Hacking It seems impossible that the DS has no graphics chip/3D chip

rumblesushi

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Am I correct in thinking the DS's graphics are generated soley by the CPU, with no 3D accelerator?

The graphics seem too good for a measly 67mhz processor with no dedicated graphics chip.

For example, my phone, a K800i, has a processor over twice as fast as the DS, also an ARM chip. Yet the graphics pale in comparison, it's 3D capabilities are far more basic, as is the 2D.

So can someone explain how a DS can achieve N64 level graphics minus the texture filtering, without a dedicated 3D chip? It's poly output far exceeds any "normal" phone I've seen, despite most phones having a faster ARM chip than the DS.

Usually a graphics chip takes a huge load off the CPU in terms of rendering the graphics, leaving the CPU to do all the maths/physics/logic etc. This was true even with the SNES.

One of the reasons that Flash is quite limited in it's graphics capabilities is it's lack of GPU support for example, compared with it's cousin shockwave, that DOES have GPU support and a built in 3D engine, Flash's ability in 3D isn't even close.
 

rumblesushi

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I'm sure that plays a part, certainly, but it still seems strange that it has no GPU. Even consoles in the 16 bit era had a dedicated GPU, for example the SNES as I said before.

I simply wouldn't thought it was possible to achieve proper 3D worlds with respectable poly count, running at 60fps, with only a 67mhz CPU and no GPU.
 

michaelf

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Have you seen 3D on the DS? It lacks respectable poly counts and frame rates. It can do 2000 poly's at 60 fps. The problem, of course, is that you tend to hit the texture limit before that depending on what type of game it is.

The other thing to keep in mind is that it has two processors that are made with one purpose with SDK's and programers who know how to use them (to put it simply).
 

rumblesushi

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120,000 polys a second running at 60fps is impressive for something with such a low end processor.

How can you say it lacks respectable frame rates when most DS games run between 30 and 60 frames a second?

Considering so many N64 games ran at between 15-20, with similar poly counts/geometry, I'd say it's certainly respectable, given it's a handheld with a slower CPU.

It seems as though I was wrong though. Although it doesn't have a SEPERATE dedicated GPU, it does essentially have a GPU built into the main CPU, which does do hardware 3D and other GPU functions.

If you're interested in reading more about it, have a look at this thread.

http://forum.beyond3d.com/showthread.php?t=31794
 

DanTheManMS

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Like you just mentioned, the DS does have some sort of dedicated 3D hardware. I don't know the specifics, but it does not render everything in software. The GBA on the other hand does not, so any "3D" games on the GBA were faked using some tricks while in 2D tiled mode (software-rendered bitmapped mode would have been too slow).

Fun fact: the Cave Story DS demo, while 2D, is rendered entirely using the 3D engine. I believe this was to get over the "128 sprites on the screen at any given time" limit. Shame it never got beyond a demo.
 

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