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A desert tortoise with the caption "I used to race Achilles, then I took an arrow to the knee"The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax’s upcoming MMOG take on the Elder Scrolls universe is going to have nowhere near the sort of graphical fidelity that you’re used to from, say, Skyrim. And there’s good reasons for that. Reasons that are applicable to pretty much every graphical title you’re likely to encounter, from IMVU and Second Life to … well, Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls Online.

Leaving aside the individual hardware for just a moment, perhaps the single most important factors in graphical performance, is control.

The customer has 3D hardware, and your software contains a tuned and optimised 3D rendering engine and pipeline. That’s great.

However, the best 3D engine on the best 3D hardware can still run about as well as a wounded tortoise if you don’t exercise proper control.

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Dec 5 2010

I’m a bit suspicious about the current state of my nvidia 8600GT video card. About a year ago, I was a bit concerned that it might have been overheating, leading to graphics corruption and crashes. I picked up a couple of tools to monitor the GPU temperature, and found that when it was under heavy loads, the temperature would get quite high – or at least what I felt was quite high – climbing into the low 80s.

That’s 80 degrees Celsius, just 20 degrees short of the temperature where water boils. I got a tweaking tool and ramped the fan profile up a bit, which kept the temperature peaking in the mid 70s, and all seemed to be well.

Yesterday, though, I discovered something odd.

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