If you ever loaded an awesome game on your desktop or laptop, and then watched the action slow to a crawl, HiAlgo understands your pain. The company can help gamers get better performance for their games thanks to a clever technology that makes more efficient use of your graphics processor.
Gamers care about this, since they’re always looking to improve their performance in a game to see more whiz-bang graphics or get a competitive edge on their rivals. And hardware makers care because it enables their machines to do more and keep gamers happy.
HiAlgo’s Boost software executes “agile dynamic resolution.” That means that it evaluates a scene in a game at any given moment to figure out how demanding the graphics are, and it adjust the rendering resolution accordingly. If there’s a lot of motion and lots of objects on the screen at once, like in a big battle scene, the computer will need all of the power of its graphics processing unit (GPU). The resolution is dialed down to improve performance.
But if a character isn’t moving or the action is relatively static, then Boost restores the resolution to its original setting, showed the game in all its glory. The dynamic resolution is agile because it can respond on the fly when the scene changes. In contrast to past methods, HiAlgo’s rendering resolution changes very rapidly — possibly in every frame — based on the camera’s view of the game. It makes the the non-native resolution moments of the gameplay virtually undetectable to the player.
The result is as much as a tripling of the original framerate of the game, said Eugene Fainstain, founder of the company and its chief technology officer. Boost has become the flagship product for Sunnyvale,Calif.-based HiAlgo, and it supports a number of DirectX 9 games.
Those include Counter-Strike: Go, World of Tanks, Team Fortress 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Far Cry 3, Borderlands 2, Tomb Raider, Dishonored, Mafia II, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. HiAlgo was able to do this without asking the game developers to modify their games or hand over source code.
League of Legends and Dota 2 are supported in “switch mode,” which switches the internal game rendering resolution between 100 percent and 50 percent when the user presses the mouse’s middle button. The result is to temporarily increase game performance during the heavy battles – without leaving the battle. Recently, HiAlgo further modified Boost so that it can support even more games. It is working on support for games that use newer versions of DirectX, but that will happen in the future.
HiAlgo also has a feature dubbed Chill, which is essentially a smart frame rate limiter. It caps the frame rate of a game at 30 frames per second, or halves it when the player is standing still in a game. It provides up to full 100 percent performance depending on the speed of in-game activity.
The benefit is that Chill doesn’t impact the gameplay, but it allows the system to cool down at various moments. That prevents overheating and subsequent lowering of GPU and central processing unit (CPU) speeds. It thus prevents performance loss.
HiAlgo was founded in 2011, and it has just five employees. It has no real competitors except the chip makers who try to make their own chips more efficient with each generation. The company is self-funded. Gamers have left a lot of testimonials on HiAlgo’s site about how they can’t live without Boost.
Fainstain has more than 30 patents, and he was the architect behind Samsung’s award-winning image sensor which is used in more than 500 million smartphones. His cofounder is Alex Tsodikov, chief executive and a former chip testing and product engineer.