00 |  ng_zz  Blopvertz
Video Cards for Gamers

01 | Anand Tech -
GeForce FX (NV30)

02 | Anand Tech -
GeForce FX

03 | Toms Hardware -
GeForce FX

04 | Anand Tech -
ATI Radeon 9700 (R300)

05 | Anand Tech -
ATI Radeon 9800 (R350)

06 | Toms Hardware -
ATI Radeon 9800 (R350)

07 | MURC -
Matrox Parhelia-512

08 | Hard Ware Zone -
Matrox Parhelia-512

09 | GameSpot -
Matrox Parhelia-512

10 | nV News -
Matrox Parhelia-512

11 | Beyond 3D -
Matrox Parhelia-512

12 | GameSpot -
GeForce 4

13 | Anand Tech -
nVidia GeForce 4

14 | Anand Tech -
nVidia Quadro 4

15 | Toms Hardware
GeForce 4

16 | Technoyard -
GeForce4 MX440

Info / Misc

17 | Toms Hardware
nVidia GeForce 3
Technical Squiz

18 | Toms Hardware
CDRW - Back-Up Copy
Mysteries Revealed

19 | Toms Hardware
DVD - Six Burner Tests
Seven Times The Capacity

20 | Tweek 3D's -
Video Dictionary

21 | Downloads -
File Swap / Share

22 | Linux -
Version Line Up

23 | Cheaters Suck -
Some Thoughts Shared


16 | Demo Zip's
Complete Goof Off

24 | Wolfenstein
Single player

25 | Wolfenstein
Multi Player

26 | Serious Sam 2
Second Encounter

Tweek-3D Dictionary

Introduction - This 3D dictionary was created to define any 3D term you've been pondering. As you may have noticed, technical terms in any article written here at Tweak3D is linked directly to the corresponding term in this dictionary. Every definition is written in common English, some even having similes, metaphors, and simple analogies. So don't hesitate thinking you won't even understand this all, read on! Did I mention how big this mofo is?
Written by:
David "Spunk" Grampa

A3D (Aureal3D) - Automatic Texture Compression

A3D (Aureal3D) - an API optimized to create 3D positional sound and Doppler Effecting using only two speakers unlike other forms of 3D sound applicable hardware/software that use four or more. Interestingly enough, it was made using algorithms initially developed by NASA, for what reason-- I have no clue.. What this means? - basically it is a program type-deal that allows you to hear sound in games, programs, etc, in 3D not only using a "which side is it coming from" (3D positional sound) technique, but also a "how far away is it technique" (Doppler Effecting). For example: when you are close to a sound in a 3D game the pitch is higher, and when you are farther away, the pitch is lower. In real life this is caused by the spreading out of sound waves over a certain distance. The only difference to the almost industry standard 3D sound is the Doppler Effecting.

AC-3 - technical term for Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. This is an algorithm the encodes sound into five separate channels and sends each to a different speaker. What this means? - it's the technology behind what makes that big screen television with that swank sound system sound so cool when you watch movies enabled for it. You know-- the bus in Speed sounds like it comes from behind when really the sound of the bus sound is just moving from the speakers behind you to the speakers in front of you. A more primitive, Mr. Handyman type way of simulating 3D sound, as opposed to the Mr. Ingenious Aureal3D technological way, which offers the same effect for far less in terms of hardware cost. Don't like the Home Theater analogy thing, than think of the sound system used at ye' local theater down at town square. Know how you wet yourself from the sound when it says Dolby Surround? Well that's some AC-3 for ya'.

Accelerated Graphics Port (also AGP) - an expansion bus (a nice little slot on the motherboard which allows for expansion of a PC or customization of it when first being built) that was specifically developed by Intel to home a video card. Most newly released video cards are available in both an AGP or PCI form. So what is the difference between AGP and PCI? Sheer speed, AGP can send the CPU information at up to four times faster (266MHz, MHz stands for megahertz, just a term used to express how fast information is processed and sent in the computer world) than the formal PCI standard expansion bus for video cards. Although most present-day video cards are only able to process and send information in an equivalent of 2x (133MHz) realistically, the extra 4x (266MHz) makes the AGP bus (slot) the new bad boy on the block for the future. Layman's terms: most video accelerators and video cards come in two different flavors, AGP and PCI. AGP is faster than PCI, giving an AGP board or video accelerator, a boost in terms of speed and performance over its PCI precedent. Be careful though, does your computer have an AGP slot? Be sure to check and make sure using information provided by your computer manufacturer before you go out and blow some money on an AGP card when you have nowhere to plug it in.

Accelerator - a card or board that is an extension of a computer. Basically, a piece of hardware that processes specific information separately, freeing up how much information the CPU must process. Examples of information that can be processed separately include video, sound, and DVD decoding. Although most of the information processed by an accelerator must still take a visit to the CPU, substantial increase in speed, quality, and performance of specific information is present with an accelerator. Say your friend had to do a ton of work before he was able to party with you one night, by helping him out you would serve as an accelerator to him, the CPU. Get it? The two most popular types of accelerators are video and sound accelerators, most oftenly referred to as a video card and sound card. On an interesting note, almost every PC today has a video accelerator, whether it be 2D, 3D, or 2D and 3D. Without one, you wouldn't see anything on your monitor right now.

