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3DS Uses DMP's PICA200 GPU

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charlequin

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neo2046 said:
official
Nintendo 3DS uses DMP's PICA(R)200 chip
PR (no English version yet)
http://prw.kyodonews.jp/open/release.do?r=201006189844
(Thanks to neo2046 for bringing this information to our attention.)

PICA200 is an OpenGL ES1.1 chip featuring a set of proprietary extensions that enable a variety of features that one might normally implement via ES2.0 shaders through a fixed hardware pipeline.

The PICA200 scales with up to four pipelines and processes from up to four programmable vertex units. The 3D core, using their proprietary graphics technology named MAESTRO-2G, the second generation of the Maestro design, implements custom graphics algorithms as hardware for enabling a set of shading features that include per-vertex sub-surface scattering, bidirectional reflectance distribution function, cook-torrance, polygon subdivision, and soft shadowing. Their image post-processing module, the PICA-FBM frame buffer management, can polish the image with anti-aliasing and a set of other 2D functions and can actually be licensed independently as a core for 2D-only devices. In either case, the PICA-FBM can be extended with a PICA-VG vector graphics module.


http://www.videsignline.com/201001222?printableArticle=true
 

brain_stew

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Feb 20, 2007
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Repost from the old thread:


I found it! :D

Slides are presented as images here:

http://journal.mycom.co.jp/photo/articles/2006/08/15/siggraph07/images/003l.jpg

They're taken from this article (in Japanese) about the presentation:

http://journal.mycom.co.jp/articles/2006/08/15/siggraph07/index.html

The more I read up, the more it seems like a pretty good fit for Nintendo. All those extra capabilities above and beyond the base OpenGL ES 1.1 just wouldn't be used by any other device as they'd just go with a standard OpenGL ES 1.1 driver to maintain compatibility. However since these features are hardwired it should be capable of the sort of efficiency Nintendo was looking for and as its already capable of most of the nice effects you'd get from a full OpenGL ES 2.0 in reality you're not losing too much if developers are able to directly exploit these features.

Since it takes so long to downlaod currently, I also hosted Futuremark's test/demo/benchmark of the hardware at Youtube, here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A-xxUyJvQQ

The demo is pretty impressive, packed with normal and specular maps (as seen in many 3DS games already), sports some really nice soft shadowing (though its lacking self shadowing as seen in many 3DS games).

So our GAF detectives managed to figure out the mystery! :lol
 

carlo6529

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The PICA200 scales with up to four pipelines and processes from up to four programmable vertex units. The 3D core, using their proprietary graphics technology named MAESTRO-2G, the second generation of the Maestro design, implements custom graphics algorithms as hardware for enabling a set of shading features that include per-vertex sub-surface scattering, bidirectional reflectance distribution function, cook-torrance, polygon subdivision, and soft shadowing. Their image post-processing module, the PICA-FBM frame buffer management, can polish the image with anti-aliasing and a set of other 2D functions and can actually be licensed independently as a core for 2D-only devices. In either case, the PICA-FBM can be extended with a PICA-VG vector graphics module.
0_o ?

what does this mean?
 

charlequin

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So, looking at the details of this chip, it's a completely unsurprising fit with how Nintendo do things: it implements a variety of fairly modern effects directly via a fixed pipeline instead of allowing full programmable shaders, which in turn means it can deliver some significant portion of the graphical output of an ES2.0 chip but with noticeably lower power consumption.
 

Boney

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Coming from the other thread.

Techical mumbo jumbo makes my head hurt. But I love it!
 

AceBandage

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Mar 22, 2007
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ntropy said:
i frown while my wallet exhales.

It's not "top of the line", but it's still an awesome GPU.

GDGF said:
I would also like to know how this compares to TEV.

(the shader functions I mean)
Well, developers will actually want to use this, unlike TEV.
:lol
 
Nov 18, 2008
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charlequin said:
So, looking at the details of this chip, it's a completely unsurprising fit with how Nintendo do things: it implements a variety of fairly modern effects directly via a fixed pipeline instead of allowing full programmable shaders, which in turn means it can deliver some significant portion of the graphical output of an ES2.0 chip but with noticeably lower power consumption.
So, work smarter, not harder :D

Nice job, sleuths.
 

The Hermit

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Eteric Rice said:
Is it good?
carlo6529 said:
0_o ?

what does this mean?
Door2Dawn said:
I don't know much about all this techno mumbo jumbo, but this is pretty powerful hardware right?
quadriplegicjon said:
For the technically challenged.... is this a good GPU?
:lol :lol Now I don't feel so bad for having no idea what that means...

BTW, that has to be the worst demo I've have ever seen...
 

