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Written by: David "Spunk" Grampa - January 30, 2000
Last updated by: Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy - December 13, 2002
If you think of any terms to add to this dictionary, please e-mail us!
Fast Writes - Frame Buffer
Fast Writes - A technology that is part of the AGP 2.0 specification. "Fast Writes" is a technique that offers a slight performance benefit with AGP graphics cards. In theory, it allows the CPU to bypass the system memory and send data straight to the graphics chip, eliminating a bottleneck at the memory bus. It was first supported with mainstream graphics adapters by the NVIDIA GeForce 256 product line.
Fill Rate - The rate at which pixels are rendered onto your computer monitor via your video card. Basically, a higher fill rate means better performance, and it is usually measured in millions of pixels per second.
Filtering - Filtering is really explained under bilinear, trilinear, and anistrophic filtering. All you need to know is that its a 3D accelerator's means to smoothing out textures by averaging pixels' colors into values closer to others.
Firewire (IEEE-1394) - Firewire (the standard is now called IEEE-1394) is a high speed serial bus that is commonly used for digital video capturing and audio. Currently its maximum speed is 400 Megabits/second, but with IEEE-1394b, that speed is expected to increase to 1.6 Gigabits/second.
Floating-Point - Floating-point numbers are fractional integers with very precise values. In general, a processor's ability to do fast mathematical floating-point operations means faster and smoother gameplay in games with a 3D video card. Well basically because in all game engines, 3D calculations often involve very precise (and often small) numbers. If you do recall, back in '98, AMD released its 3DNow! enabled line of x86 processors. The main reason why 3DNow! was so hyped was because it offered very fast floating-point instructions, speeding up almost any game that was optimized by a good 5-10 frames per second. This was a step beyond previous AMD chips that were notorious for having weak FPUs (floating point units).
FMV (Full Motion Video) - FMV's are prerendered, non-interactive, and prescripted video clips. For example, the intro movie to a game (that is not rendered real-time).
Fogging - Fogging is another common effect that most 3D accelerators offer. In brief, this is a video card's ability to simulate fog. This can be used by developers of games to put fog in an eerie part of a game, such as coming off steaming water. Also, fogging has been used to conceal pop-up textures and objects in distant planes.
FPS (Frames Per Second) - The most common form of benchmarking the performance of a video card is by looking at its frame rate (measured in FPS) for certain tests. This is how many frames the video card can render in a given second, at the chosen resolution and color depth. Most people consider any frame rate below 30 to be unacceptable, and the borderline for smooth to be about 60. Check out the definition for frame if you're unfamiliar with that term.
Frame - A frame is one still picture rendered to your computer monitor. If you pause a game, and look at the screen, this is one "frame" of animation.
Frame Buffer - The frame buffer is an amount of memory on a video accelerator, set aside to store temporary frames that are being displayed on the screen. A bigger frame buffer in memory size offers more colors, and higher resolutions for that specific 3D card.