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GPU & CPU hardware books?


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#1 phantomus   Members   -  Reputation: 599

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 10:06 PM

Not sure if this fits in this forum, but here goes: I'm preparing a course for a game academy in the Netherlands on CPU, GPU and overall system hardware. I searched amazon for books on the topic, and as you can image, there's plenty, but it's not exactly game-oriented. Perhaps I should just use one of the more generic books, but perhaps there's something better. So, question: Does anyone know of any good books that describe computer systems, CPU's and GPU's from a game developers viewpoint? Topics that I have in mind are: - Data bus - Cache - RAM/VRAM - Latencies Etc. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! - Jacco.

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#2 CTar   Members   -  Reputation: 1134

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 06:29 AM

What exactly do you mean when you say game-oriented books? What topics would you want it to cover that a generic book doesn't cover? Both the CPU and GPU works the same no matter what kind of application you are running and I can't think of anything only important with respect to games.

#3 mrbastard   Members   -  Reputation: 1573

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 04:49 AM

Realtime Rendering has a good section on gpu hardware.

[Edited by - mrbastard on March 27, 2007 12:49:08 PM]

#4 Ravyne   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 7381

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 05:00 AM

The information is not always the most up-to-date, since newer consoles tend to be lacking in documentation, but there's a wealth of technical information available in the homebrew scenes. Its not difficult to find detailed descriptions of older console GPUs, such as a the NES, SNES, Master System and Genesis. The Dreamcast, PS2, and PSP are fairly well documented as well. I also recall reading, at one point, a very detailed document on the N64 GPU from ArtX that was presented at the Fall Microprocessor Forum in ~1996. I don't recall the site URL off the top of my head, but there was a TON of info on all kinds of modern (for the time) CPUs and GPUs.

Combined with the in-depth information you can read in more theory-based books, that should give you a really solid understanding.

I wish I could find that series of docs from the Micro-processor forum, but its escaping both google and myself.

However, on the CPU side, IBM is very good about publishing articles and documentation on their CPUs and it just so happens that they produce 4 CPUs currently in use by game consoles, the Xbox360's Xenon, the PS3s Cell, and the Gamecube and Wii's G3-derived Gekko/Broadway CPUs.

Here are some relevant links:
XBox 360 CPU
PS3 Cell Processor -- Element Interconnect Bus
PS3 Cell Processor -- Programming the Cell


You can even read about the PPC970 (aka G5) processor here, to compare and contrast against the PPC cores in the Xbox 360 and PS3. IBM's online library can be found here.

[Edited by - ravyne2001 on March 26, 2007 1:00:57 PM]

#5 phantomus   Members   -  Reputation: 599

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 09:02 PM

Thanks for the links and suggestions!

CTar: I was hoping for a book that would put some emphasis on the application of CPUs / GPUs / overall systems in games. Games put a rather specific strain on hardware, and besides that, there's something else, and I'm not sure how to put that, so let's illustrate:

Right now, our course is run by industry 'veterans' (i.e., 8+ years of industry experience). These guys are respected by the students, as they have proven themselves. You can also see this in the lectures: Examples are real-life examples that matter to these students. We also have a math course. The book that we use is aimed at games, so it's full of vectors, and these vectors are frequently applied to simple physics, rendering, bullet paths etc. The math teacher on the other hand is not a game developer, and he doesn't feel accepted at all.

What I am trying to say is: I rather have a book written by a game developer, because it's written with the future world of these students in mind.

Anyway, the stuff by IBM is aimed at games as well I suppose, so that should work. The realtime rendering book I ordered yesterday, I'll check that as well. I hope to be able to use a book this time, too much stuff is tought via websites already. :) (try to find a good book on optimization for C++ that includes sse and multithreading for example).




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