Algorithm - in short, a way of doing something. Used mostly in algebra as formulas to figure out specific things. Algorithms may also include a pre-determined path in which variables are not present and don't need a definition. For example, the algorithm to find the hypotenuse of a right triangle is (a*a) + (b*b) = (c*c) So the square root of a squared plus b squared equals the length squared of the longest side of the triangle, the hypotenuse. By the way, that equation is the Pythagorean Theorem.

Algorithmic Procedure Texturing - a method of rendering imagery with virtually unlimited detail. Simple enough, but for those that are already lost it is basically an algebraic formula that allows an image or picture you see on screen to have an almost unlimited detail level. In fact, it is only limited to hardware capabilities. To understand it more, look up Algorithm. Procedure is self explanatory, and texturing is basically the making of an image with numerous properties.

Alpha-Blending - The ability to give an image, or pixel at the smallest level, a attribute that will determine whether the image will appear solid (opaque), invisible (transparent), or semi-transparent. When used in conjunction with polygons, this method can be used to create glass, water,or anything else that is virtually 'see-through'. Mainly, just a really cool effect that make games more realistic.

Anisotrophic Filtering - Alright so you got texturing and the bit, and what all that does for you. But what doesn't it? Well basically what anisotrophic filtering does. Other texture filtering techniques cause an object to become too smooth or blurred which is sometimes unpleasing to the eye. Anisotrophic filtering, however, filters (or blends) a certain texture three dimensionally. Instead of just averaging a central pixel's color and those pixels around it forming a square, anisotrophy averages a pixel and the pixels around it forming the original shape, which may not necessarily be a square, yet a random polygon. All this improvement over trilinear filtering comes at a pretty hefty price though, that being the entire process is very slow. On a more interesting, and less technical note, the Riva TNT was one of the first 3D accelerators to be able to do this.

Anti-aliasing - More of a 3D software technique, anti-aliasing smoothes the edges of diagonal lines across your screen. Basically, when you are looking at a wall in a Quake II, the diagonal lines making it up will look straight (up and down), while the horizontal lines will mimic the depth and direction of the wall or object by curving which resembles steps. In 3D hardware, anti-aliasing is replaced or binded with such techniques as bilinear and trilinear filtering which smoothes all objects in its own way, explained in their definitions...

API - Stands for Application Programming Interface, or just Application Interface. It is basically just a common piece of coding in an Operating System that programmers can link to instead of rewriting the entire bit of code. What does this have to do with 3D? A lot more than you would think. Say a game was written with its own unique code for displaying 3D, this would make the game virtually incompatible with most 3D accelerators because the code was not written to tell that specific 3D hardware what to do. So the gaming world and the 3D hardware world came up with a solution, lets make an API everyone understands! This way a 3D accelerator can be written to run with an API that was written to run with a game, that was also written to run with that API. And also vice versa. In layman's terms, almost all games and 3D accelerators have a common language. Some very popular 3D API's include OpenGL, Direct3D, and Glide3D. Good games and 3D hardware are made to run a vast many API's making them compatible with a vast many of eachother. Come on, who would buy a 3D accelerator that didn't work with any game, and who would buy a game that didn't work with your 3D accelerator? (an API is similar to giving someone the finger, saying #$%@ off in Croatian to a New York cab driver wouldn't do much good, but everyone understand what the finger means =)

API Extension - First see application programming interface, second an API extension is more of a personalized or 'added to' existing API making it more or less optimized for the specific hardware/software that it was written for. Two that come to mind is Creative Labs' EAX which works in conjunction with Microsoft's DirectSound3D, and 3Dfx's optimized 3Dfx OpenGL- an application extension of the plain old OpenGL API.

Aspect Ratio - The width to height ratio of a display area or image. This is found by taking an images height, and dividing it by its width and then simplifying it. The common screen resolution of 800x600 simplifies down to an aspect ratio of 4:3 whereas each width/height is divisible by 200.

Artifact - The result of sucky texture compression technology. When you see a compressed texture where parts of it seem 'sponged' on, this is considered an artifact of the image. In 2D and 3D images, artifacts are found where two very different colors meet.

Auto Texture Compression - This is basically a graphics accelerator's ability to automatically compress a texture's file size, making graphics display faster without much loss in image quality. You would be able to eat more jelly beans at once if each were smaller, right?

Bilinear Filtering - Bump Maps

Bilinear Filtering - this is a feature implemented in most 3D accelerators that allows your computer to render graphics less pixelated or blocky-looking.This feature is widely used to smooth out textures and make them more pleasing to the eye. Basically the colors of four pixels (or texels if you 'bundle of sticks' want to get technical) are taken and averaged to make one nice, solid, and smooth pixel through the nice term filtering that can be found after bilinear. However, bilinear filtering sometimes may cause an object in a game, or whatever, to lose depth or the "texture-feel" originally intended. This is where the process Trilinear Filtering comes in, which you can read about later on...

