SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 300 - Graphics Tuning

Graphics Tuning:

This podcast covers the why, when and pros/cons to tuning your graphics card for better video performance in 3D applications like SolidWorks.  Topics covered:

- What is graphics tuning (not overclocking or other low level hacks)

- How gamers started this tuning market

- How Apple running on Intel and Bootcamp caused this to be popular among SolidWorks Users

- Risks/rewards of tuning (Not for the tech faint of have been warned)

My tuning story

- Apple MacBook Pro 1st Gen (Core2 Duo) - ATI Raedon X1600 (Tuned to ATI FireGL V5200)

- Apple MacBook Pro 2nd Gen (Core2 Duo) - nVidia GeForce 8600M GT (Tuned to nVidia Quadro FX 570M)

- Apple MacBook Pro 4th Gen Unibody (Core i7) - nVidia GeForce 330M (Not tuned....yet)

Video card tuning and driver modification was born mainly from the gamer market by users trying to maximize their video performance out of the hardware they have.  For gamers the common trend is to tune a low end or professional series card like an nVidia Quadro or ATI FireGL into a high-end GeForce or Raedon respectively. The gaming industry has continued pushing the power of the GPU, bringing forth technologies like SLI (Scalable Link Interface). 

Since mid 2006 I have been running SolidWorks on a Mac, but with that came a lot of response from the community on how to tune the graphics card to enable SolidWorks' RealView.  Since all Apple laptops ship with either integrated graphics or gaming graphics, the "professional" capabilities are not unlocked, which removed the ability to enable RealView.

Using tools like Rivatuner, can give you the tools to unlock those professional capabilities, allowing your hardware to perform like it's Pro-Series counterpart.  Make No Mistake, tuning and other low-level modifications are not for everybody and can, if not performed correctly, damage your system.  Most of today's "gamer" series cards do perform very well without tuning but lack some of the real-time rendering in some systems.

Remember to check out the SolidWorks: Heard! Blog and to follow me on TwitterFacebook and THE HEaRD!