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Optimizing your Aspire 3D Laptop for Best Performance in S3D Mode

November 24th, 2009 · 10 Comments · Other S3D Tech

acer-aspire-3d


The Acer Aspire 3D or the exact model I have AS-5738DG-664G50Mn is an affordable, but not very powerful in terms of hardware mobile computer that is designed to provide stereoscopic 3D effect with the help of passive polarization filters and DDD’s TriDef Ignition software. The main specs of the laptop are: 15,6-inch screen with 1366×768 resolution (don’t forget that the polarized screen reduces the horizontal resolution in half), the processor is Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo T6600 (Dual core at 2,2 GHz), you get 4GB of system memory, DVD writer and a 500GB hard drive, as for the video cards, it is an ATI Radeon 4570 with 512MB DDR3 VRAM. Now, as you probably have already guessed the mobile GPU used here is not the most powerful you can get and certainly not the best suited one for stereoscopic 3D, because of the additional load this mode places on the GPU and thus resulting in lower performance…


radeon-4570-500mhz-memory


However when running GPU-Z to see the parameters of the video card available in this Aspire 3D notebook something interesting has caught my attention. Note on the screenshot above that the memory of the card should be 800 MHz (1600 MHz effective) and even when under load (FurMark running in the background) the video memory still runs on 500 MHz (1000 MHz effective). Now this might not seem to be that much of a problem at first, but when you think about it… this is 600 megahertz lower effective frequency for the memory and the video card is not that powerful at first, so actually we have a very serious issue here and you can blame it all on ATI and their shitty mobile video drivers! Running 3DMark 2006 just to check what is the performance I’m getting with the fresh installed laptop (default OS and software setup provided by Acer) got me just 3052 points and although I did not expect much, I still considered this as quite low result.


disable-ati-powerplay


The problem here is that by default you get the PowerPlay function enabled in ATI’s Catalyst Control Center and this should be active for a laptop, as it is an option to control the power usage in order to save the battery. But, there is an issue with the drivers that does not allow you to go to the normal frequency of the memory even if you are not on battery, but are using the AC adapter, so at all times with PowerPlay enabled the video memory is running up to just 500 MHz (1000 MHz). What you need to do is to disable the PowerPlay function permanently or to disable it every time you are going to play in stereoscopic 3D (which would be kind of annoying and you might forget sometimes). So, as I already did say – blame it on ATI and their shitty mobile video drivers..


radeon-4570-800mhz-memory


Now, with the PowerPlay disabled you can get your video memory to run at 800 MHz (1600 MHz effectively) which normally results in better performance. You can see the difference even in the FurMark running in the background in heavy mode with 2xAA active – from 5 to 7 frames per second average. But then again running 3DMark 2006 gives better and more notable results for comparing the whole system performance for gaming purposes. With PowerPlay disabled and the video memory running at the frequency it should normally be running in the result in 3DMark 2006 is with over 1000 points better than before – 4134 points. This is just a little bit more than 35 percent performance increase and these 35% you should’ve been available to you by default and not taken away by, I’ll repeat myself again, the shitty ATI mobile video drivers!


performance-drop-in-s3d-mode


And since I’ve already started talking about benchmarking an performance, I will continue a bit with another results from 3DMark 2006, but this time to show what is the expected performance drop when you are with PowerPlay disabled (you have your full GPU power) and are playing in stereoscopic 3D. Running 3DMark 2006 through TriDef Ignition – the tests are run in stereoscopic 3D mode – results in getting 2384 points in the test. Doing a little math I can conclude that we have just about 73% performance drop. Now this is something to be expected from a more general stereoscopic 3D software solution like DDD’s TriDef Ignition, because it is universal and not tied to any specific graphic card manufacturer, so it is not that optimized as Nvidia’s 3D Vision. This in turn results in heavier load to the video card when playing in stereoscopic 3D mode and with the not that powerful VGA that the Acer Aspire is currently bundled things are not looking too bright for more graphic intensive games. Not to mention that thanks to the issues with the ATI video drivers and the additional 35% performance drop because of the memory running at lower frequency than it should things might be even slower. So forget about running Crysis on this laptop, even at low settings, but it is good for a lot of other games, of course you can forget about going for maximum detail level and AA/AF when playing in S3D mode…

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10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Felix // Dec 6, 2009 at 20:16

    Hi, great piece, I’ve got a Dell Studio with the same GPU, the 4570 with GDDR3 memory 512mb, 64bit interface. I have tried various drivers from the one it shipped with to the WIn7 beta catalyst to the last four desktop catalysts modified with Mobility modder and the higher score I can get in 3dmark06 at 1366×768 (thats what it runs at, I cant change it) is 3820.

    Yet you are getting quite a bit more, which I don’t understand as my CPU is a Core i7 and gets way over 3200 CPU score. What CPU score are you getting ?

  • 2 Bloody // Dec 6, 2009 at 22:17

    Have you tried disabling the PowerPlay?

  • 3 Adam @ Digital prototyping // Dec 9, 2009 at 12:30

    Make sure the power settings are correct to, the amount of benchmarking I did took 3 hours only to find the system was running at half capacity despite being plugged in!

  • 4 Urs // Dec 13, 2009 at 01:58

    I like to reinstall a clean & fresh system on my 3D Asus – Do you happen to know where on the Asus site exactly I can get all the necessary drivers & application software for Win7 and XP (in one shot if possible) ?

  • 5 Bloody // Dec 13, 2009 at 13:28

    I suppose you mean you have the G51J 3D. Unfortunately the official support (download) page has drivers for Win 7 64-bit: http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=IZcXRDuKvulUEyha

    I suppose that you also know there is no 3D Vision driver for Windows XP available…

  • 6 Urs // Dec 14, 2009 at 02:48

    Sorry, my mistake :( … I meant the ACER Aspire 5738DG-3d just like the one in your fotos. Yesterday there was absolutely nothing easily to be found on the ACER homepage.

    Thanks 4 ur prior response :-)

  • 7 Bloody // Dec 14, 2009 at 10:41

    Open: http://us.acer.com/acer/home.do
    Go to: Service & Support
    Navigate to: Notebook > Aspire > Aspire 5738DG

    The only problem is that the TriDef software is not available there.

  • 8 Urs // Dec 18, 2009 at 02:41

    Thanks. The TriDef Software is exactly my prob :(

  • 9 Urs // Dec 18, 2009 at 02:46

    Aah, by the way unmarking the checkbox in ATI Control Panel worked as you described. Win7 rates Aero graphics 4.1 with and 5.0 without ;-)

    PS: Yes, I know it is not as exact as your measurement but for starters it gives an idea …

  • 10 de3pkeeper // May 7, 2010 at 17:29

    I disabled Power Play for CCC, yet the Memory Clock continues to drag 500 MHz. I’m usin Catalyst 10.3, and even Riva Tuner would only allow OC up to 750 MHz for the memory clock. This is really annoying.

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