Bitmap - basically any image you see on your computer monitor can be called a bitmap. Basically a 'map' of dots arranged in rows and columns, each dot (or pixel at the smallest scale) is assigned a given color that in conjunction with other dots forms a graphical image! The more bits of data each dot is allowed to hold lets a greater number of colors to be represented, and we all know the more colors the better. Anyone who had a LightBright when they were little will probably pick up on this concept easily, however if you are the more mature type (or just too cool to admit it) than bitmapping can be compared to Impressionism art =]

Bitmapping - if you are reading this in order than this should come as a no brainer, however if not then here is the definition. Basically bitmapping is the act of your computer's hardware in rendering pictures or bitmaps on the screen by drawing each individual pixel or dot in the coordinating row/column. This process is done so incredibly fast by your computer that in one second the average computer draws 20 frames, each frame containing over a half a million dots. Now just think, half the video accelerators we review at this site can hit over 70 frames in a second, with each frame containing nearly two million dots... And on atop of that they also do a million other things in that same second to each frame, like bilinear filtering, etc... Damn I'm stupid, I just wrote an entire paragraph when I could have just said the act of rendering a bitmap.

Blocky Filtering - this is really not a filtering method, more or less a term to describe texture-mapped visuals in a game that appear blocky or pixelated. If you sincerely don't know what I'm talking about by 'blocky' then try turning on 'software mode' in Quake II, then you will know what I mean!

Bump-Mapping - is a visual trick or method used to simulate an objects surface texture, for example roughness or smoothness. To do this in 3D, developers assign each polygon two textures. One of which is a normal base texture for visual graphics much like any other texture in a game. A second is a displacement texture that is mapped on an object, this one simulates the roughness of the object. So why not just graphically make an object look bumpy? That has to do with lighting. A bump-mapped texture reflects light differently from different angles just like a naturally rough or smooth surface does here in the real world. This is why a transition from graphically rough textures to bump-mapped rough textures was made, or is being right now.

Bump-Maps - a bump-map is basically two texture-maps slapped down on top of each other. Bump-maps are able to have an actual surface texture, full fit with crevices, bumps, and whatever... If you haven't read the definition for bump-mapping, you are probably really confused, so check out its definition above.

Clock Cycle - CPU

Clock Cycle - a clock cycle is one operation done by a microprocessor in which electricity goes through a processor turning transistors on or off which is parallel to the 1's and 0's that make up any computer operation at the most simplified state. Hundreds of millions of clock cycles are performed every second in the most average of microprocessors today, whether it being the CPU or the chip on your 3D graphics accelerator.

Clock Frequency - the clock frequency is basically how fast a chip performs internal operations. This is controlled by and oscillator that synchronizes operations inside the chip. Clock frequency is expressed in MHz or millions of cycles per second. For example, a 200MHz (200 megahertz) processor performs 200 million clock cycles per second.

Clock Speed - the clock speed is how fast in MHz a 3D accelerator or processor runs. The more the megahertz, the faster the chip and more powerful...

Collision Detection - is the ability of an object in 3D to react with other 3D objects in a realistic form. Basically, when you see an object such as a box in a 3D game on the floor, what allows the box to 'know' not to fall through the floor is collision detection. As collision detection becomes more advanced and easier to process, games will become more realistic in that objects will become smaller just as their lifelike counterparts are and still react with other objects realistically.

Color Convergence - the colors red, green, and blue are mixed, or converged, in a color monitor to make all other colors. This process is known as color convergence and is one of the many reasons a computer monitor has such a sharp display-- because of advanced, precise color convergence!

Colored Lighting - colored lighting is the use of not only pure white light to cast shadows and to light up objects, yet other colors of light, hence the name-- colored lighting. This effecting is one that many gamers today take for granted, without it, things would look a lot more dull.

Composite - this is the TV video signal in which red, blue, and green colors are mixed together. This term will mostly be used to talk about a 3D accelerators composite output, giving an accelerator the ability to hook up cable and watch some quality television broadcasting on your computer...

Compression - this term is becoming more and more important in today's computer industry. Anyone who listens to MP3's should be very appreciative, but what does it mean for 3D video? More than you think, when we talk about compression it is the ability to shrink file size without losing too much graphical detail, meaning your 3D accelerator spits out textures faster... For more info, check out the definition to Automatic Texture Compression technology.

CPU - stands for Central Processing Unit. Although some sound cards and video cards independently process information for specific things, almost all operations of a computer must pass through the CPU to be 'processed'. If you compare a computer to the human body, this would be the brain.

Daughter Card - D3D (Direct3D)

Daughter Card - a daughter card is a card or board that is dependent upon another card or board in order to work properly. An example of a 3d accelerator that is a referred to as a daughter card is 3dfx's Voodoo2. The Voodoo2 was dependent upon a separate 2d accelerator that is linked to via a pass-thru cable. This is because a Voodoo2 is 3d only, and inevitably needs a 2d card to run 2d.

