Hi, thought I'd best post this here...
I've managed to develop a new trade secret, involving a very basic (LOD200) house design placed on a life size decal of the surrounding area (coloured infra map). Finishing touch involves trees and vehicles etc. This always manages to impress a potential (professional) client, and gives a solid idea of how it's going to fit into the surrounding area.
Only problem is you're talking about an image of several megabytes which is then scaled up a several dozen times. From a bird's eye view (about a hundred feet away) it looks really neat. But it takes from 15 up to 30 seconds for a Realistic view to regenerate.
We work on Intel Xeon PC's (3.06ghz) with 8GB of RAM, and an NVidia Quadro FX 580 graphics card (512 MB). I suspect my graphics card is the bottleneck, since decals are supposed to be stored in gfx memory (am I right?)
So my basic question is whether a better graphics adapter would increase performance, and what price range am I looking at if I wanted to see some dramatic improvements? (anything less than 10 seconds for above scenario would be awesome!)
Hardware acceleration is enabled, AA disabled, and I'm using driver version 188.8.131.5242 (not entirely sure whether it is the WHQL driver, but overall performance is adequate).
EDIT - Some more info about the decal. It is typically and ideally a 30x40cm (A3 page format) PDF which I convert to a 600dpi PNG file, then load as decal and scale up to the actual project size.
Inspiration from the ever awesome Tom's Hardware page