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JoeCoder

[Solved] Penetration of SM 2.0, 3, and 4

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JoeCoder    122
Hello. We're writing non-game Windows/Mac applications that use shaders to accelerate image processing, and are trying to find a minimum shader model version to target (otherwise we'll fall back to much slower cpu processing). I'm aware of steam's hardware survey and I can partially extrapolate this information by cross-referencing "Video Card Description" field against wikipedia's entries for what cards support each shader model version, but this survery is highly gamer-centric and we need something less biased. Ideally, we need something like: 20% SM 2.0 (highest version supported) 50% SM 3.0 30% SM 4.0 Thanks in advance. [Edited by - JoeCoder on March 18, 2010 4:50:26 PM]

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Dragon88    246
Uh, what? You think Steam's survey is too gamer-centric, so you come to gamedev.net to ask a much smaller audience of game developers?

If you're really concerned about it have different versions of your shaders that target different versions and pick at runtime which to use.

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FBMachine    309
User data is only useful if it has high overlap with your target audience.Who is your target audience? "Image processing" is fairly vague. That could mean anything from high end color grading, to red eye removal in a bundled app for a cheap camera, etc.
If not gamers, who? Professionals? Grandmothers? Professional grandmothers?

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JoeCoder    122
Thanks GregS, the Unity hardware survey was exactly what I was looking for. Marked as solved.

Dragon88, I ask on GameDev because it's the best place to ask general graphics programming questions. Do you know a better place to post such questions?

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ambershee    532
Quote:
Original post by gregs
Have a look at Unity's web player hardware survey. It's far less gamer-centric as it's users tend to be casual players. The latest one shows:

SM4 or above: 28.8%
SM3: 22.9%
SM2: 30.2%
Less than SM2: 18.3%


I find it quite surprising that SM2 hardware is still in that widespread use - I mean, that's GeForce 5s and equivalents, which have been out of production for quite some time. Even most shitty Intel onboards are SM3 capable, save those used on netbooks.

However, I may call a little foul on that, as since this is their web player, the chance that mobile devices are coming into play are fairly high, and the OP wouldn't necessarily be targeting those (often non-windows) platforms.

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Saruman    4339
Quote:
Original post by ambershee
However, I may call a little foul on that, as since this is their web player, the chance that mobile devices are coming into play are fairly high, and the OP wouldn't necessarily be targeting those (often non-windows) platforms.

The Unity hardware survey is for PC/Mac only there are no mobile devices included. Remember that this represents your average user and not a hardcore gamer.

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ambershee    532
The site doesn't say that. It says "all users that installed the web player". That could be any device capable of installing and running the software. That most likely means Windows and Mac based systems, since those are the operating systems it's offered for, but it doesn't stop people running it on other systems.

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snake5    1587
I think that you won't need SM4 for image processing. It doesn't have any new useful features for that.
Quote:
I find it quite surprising that SM2 hardware is still in that widespread use

I don't - SM2 is a very powerful shader model. Those AAA game developers have tried to "remove" it from gamers' minds many times but we all see that almost everything is possible with SM2 - look at SC:Chaos Theory, for example. Even deferred shading runs fine on it!

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ambershee    532
I don't think anyone is arguing against the fact that you can achieve most of what you'll want to with SM2, but it is still a little surprising that the hardware is still that widespread - like I said, even most Intel onboards support SM3. I'd say it's fairly difficult to buy hardware that doesn't these days.

That said, there are a fair few games that rely on falling back to weaker SM2 shaders in the event that SM3 hardware is not available. Anything using Unreal 3 is a classic example of that. For those games to run properly, SM3 hardware is pretty much a requirement, but obviously there a lot more 'hardcore' than what the average gamer needs (or the average gamer is running those games on a console).

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bubu LV    1436
Quote:
Original post by snake5
I think that you won't need SM4 for image processing. It doesn't have any new useful features for that.

It depends what you process on images.
For example - 32bit per channel integer formats and operations on it are available on SM4. Float precision on SM3 and lower will not be able process those, except if you manually implement a operations on multiple precision numbers.
Also a lot of nice API features makes developer life easier - stream-out stage, texture arrays, dynamic branching (that is also in SM3), compute shader (CS4)!

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