DDR-SDRAM - stands for Double Data Rate SDRAM. Memory capable of communicating on both edges of a clock cycle. This virtually doubling the memory's speed from 100MHz to 200MHz. DDR-SDRAM is currently being implimented in many GeForce high-breeds, and other devices practically requiring fast memory.

Dedicated Frame Buffer - the dedicated frame buffer is a specific amount of memory set aside to store frame-buffer and/or z-buffer data on a card with a spit memory architecture. Most 3d cards have a memory architecture where the memory storing textures and the memory for the frame buffer are not separate, in such an instance a 'dedicated frame buffer' does not exist.

DVD - stands for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc. Most believe DVD-ROMs will take place of CD-ROMs in next-gen systems. I being one of those people, why? Well DVDs realistically store 4.7gb of information on a single side without being multi-layered. For those saying 'ohh, wow' sarcastically, that is almost seven times the storage capacity over the industry standard CD-ROM disc (which stores approximately 680mb of information). Now if you think back on the evolution of computers, five years ago most thought they would never use up 1.4mb 3.5 disk, and today most think that a game won't use up a 680mb CD-ROM disc-- but as games and other software become larger do to hardware that can support bigger textures and the rest, DVDs promise to play a crucial part. Also they are beginning to replace videotapes as a cheaper and better means (in material cost) to watch movies.

DirectSound - Microsoft's universal sound API which helps developers optimize a game to work with many soundcards by only programming a game for one API. Which is basically what an Application Programming Interface does, so you should have been able to put that one together =] Did I mention it was part of Microsoft's DirectX bag? Damn them for trying to monopolize the world! (sarcasm, j/k)

DirectSound3D - 3D at the end, no 3D at the end, what's the difference? Nothing, well everything. Also a Microsoft API, this time for positional 3d sound. When I first experienced DirectSound3D it sucked, but now more developers are beginning to support it, so someone thinks its getting better...

Direct3D - this is part of the DirectX family of APIs for graphics. Almost all capable 3d accelerators and cool games support it, making it very important for a card to have good Direct3D Performance. I wouldn't choose to run Direct3D over such APIs as OpenGL or Glide, but it is a hell of a lot better than software-rendering, you gotta give it that.

DirectX - Microsoft's line of generic-brand APIs =] Being Microsoft born and raised, almost everyone supports 'em. The two important ones you'll see on this site are DirectSound3D, Direct3D.

Displacement Map - the second texture map in the bump-mapping procedure used to simulate bumpiness by depicting how light casts shadows across the surface of the original texture.

Distortion - not the traditional distortion of sound in a bad way, yet any change in frequencies of sound from your soundcard and speakers is considered distortion.

Dithering - dithering is a visual artifact caused by the lowering of color depth or amount of colors in an image or graphic. Examples of dithering is when a texture loses its smoothness and becomes pixelated.

Doppler Effecting - a sound's effect of becoming higher in pitch then lower when passing by. In games this is very important for realistic sound, as a rocket just wouldn't be the same passing by you without it... For more information see Aureal3d.

Driver - the specific pieces of software that tell you hardware what to do. Without drivers for something, hardware is unusable because there is nothing to tell it what to do. One of the operating systems main jobs that you don't see, is to manage and use drivers.

D3D (Direct3D) - see Microsoft's Direct3D API.

EAX (Environmental Audio) - Environment Mapping

EAX (Environmental Audio) - this is Creative Lab's personal little 3d positional sound software and API. What makes it pretty cool is that it is based on reverberation, which you can read about later.

electro-planar - electro-planar is the technology behind flat-panel speakers. I can't say I know all that much about how it works, but I do know those little things kick-ass-- then again for a pretty penny! I guess the speakers are 'operated' by an electromagnetic field that causes thin material to vibrate omitting 'oh so sweet' sound, but don't quote me on that.

engine - when I refer to an engine at this site I'm talking about the programming behind a game or how it runs. Some game engines are better than others in the way that they are coded which is seen through cooler effects, colors, and all around graphics, or faster gameplay and framerates!

environment-mapping - a good environment-mapped texture can reflect other textures and objects around it accurately, so basically environment-mapping is giving a texture the ability to accurately reflect its surroundings in its own texture, right?

Fill Rate - Frame Buffer

Fill Rate - the rate at which pixels are rendered onto your computer monitor via your videocard. Basically, a higher fill rate means better, usually measured in millions of pixels per second.

Filtering - filtering is really explained in bilinear, trilinear, and anistrophic filtering. All you need to know is that its a 3D accelerators means to smoothing out textures by averaging pixels into values closer to others making everything smooth and flowing... =]

Floating-Point - floating-point numbers are fractional integers with very precise values. A processors ability to do good mathematically floating-point means faster and smoother gameplay in games in conjunction with a 3D videocard, why? Well basically because in all game engines more precise numbers are needed, as opposed to whole numbers to give you a more realistic feel, and that's what its all about, right? If you do recall, back in '98 AMD released their 3DNow! enabled line of x86 processors (x86 is just their architecture, a Pentium clone if you will). Know why 3DNow! was so hyped, because it offered very good and fast floating-point instructions speeding up almost any game that was optimized by a good 5-10 frames per second. Now you know...