DonMigs85

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Other than shader abilities it looks like it's pretty in line with what the GCN can do, except for trilinear or anisotropic filtering.
 
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so the inevitable "dumb it down" question: how does it compare to console hardware from last generation? Dreamcast/PS2/Xbox/GameCube?

is it in the ballpark?
 

Lonely1

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DonMigs85 said:
Other than shader abilities it looks like it's pretty in line with what the GCN can do, except for trilinear or anisotropic filtering.
Well, that "other" and "except" stuff is kinda a big difference.
 

DonMigs85

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Dreams-Visions said:
so the inevitable "dumb it down" question: how does it compare to console hardware from last generation? Dreamcast/PS2/Xbox/GameCube?

is it in the ballpark?
We'll need to know what clockspeed the version in 3DS runs at.
 

charlequin

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brain_stew said:
I found it! :D
Yeah, good job with that. :D

quadriplegicjon said:
For the technically challenged.... is this a good GPU?
It ought to be capable of most modern 3D "effects" and to be able to push a decent amount of power, but it's dependent on what specifically they went with. "PICA200" isn't a specific GPU, it's a line/group of GPUs with a specific architecture, so the details of the exact throughput are still not known to us, I believe.

GDGF said:
I would also like to know how this compares to TEV.

(the shader functions I mean)
If I understand correctly, it should be a lot more developer-friendly, at least. TEV was pretty powerful but required you to understand a unique way of setting up and programming your effects that wasn't used anywhere else (which meant most people didn't bother.) This is sort of the opposite; it pre-defines most of the effects you'd ever want to use for you and you just activate them via the provided API (but at a loss of flexibility -- you can't create your own unique pixel-shader effects.)
 

ILikeFeet

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Oct 12, 2009
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charlequin said:
So, looking at the details of this chip, it's a completely unsurprising fit with how Nintendo do things: it implements a variety of fairly modern effects directly via a fixed pipeline instead of allowing full programmable shaders, which in turn means it can deliver some significant portion of the graphical output of an ES2.0 chip but with noticeably lower power consumption.
so it's a lot like TEV but better?

EDIT: nvm, question answered above
 

charlequin

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ILikeFeet said:
so it's a lot like TEV but better?
Well, the difference is that TEV is more flexible theoretically but a pain in the ass to use, whereas this isn't particularly flexible at all but it should be extremely easy for devs to take advantage of.

markot said:
I hope it gets nice battery life. 10hour min >_<!
Let me put it this way: this is, as best as I understand, probably about the best choice (from a graphical-power perspective) Nintendo could have made if their first priority was to maintain a good battery life.
 

WillyFive

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trinest said:
So this can answer the question- is the 3DS a Game Cube, Wii or PS3 or something more?
I'm not going to pretend I fully understand this, but it seems like last gen graphics with current gen shaders.
 
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I would assume that because of PICA200's relative affordability (and age), Nintendo went with a premium or otherwise enhanced version of the chip.
 

DonMigs85

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charlequin said:
Yeah, good job with that. :D



It ought to be capable of most modern 3D "effects" and to be able to push a decent amount of power, but it's dependent on what specifically they went with. "PICA200" isn't a specific GPU, it's a line/group of GPUs with a specific architecture, so the details of the exact throughput are still not known to us, I believe.



If I understand correctly, it should be a lot more developer-friendly, at least. TEV was pretty powerful but required you to understand a unique way of setting up and programming your effects that wasn't used anywhere else (which meant most people didn't bother.) This is sort of the opposite; it pre-defines most of the effects you'd ever want to use for you and you just activate them via the provided API (but at a loss of flexibility -- you can't create your own unique pixel-shader effects.)
I wonder which games made use of TEV best... My guess is the two Rogue Squadrons, FF Crystal Chronicles, Star Fox Adventures and perhaps Pikmin 1/2 as well. I believe Renderware used it well in some games too.
 

charlequin

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brain_stew, any thoughts as to the polygon-pushing potential of this chip family and where it might range in comparison to other devices? We are rapidly depleting my ability to meaningfully apply my meager knowledge of graphics hardware to answering questions about this thing. :lol
 

XiaNaphryz

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Nov 5, 2005
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DonMigs85 said:
We'll need to know what clockspeed the version in 3DS runs at.
Knowing how much video memory and total memory along with cache sizes will also help a great deal in knowing what the 3DS can do performance wise. High clock-speed alone won't matter if there are severe bottlenecks elsewhere.
 

Ignis Fatuus

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Out of curiosity why is Nintendo always so coy about revealing detailed spec sheets? Are they afraid Sony is going to gank their shit?
 
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