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NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS Preview

FSAA & S3TC


I'm not going to cover the details of Full Scene Antialiasing (FSAA) and S3 Texture Compression since we've already taken a look at these features in our earlier Detonator driver reports: Part 1 and Part 2.

NVIDIA has stated that FSAA on the GeForce series of chipsets is handled via hardware. Although the supersampling algorithm NVIDIA chose to use may differ from other graphics chipset vendors implementation of FSAA, the GeForce can provide FSAA rates of 2X-16X per pixel.

OpenGL FSAA Option


And I also won't spent much time discussing FSAA. FSAA reminds me of the 16-bit color versus 32-bit color debate that users endlessly discussed. There's no doubt about the benefits of FSAA. It looks great, but right now, at resolutions other than 640x480 and 800x600 in 16-bit color, it takes a tremendous toll on frame rates. The main point here is that the GeForce series of cards support FSAA and the Detonator drivers give us a choice to either enable or disable it.

Be sure to check out the FSAA web based viewer that appeared a few weeks after this initial preview was published. By moving your mouse over an image, a magnification lens appears allowing close ups to be viewed. There are two pages each having one FSAA and one non-FSAA screen shot from Quake 3 taken on a GeForce2 GTS: Click here to view the low quality image and here for the high quality image.

Note: The version 5.16 Detonator drivers used in this preview do not support FSAA under Direct 3D. NVIDIA will be offering FSAA under Direct 3D in a future driver release.


Quake 3 - FSAA - 640x480

Full size is 87K

Quake 3 - FSAA Benchmark Results

Percent Increase in Frames Per Second


Soldier of Fortune - FSAA - 640x480

Full size is 74K

Soldier of Fortune - FSAA Benchmark Results

Percent Increase in Frames Per Second


The GeForce chipsets also support the complete implemenation of DirectX Texture Compression (DXTC) including S3 Texture Compression. Texture compression can compress texture data by a 6 to 1 ratio which results in fewer bytes of texture memory being sent across the graphics bus. This reduces memory bandwidth required by large textures which translates into increased frame rate as the GPU and other compression components don't have to wait as long to gather texture data.

DirectX Texture Compression Savings

Texture
Size
Uncomp.
w/o
Mipmaps
Uncomp.
w/
Mipmaps
Comp.
w/o
Mipmaps
Comp.
w/
Mipmaps
2048x2048 12,289KB 16,386KB 2,097KB 2,796KB
1024x0124 3,073KB 4,097KB 524KB 683KB
512x512 769KB 1,024KB 131KB 171KB
256x256 193KB 255KB 32KB 43KB
128x128 49KB 62KB 8KB 11KB
64x64 13KB 13KB 2KB 3KB

On the other hand since texture compression allows more and larger textures to be stored in the same memory footprint, developers can increase scence complexity without sacrificing performance. For example, the reatail version of Unreal Tournament includes the ability to install high resolution textures.

Next Page: HDTV Processor


Last Updated on May 12, 2000

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