FMV (Full Motion Video) - FMV's are prerendered, non-interactive, and prescripted video clips. The Sony Playstation's ability to play FMV's from game CD's offered much offense in the Playstation vs. Nintendo64 wars. I personally wish the PC and N64 offered such high-quality and life-like FMV ability, it really is breathtaking, I suggest you watch one.

Fogging - fogging is yet another pretty cool yet not so cool effect most 3D accelerators offer. In brief, this is a videocard's effecting ability used to simulate fog. This can be used by developers of games to one, put fog in an eerie part of a game, coming off steaming water, the like-- or two, to really hurt, hinder, and make a game unplayable by purposely using it to hide small bitmapped textures way off in the distance because the game developer was too damn lazy to make the textures bigger. However, I won't mention any game developers that do that, *cough* Acclaim, *hiccup* Turok: Dinosaur Hunter.

FPS (Frames per Second) - this is pretty funny, but it always seems that what makes a good videocard better than its competitor is how many frames per second it pumps out in Quake2 on timedemo 1... Check out the definition for frame and then you should pick up on what frames per second is or simply a measure of how fast a 3D card performs. Just a note, a good 3D accelerator should hit about 60fps on average. I don't want to get into the controversy, but I for one really cannot tell the difference between 60fps and 120fps when just playing a game, and that's what it's all about-- considering most games can't pump out more than 40-50 frames in that second...

Frame - a frame is one still picture rendered to your computer monitor. If you are familiar with those cartoon flip books in a cereal box you should pick up on this quickly (or if you have an IQ above 5 for that matter =). One frame when combined with others, each slightly changed from the previously displayed, can simulate movement. That is how a game, TV, and scrolling down this page all work.

Frame Buffer - the frame buffer is an amount of memory on a video accelerator set aside to store temporary frames that are being displayed to the screen. A bigger frame buffer in memory size offers more colors, and higher resolutions for that specific 3D card.

Game Engine - Graphics Pipeline

Game Engine - see engine. The programming code behind a game.

Gamma Correction - is the ability to manipulate the red, green, or blue values of a pixel or texture in whole to affect how bright a graphic is...

Glide3D (Glide) - this is 3dfx's own API for displaying some kick-ass graphics. Its easier and better to program for than Direct3D in my opinion and also performs better from a consumer view. The only problem being is a proprietary API by 3dfx, only the Voodoo, Voodoo2, and Voodoo3's support it from a hardware aspect. If you are a PS or N64 emulator junky then you'll know that they usually only support this 3D API... Tough luck TNT owners. As for other things, Glide and OpenGL are almost brothers in the coding, so don't worry about being stuck with a Glide only game (except Tribes).

Gouraud Shading - although there is a fancy word like gouraud in front of it, gouraud shading really is not anything more than a graphics cards ability to shade 3D polygons. In 3D style 2d (if that makes sense to you) shading is everything, in 3D style 3D it still means a lot.

Graphic Aperture Size - you probably would have never come across this term unless you were fooling around in your BIOS. Basically it is the amount of system memory reserved for an AGP graphics board. If you have the extra memory go ahead and bump it up a little for better performance.

Graphics Pipeline - the road information must travel to reach your monitor and/or back again. Usually starting at the CPU, then going through the motherboard and then through a PCI or AGP slot to the graphics accelerator and back out through a cable to your monitor. Importance? The faster the graphics pipeline the quicker stuff can be displayed.


There are not yet any terms to be displayed for this page. If you have any, or think we're missing any, don't hesitate to contact us. Response time is mostly within 24 hours, mostly.

Integer - ISA

Integer - if you remember back to your algebra days you'll recall that an integer is any whole number on the number line including their opposites and zero. Well the definition stays the same, but the importance is different. Integers in the computer world are handled much faster than floating-point numbers, however they aren't precise enough for some functions in programming.

Internal Rendering - this is the amount of colors a videocard will render an image at. It is usually set at either one of these three: 16-bit, 24-bit, or 32-bit. More colors means games will run more colorfully, yet loss in speed and framerate usually occur. However, most games today don't REALLY support 32-bit internal rendering, but as 32-bit games enter the market you will want a capable 3D accelerator.

I/O Connector - the I/O stands for Input/Output. Basically an I/O connector or port refers to a device in which other devices can be added. Two examples, and the one's we'll be dealing with, are the AGP and PCI expansion buses.

IRQ - stands for Interrupt Request which is basically how videocards/soundcards and other devices dependent upon the CPU 'line up' waiting to access the CPU's cycles in order to be processed. No two devices can access the CPU on the same IRQ unless specifically designed to work with each other, but that doesn't mean they can't get along at all!

