From: John Stone (
Date: Tue Jan 25 2005 - 12:54:35 CST

  The newest version of VMD includes support for OpenGL programmable shading,
and can make heavy use of 3-D texturing. These two features are probably
the main determining factors that will guide VMD users' purchasing decisions
in the next year. Cards with 128MB of video memory or less won't be capable
of displaying large potential maps using the VolumeSlice rep, or with the
new "volume" coloring method, I'd go for a 256MB card if you have any
interest in working with volumetric data sets in VMD. VMD 1.8.3 supports
OpenGL programmable shading (GLSL), which can give VERY nice looking images
that would normally be achieved only with external ray tracing packages,
but at some performance cost. If you're interested in making extensive
use of the new GLSL rendering mode, then you'd be well advised to buy one
of the high-end video boards that has the maximum number of parallel fragment
shading pipelines. Among the NVidia GeForce cards, I'm a fan of the
GeForce 6800GT cards with 256MB of video ram, that's the price/performance
sweet spot if 3-D texturing and GLSL are important to you. If you don't
plan to do any 3-D texturing or GLSL rendering, then you can save quite
a bit of cash and go with a lesser card with few ill effects. The only
thing I'm waiting on from NVidia are newer Linux drivers that have several
key bugs fixed, which affect GLSL rendering, and x86_64 platform stability,
other than that they've been great so far.

  John Stone

On Tue, Jan 25, 2005 at 10:23:18AM +0100, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> I'm currently shopping for a new nVidia card, to be mostly used under x86_64
> Linux. Traditionally, nVidia has much better support and performance here
> (ATI has only very recently released drivers supporting x86_64 and
> However, I'm also interested in the optimal architecture, and the memory
> size. Would I profit from an nVidia 6600GT? 256 MBytes memory? I intend to run
> dual-head, but no stereo.
> Please advise.
> --
> Eugen* Leitl leitl
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