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The 3D Dictionary (Page 1/26)

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!

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Radeon - RISC

Radeon - ATI's current product line (at the time of last update to this dictionary) of high-end 3D accelerators is the Radeon chip. It started in 2000 with the standard "Radeon" and with the 9700 on the way, the naming scheme seems like it shall continue a while longer.

RAID - In general, RAID is used to logically combine multiple hard drives into a single drive that's either faster or offers new features. RAID has many "modes", 0 through 5, that are unique. Usually the best performance is offered by RAID 0. RAID 1 combines the best fault protection and performance. RAID 5 requires three or more drives and is not as fast as the others.

-RAID 0 combines two or more hard drives through striping, so for example, two drives' speed is theoretically doubled, as each drive works evenly with a high-load operation. RAID 0 allows for the fastest operation, but if one drive fails, all data is lost.

-RAID 1 allows two or more drives to be mirrored -- that is, everything that is written to one drive is simultaneously written to both drives. The computer acts as though it's one drive and although you lose the extra space from the second drive, it allows a complete backup of the drive at all times and it still essentially doubles (in the case of two drives) the read performance.

-RAID 2 allows a parallel array (every write operation will span across many drives) and has error checking. Most modern RAID controllers do not support this setup as it offers few advantages.

-RAID 3 also writes a parallel array to the drives, but requires one drive be used for parity. Most modern RAID controllers do not support this setup as it offers few advantages and instead use RAID 5.

-RAID 4 is similar to RAID 3 except the stripes are larger. It also requires individual updates to the parity drive. Again, it's generally unsupported by modern RAID controllers.

-RAID 5 is like RAID 4 but each drive is a parity drive.

RAMDAC - Random Access Memory Digital-to-Analog Converter, a.k.a. "RAMDAC", is the chip on a video card that converts digital information to analog, so it can be displayed on an analog monitor. RAMDAC's key components are the RAM to hold the image and digital-to-analog converters, a.k.a. "DACs". In general, the faster the RAMDAC, the higher the possible refresh rate (see below) at higher resolutions. Modern RAMDACs often reach 350 MHz in speed or higher.

RDRAM - RAMBUS, Inc's DRAM, or RDRAM, is used on Pentium IV and possibly future motherboards. The technology results in very fast memory with somewhat poor latency. RDRAM is sold in "RIMMs"

Real time - An action of a computer that corresponds on the same time scale with their real-life counterpart. Real time is also used as a term to differentiate between pre-rendered FMV and live 3D action.

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 hertz, or times per second. Most people argue that a refresh rate under 70 Hz registers flickering in most peoples' eyes, more noticeably when looking at an angle rather than straight.

On a side note, if you're watching television and notice a line moving vertically on a monitor shown on the television, you are seeing the difference in refresh rates of cameras to computer monitors. This doesn't mean the monitor isn't working correctly on the other end of the camera. The only reason why the monitors in The Matrix did not demonstrate this effect was because someone synchronized the refresh rate to the camera.

Resolution - The pixel by pixel ratio used quantitatively to show the number of pixels displayed on a monitor is called its resolution. For example, 640x480, 800x600, and the rest are all examples of resolution or horizontal by vertical number of pixels in a line. In 800x600 mode, there are 800 pixels across, with 600 pixels up/down.

Reverberation - The natural effect of sound being bounced off many objects resulting in continuous echo. Reverberation effects simulate this type of natural effect.

RISC - 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. The reason why console games are so graphically intense with slower processors than PCs is usually due to RISC.

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