ISA - stands for Industry Standard Architecture. This is an expansion bus very similar to AGP and PCI only in concept. It runs at about 8MHz and offers a home for some low bandwidth devices such as soundcards, modems, or network cards. Today ISA is almost extinct, because of the adoption of PCI by many of its former residence. That sounded cool...


There are not yet any terms to be displayed for this page. If you have any, or think we're missing any, don't hesitate to contact us. Response time is mostly within 24 hours, mostly.


There are not yet any terms to be displayed for this page. If you have any, or think we're missing any, don't hesitate to contact us. Response time is mostly within 24 hours, mostly.

LAN (Local Area Network) - Low Frequency Response

LAN - see Local Area Network.

Level of Detail - refers to a textures size in terms of resolution or 256x256, etc... A lower level of detail means just that, not as much visual quality, yet also makes room for faster framerates. What do you want, stunning visuals, or killer speed?

Lighting Effects - an effecting process used to simulate light in a 3D environment by brightening surrounding textures and pixels near the virtual light source. Lighting effects is one of my most loved abilities of a video accelerator because it really makes games a world of eyecandy.

Local Area Network - basically a network or group of computers all connected to one another within an area in which they are close to each other. I'll probably use this term when giving an excuse for not updating the news because I was at a Local Area Network Party. They are a hell of a lot of fun so I suggest you check out if you want to know what one is or when one is occurring in your area.

Local Memory - memory attached to a specific device that it is reserved for. Memory directly on a videocard is considered local memory because it is attached directly to the source of which will store data in it. Local Memory is used on an accelerator for texture storage, z-buffer storage, and other crap.

Low-Frequency Response - considered the range of sound between the 3Hz and 120Hz frequencies. That is of course if you want to get technical, most of us refer to this as bass or the sound that really shakes stuff around you when listening to it.

MIDI - Multitexture

MIDI - stands for Music Instrument Digital Interface. Basically they were predetermined sound files that could be put together and edited in pitch, and tempo to create new techno-sounding music. Much like the 26 letters of the alphabet can be put together in different ways to make many different words. What's cool about MIDI is it is fast and can be used on webpages and in games without having to take forever to load. On the downside there isn't much diversity in sound.

miniGL - a driver specifically made for a line of cards that uses part of the instructions found in OpenGL... This allows a card to work with or work better with a game optimized for OpenGL.

Mip-Mapping - the process of making an image or texture into smaller images by dividing by every power of two. For example: 1/4, 1/16, 1/32 of the original texture and so on... This is basically used to have the ability to display a large texture in the distance even though the resolution doesn't allow it.

MMX - Intel's widely supported (sarcasm) 57 new instructions developed for their line of x86 processors and specifically used multimedia for things such as sound and video. MMX while looking pretty is severely slow and not used much at all for 3dimensional purposes such as games.

Multitexturing - see Multitexture.

Multitexture - the process of adding multiple textures to an object in the programming of a 3D game. They can be on top of each other in such processes as bump-mapping or in conjunction with each other to form one big 3D model, etc...


There are not yet any terms to be displayed for this page. If you have any, or think we're missing any, don't hesitate to contact us. Response time is mostly within 24 hours, mostly.

Obstruction Effects - Overclock

Obstruction Effects - the effecting of a sound after it passes through an object such as a wall, box or something 'solid'. In life when a sound wave passes through a wall its signal weakens, such being the same as in a game. An obstructed sound usually sounds muffled or less in tone when compared with its original sound...

OpenGL - stands for Open Graphics Language. This is a graphical API designed, produced, and maintained by Silicon Graphics =] If you are able to choose to run a game between this API and its rival Direct3D then go for this one because I personally like it a whole lot more, and its not because I'm Anti-Microsoft, I swear!

OpenGL ICD - (installable client driver) I really can't tell you exactly what this term means realistically, because I personally don't see the difference between it and OpenGL in general. However, I believe it has to do with the 'vastness' of the API. It's either vice of versa, but OpenGL ICD uses only parts of the full OpenGL language to run things in particular such as Quake II and so on, while the full monte OpenGL can run a lot more different things.

Overclock - the act of changing jumpers and/or voltage settings on PC hardware in attempt to boost your hardware's performance. Now, developers of videocards, etc, make it easy and enjoyable to overclock by integrating the ability to overclock your card in software by changing a few numbers. However, back in my day you had to do it manually by getting out the screwdriver and lucky static-free charm bracelet. If you are more interested in overclocking, we should have a guide up soon so go ahead and check it out on our FAQ page.

PCI - Polygon

PCI - stands for Peripheral Component Interface. This is basically the industry standard of bus architecture (how internal hardware connects to you 'puter) today, even know industry standard isn't directly in its name like ISA. Running at a steady 33MHz, and sometimes higher, PCI is perfect for many system expansions or peripherals including soundcards, modems, dvd decoders, 2nd generation videocards, network adapters, and the rest. PCI will be sticking around for quite a while...

Per-Pixel Mip-Mapping - this is basically mip-mapping at its most precise variant. Generally, for faster performance, mip-mapping effects can be made to be at an accuracy of every other pixel, every polygon, etc. But with per-pixel mip-mapping shadows are cast just as detailed as the object they are casting from.

