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EVE Trinity: New graphics engine calls for a video card checkup

Matt Warner

Traders, Smugglers, Pirates, Miners, Capusuleers from every walk of life! Today marks a momentous occasion in the EVE Online universe. At approximately 6PM PST the EVE servers will be brought down and fitted for the new EVE: Trinity expansion. The downtime is estimated to last 24 hours, which means this is probably our last heads up beforehand to train a time appropriate skill in advance. The amount of new content is intense as Trinity is EVE's biggest expansion ever: New ships, tweaks, tutorials, new everything, and of course, the grand-daddy of Trinity's enhancements: The long-awaited graphical overhaul featuring EVE's new graphic engine dubbed Trinity 2. Confused yet? All that matters is that every ship, stargate, and station remodeled to sweet perfection.

There is a downside, and that is not everyone will be able to enjoy the new radical graphics. Players who do not have a Shader Model 3.0 or DirectX9c compliant video card will be left in the space dust with the classic client. EVE players with DirectX9c and video cards that support Shader Model 3.0 will be able to use the shiny new doodad client. The important thing is everyone can still play EVE Online regardless or not your rig meets the requirements to run the new graphics. What is SM 3.0 and how the hell do you know your video card supports it? To answer that, with the help of the EVE forums, I have compiled the necessary information to help you find out.

(Note: Mac and Linux users will not be able to take advantage of the new graphics until Transgaming patches in Shader Model 3.0 support, which is currently in development and planned to deploy early next year.)

The easiest solution is to find out if your card supports the new graphics engine is to download this utility provided by CCP. If you do not feel comfortable taking shortcuts, you have to do it the hard-way. Remember we need to discern if your video card is Shader Model 3.0 compliant in order to witness EVE's new glitter. If you already know what video card you use, or you are savvy enough to do this already go ahead and skip to the list below.

Instructions on finding out what card you use: The easiest way to do this in Windows XP is by going to Start > Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager > and under Display Adapters you can locate the name of your video card. Or an even faster way is to go to Start > Run > and type in devmgmt.msc and press OK. You can always right click My Computer, hit Properties and click on the Hardware tab and access Device Manager that way too. Either way you do it, get in your Device Manager and look under Display Adapters to find out what video card you are using.

Suffix doesn't matter. For example, if you have an 8800GTS or an 8800GTX , both cards belong to the same series thus supporting the same technology. The clocks may be faster, another card may have more ram and pipes; overall the specifications of the physical hardware may differ, but they support the same technology.



  • Geforce 5200
  • Geforce 5500
  • Geforce 5600
  • Geforce 5700
  • Geforce 5800
DX9 & Shader Model 3:
  • Geforce 6200
  • Geforce 6600
  • Geforce 6800
  • Geforce 7200
  • Geforce 7600
  • Geforce 7800
  • Geforce 7900
  • Geforce 7950
DX10 & Shader Model 4:
  • Geforce 8200
  • Geforce 8600
  • Geforce 8800

  • Radeon 9500
  • Radeon 9550
  • Radeon 9600
  • Radeon 9700
  • Radeon 9800
  • Radeon X300
  • Radeon X550
  • Radeon X600
  • Radeon X700
  • Radeon X800
  • Radeon X850
DX9 & Shader Model 3:
  • Radeon X1050
  • Radeon X1300
  • Radeon X1550
  • Radeon X1600
  • Radeon X1650
  • Radeon X1800
  • Radeon X1900
  • Radeon X1950
DX10 & Shader Model 4:
  • Radeon H2400
  • Radeon H2600
  • Radeon H2900
(Thanks to Grez and other users on the EVE forums for saving me a bunch of research!)

It turns out my ATI card doesn't support SM 3.0. I'll be going with a new NVidia card (most likely an NVidia 8800GT) given my past experience with Radeon cards and EVE Online has cleaved my skull with some massive headaches. The differences in SM2 and SM3? Well, SM2 has a limit of 32+64 shader instructions. SM3 has more than 512. EVE already has shaders in the new graphics engine with more than 200 instructions. Feel free to read up more about this technology on wikipedia.

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