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NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT AGP Preview - Page 2 of 4

ENEMY TERRITORY

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is free and continues to be a popular multi-player game. A new custom demo was recorded for this preview, which takes place on the Radar map. The demo contains 2,532 frames and takes about 2 minutes to complete at normal game speed. The benchmark results are based on playing the demo at full speed, which takes around 20-25 seconds to complete.

Minimum Frame Rate Occurrence

The minimum frame rate during the Radar demo occurs in the area pictured in the above screenshot. The Radar map contains weather effects, such as rain and lightning, and the rendering of the dense grass in this particular area helped to reduce performance. At 1600x1200 with 4X AA and 8X AF under the Quality Image setting, the minimum frame rate on the GeForce 6600 GT was 26. The minimum frame rate was 22 using the High Quality Image setting.

Note that the ForceWare driver Image Settings and corresponding texture filtering optimizations that are available on the GeForce 6 Series are documented in this table.

Benchmark Settings

Benchmark Results

Although not shown in the results, with 8XS AA and 8X AF enabled at 1024x768, the GeForce 6600 GT AGP averaged 61 frames per second. The minimum frame rate was 31.

CALL OF DUTY

A custom demo from the POW Camp map was used to test Call of Duty. This demo is more intensive on the system than the standard Timedemo1 demo. Keeping an eye on the real-time frame rate counter while playing back the demo at normal game speed revealed that the minimum frame rate occurred in the scene pictured below. At 1600x1200 with 4X AA and 8X AF under the Quality Image setting, the minimum frame rate on the GeForce 6600 GT was 30. The minimum frame rate dropped to 16 under the High Quality Image setting.

Minimum Frame Rate Occurrence

Update: NVIDIA has posted beta driver 67.02 for Windows XP and Windows 2000 at their nZone web site. A new Performance and Quality option that specifically addresses texture aliasing has been added. The following information was copied from NVIDIA's ForceWare Graphics Driver Release Notes.

Added new Performance and Quality option-Negative LOD bias

This control lets the user manually set negative LOD bias to "clamp" for applications that automatically enable anisotropic filtering. Applications sometimes use negative LOD bias to sharpen texture filtering. This sharpens the stationary image but introduces aliasing when the scene is in motion.

Because anisotropic filtering provides texture sharpening without unwanted aliasing, it is desirable to clamp LOD bias when anisotropic filtering is enabled. When the user enables anisotropic filtering through the control panel, the control is automatically set to "Clamp".

Concerning image quality, I noticed that the ground textures used in the POW Camp map caused noticeable texture shimmering on the GeForce 6600 GT when a high level of anisotropic filtering was enabled under the Quality Image setting. However, the Radeon 9800 Pro also suffered from a similar shimmering effect - even with the highest quality texture settings enabled in the Catalyst driver control panel.

With the GeForce 6 Series optimization features that are engineered in the ForceWare drivers, the texture shimmering effect can be greatly reduced or virtually eliminated in many cases. For example, the following screenshot shows the optimizations that are enabled when the Quality Image setting is used. Note that the show advanced settings checkbox must be checked in order to view or modify the various texture filtering optimization settings.

Quality Image Settings

In Call of Duty, turning off all texture filtering optimizations under the Quality Image setting resulted in a noticeable decrease in the severity of texture shimmering. This caused a minor impact on performance and most users should be satisfied using this setting.

Note that anisotropic mip filter optimizations are disabled by default. If the anisotropic filtering setting is manually changed from application controlled to off, 2X, 4X, 8X, or 16X, the anisotropic mip filter optimization settings will be changed to on.

Restore Driver Settings

This is not the case when using the High Quality Image setting. Full trilinear filtering is delivered as all texture filtering optimizations are disabled and cannot be changed.

High Quality Image Settings

The High Quality Image setting virtually eliminated the texture shimmering effect in Call of Duty. However, a corresponding 20-30% decrease in performance occurred with 4X AA and 8X AF enabled at resolutions of 1024x768 (20%), 1280x1024 (25%), and 1600x1200 (30%).

Benchmark Settings

Another possible solution to reducing the texture shimmering effect when optimizations are enabled is to lower the in-game texture quality level. While not as comprehensive as Unreal Tournament 2004, the character and general texture settings in Call of Duty consist of Low, Normal, High, and Extra.

Call of Duty Performance

With 8XS AA and 8X AF enabled at 1024x768, the GeForce 6600 GT AGP averaged 53 frames per second while the minimum frame rate was 30. Decreasing the texture quality from maximum to high resulted in an average of 68 and minimum of 49 frames per second.

Next Page: Neverwinter Nights and Doom 3

Last Updated on November 23, 2004


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