Perspective Correction - probably the most important attribute to anything 3D, perspective correction is the ability to correctly display a texture from any angle. For example, if you were looking directly at a square texture each side would appear equal (as with most squares). However, if you turned that same square so that one end was closer to you, it would appear skewed... Why? Well that is what sets the third dimension apart from the 2nd, besides depth. In the real world, any object farther away seems smaller, so if the square was turned to an angle one side would be farther than the other allowing one to be displayed by the eye as smaller than the other, giving it a Rhombus look.

Pipeline - the 'line' where instructions will be while waiting to be processed in a microprocessor. So in a sense the pipeline is a place everything can get jammed in so that the processor never has something not to do, or maybe it is just the processors own little, cute cache or memory storage area.

Pixel - the smallest 'unit' of display on a monitor. After you get to a pixel, you can't divide any farther. For more information see resolution, or call 1-888-99-PIXEL.

Pixelation - when you get too close to a texture in a game and see the actual square element, this is considered pixelation. For example, try running your huge-ace 21" monitor at a resolution of 640x480.

Polygon - if you recall back to the days of geometry you'll know that a polygon is any 'closed' 2D figure, well the definition stays, but the application is different. Polygons are combined with hundreds of others to make up models in 3D engines.


There are not yet any terms to be displayed for this page. If you have any, or think we're missing any, don't hesitate to contact us. Response time is mostly within 24 hours, mostly.

Raytrace - RISC

Raytrace - a method of 3D rendering in which I have no idea how it works. However, I do know that it is pretty damn realistic and is the only real solution for offering life-like reflecting and transparency.

Realtime - an action of a computer that correspond on the same time scale with their real-life counterpart... Don't confuse 'Realtime' with the Real-Time found in the definition of RTS as in games.

Reflective Mapping - the reflecting technique native to raytracing which allows for extremely realistic reflective textures of surrounding objects.

Refresh Rate - the rate at which your monitor 'blinks' or flashes a still image consecutively to simulate motion or movement in what you do on the PC. It is measured in Hz, and I would have to say any monitor with a refresh rate under 80Hz should not be bought because it will hurt your eyes. On a more interesting note, that line you see going across a computer monitor that is being shown on TV is caused by the differential in refresh rates of TV's to computer monitors. This doesn't mean the monitor sucks however, and the only reason why the one's in Matrix didn't do it was because the developers put them at sync with how fast the movie camera was rolling.

Resolution - the pixel by pixel ratio used quantitatively to show the number of pixels displayed on a monitor. For example, 640x480, 800x600, and the rest are all examples of resolution or horizontal by vertical number of pixels in a line.

Reverberation - the natural effect of sound being bounced off many objects resulting in continuos echo. Reverberation effects simulate this, or are unwanted defects of sound, then a pause, then sound, then a pause when a computer slows down. For example, listen after a large explosion in Half-Life and you will see what I mean.

RISC - stands for Reduced Instruction Set Computing. RISC is a processor architecture designed with a set length for instructions, which doesn't allow a maximum amount of instructions, but is enough for simpler operations found in such things as games. If you have a Playstation, Nintendo64, or Dreamcast, this is the style of processor that runs these platforms.

Scan Line Interleave - S-Video

SIMD - stands for Single Instruction Multiple Data. In layman's terms, the ability of a processor to perform the same operation or instruction on two pieces of data. This eliminates the CPU's need to process the same instructions over and over again, increasing performance. Intel's MMX and SSE instructions, along with AMD's 3DNow! instructions both utilize SIMD to increase Multimedia and Game performance.

Scan Line Interleave (SLI) - I'm not exactly sure where the terms scan line interleave came from but I do know this is the proprietary ability of 3dfx's voodoo2's to interconnect and perform lighting fast 3D graphics. One board handles rendering odd lines, while the other renders even lines. This not only makes faster framerates a given, yet with combined memory allows for higher resolutions. Back in the day a real hard-ass didn't only have one voodoo2, he had two! Which led to the event of the word SLI guy (pronounced sleigh or sly), well not really but it sort of fits.

SGRAM - Stands for Synchronous Graphics Random Access Memory. This is the main type of memory found on a graphics boards and cards. Considered to be faster than its closely related SDRAM, this is do to its ability to 'synchronize' with the CPU for optimal performance and speed.

Software Rendering - The dreaded 'rendering mode' not applying to 3D accelerators. This is usually very slow and ugly when it comes to 3D graphics, the main reason why 3D accelerators were invented or made rather... If a game is said not to be accelerated, then it is software rendered.

Sprite - The absolute thirst quenching drink where image is nothing, and thirst is everything, well how about no. This is basically a graphic that is moved about in a 3dimensional world over other graphics, a very fine example is the aiming crosshair in Quake2 or Half-Life, or any other game where 'you just shoot @$%*('.

