What's new in 2.000?
Version 2.0 of Fractal eXtreme is a significant rewrite. Fractal eXtreme may not look dramatically different, but there are a lot of changes under the hood.
The biggest changes are Vista support and 64-bit support. 64-bit support (requires a 64-bit operating system such as 64-bit Vista) is particularly exciting because it allows deep-zoom calculations to run up to about 5 times faster! When this is coupled with other optimizations to the deep zoom code the 64-bit version can do deep-zoom calculations about 6.5 times faster than the previous version, and the newly optimized 32-bit version can do deep-zoom calculations almost twice as fast as the previous version. With a multi-core 64-bit system running version 2.0 you can turn renders that used to take weeks into just a matter of days.
The full list of changes is:
- New installer (Vista compatible).
- Vista updates (generated files default to going in the Documents folder).
- 64-bit support -- up to 7.5 times faster than the previous version on the same machine, and up to 5 times faster than the new 32-bit version. A 64-bit CPU and operating system is required for this version.
- Multi-core updates -- Fractal eXtreme has always supported multi-core machines but this support has been enhanced for the new generation of multi-core processors. You should expect an almost perfect fractal calculation speedup for every processor you add to your machine.
- Calculations now continue during animated zoom -- this means that if you are continuously zooming in by holding down 'I' that the calculations of the next fractal image will often have finished before the animated zoom is done, allowing for real-time exploration of fractals. On a sufficiently fast machine (64-bit multi-core recommended) you can real-time zoom in to over one-hundred zooms before the image starts getting blocky, and over five-hundred zooms before it is too blocky to continue zooming without waiting for the frames to calculate.
- Iteration data is preserved when zooming out, to improve real-time performance when zooming out.
- The deep-zoom calculation speed on the 32-bit version is almost double compared to the previous version, due to improved assembly language coding techniques.
- Software bilinear filtering in the zoom movie player is improved (higher quality, supports colour cycling) and is now the default, leading to smooth animations.
- Help has been changed from WinHelp to HTML help and signifiantly updated.
- The zoom movie player now has an option to record per-movie playback settings.
- Miscellaneous minor bug fixes:
- New mouse-wheels are supported.
- Iteration data is preserved when zooming out, to avoid redoing calculations.
- Confirmation when cancelling zoom movie calculations to avoid accidentally cancelling zoom movie renders.
- AVI file creation from zoom movies starts a new file if the first one goes over 2 GB, to avoid the 4 GB AVI file limit.
- More dialogs are sizeable.
- Changes to default settings to better make use of CPUs that are over one hundred times faster than when Fractal eXtreme was first released.
- Many other minor bug fixes and improvements.