Spunk Monkey - The greatest tech-junkie, game-geek, computer baller known to man. Actually, the widely acclaimed, completely notorious, most hardcore Hardware Reviewer on the Internet. Ahh, screw it, he's just myself... =)

S-Video - stands for Super-Video. I won't get into the techno talk but basically it is a video standard found on many 3D cards giving it the ability to hook up to camcorders, digital cameras, VCRs, TVs and the rest.

Texel - Trilinear Filtering

Texel - stands for texture element. Basically, a single pixel applied to a bitmap in 3D. Or a pixel in a 3D world. (Similar to the difference between meteor and meteorite)

Texture - the graphical pattern applied to 3D polygon-mapped structures. The texture wraps itself around polygons and becomes stretched and skewed to give a 3D graphical effect. Textures paint the beautiful 3D world we see in everyday games...

Texture Compression - a video accelerator's ability to reduce image data size by replacing chronic strings and lowering the color palette of a texture. This technology can drastically increase framerate by decreasing image quality, or increase visual quality by maintaining a constant palette. Either way implemented, it makes things better!

Texture Mapping - the actual process of applying a texture or bitmap to a 3D polygon-mapped structure. Also known as texturing.

Texture Memory - a videocard's memory dedicated specifically to storing texture maps already fused with 3D objects.

TFT (Thin Film Transistor) - those swank-ass ultra-thin monitors... More technically, the essential component in LCD or thin laptop monitors.

3D Positional Sound - examples of 3D Positional Sound include Sensaura's 3D Positional Sound, Aureal3D, and DirectSound3D. This is a developer's ability to program sounds to appear (or sound rather) in 3D rather than just left or right channels (Stereo Sound). Complex mathematical algorithms written by autistic children make it all possible =).

3DNow! Instructions - AMD's set of 21 new instructions introduced to their line of x86 based processors to increase floating-point (fractional) mathematical calculations. 3DNow! first appeared in AMD's K6-II and is also licensed by Cyrix and Centaur Technology. Games that utilize the 3DNow! instructions run faster and smoother.

Transparency - an object or materials ability to be seen through. Transparency effects in a game include simulated glass, water, explosions, or ice.

Trilinear Filtering - process of applying bilinear filtering to either side of a texture causing extreme image smoothing and reducing noticeable pixelation.

Tweak - overclocking, cleaning, optimizing, call it what you like. Nevertheless, the act of increasing system performance, and the concept this site was built around.


There are not yet any terms to be displayed for this page. If you have any, or think we're missing any, don't hesitate to contact us. Response time is mostly within 24 hours, mostly.

VGA - vsync

VGA - stands for Video Graphics Accelerator/Array. Not the 3D ones we know of today however. VGA is the standard that started it all for present-day color monitors, next was SVGA and then the separate accelerators we have today.

VGA Output - The output cable or signal capable of sending VGA video to a monitor.

Volumetric Lighting - the capability of light to give the effect of passing through an actual three dimensional medium such as fog, dust, smoke, steam, and other gasses.

Volumetric Fogging - The use of 'virtual' fog that has depth and volume to hide not yet rendered textures in the distance. Turok 2 is notorious to this, yet I guess I would much rather see fog then textures suddenly appear.

VRAM - stands for Video Random Access Memory. This is memory used by many 3D devices. It's significance lies in the fact that two separate devices can access its memory at the same time, which is useful in 3D rendering.

vsync - Stands for Visual or Vertical Synchronization. The Video Card's ability to synchronize buffer swaps with the monitor's refresh rate, obviating known visual artifacts and anomolies. Some manufacturers allow the disabling of this feature, which will usually increase framerate while degrading image quality.

Wavetable - Wavetracing

Wavetable - first see MIDI, because it is basically the same thing. Wavetable synthesis is the ability of a soundcard basically to mix common sounds in order to reproduce more complex and interesting ones! The MIDI sounds are stored directly on the soundcard for quick access and sound sampling reliability (in other words, it's built in and will always sound the same).

Wavetable Synthesis - see Wavetable and/or MIDI.

Wavetracing - the ability of a game and soundcard to make realistic sounds by 'tracing' the path in which it came. If you hear a sound in the distance you would know where it came from, and other stuff like that. Also wavetracing allows for correct 'echoing' effects.


There are not yet any terms to be displayed for this page. If you have any, or think we're missing any, don't hesitate to contact us. Response time is mostly within 24 hours, mostly.


There are not yet any terms to be displayed for this page. If you have any, or think we're missing any, don't hesitate to contact us. Response time is mostly within 24 hours, mostly.


Z-Buffer - this is basically the chunck of memory on a 3D card in which the Z value of a three dimensional point is stored. If you recall back to the days of Geometry (what is with me and saying that?), than you'll know the variables that made up a 3D point are X, Y, and Z. The importance of the Z-buffer is rather simple. It keeps track of not only where everything is in a 3D environment, but also gives a 3D card the luxury of not having to render textures that are not visible anyway (such as ones hidden behind walls). This, although seeming it wouldn't save a lot of time, really does in the end. Oh and the Z-Buffer also allows for greater accuracy in depth. An important feature when referring to 16-bit or 32-bit :)




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