Arguably, the biggest negative to the GeForce 7-series was the inability to do both HDR and antialiasing at the same time. With the GeForce 8-series, that is no longer a problem. The perfect game to illustrate both features in action is, of course, Oblivion. A demanding game with either option enabled, both at the same time is an ideal test of what these cards are capable of doing.
I tested at 2560x1600 and 1920x1200 with no antialiasing as a baseline, then 2x and 4x forced in the control panel (because in-game, I kept getting messages that AA/HDR was not supported at the same time).The remaining settings are outlined in the table below.
Oblivion Engine Settings
The graphs below show the frames-per-second run-throughs of the benchmark at 2560x1600 with various levels of antialiasing applied.
Oblivion Average Framerate Scores
Performance was suprisingly solid and, all things considered, antialiasing didn't have the impact I expected it to have. Going from 0x AA to 2x AA, there was only a 20% loss in FPS. I thought I would have an experience similar to what happened in Neverwinter Nights 2 when 4x AA was used in that game, and I thought that 4x AA in Oblivion would just be a slideshow. I was quite wrong and quite pleased. I used a heavily-wooded outdoor area right around an Oblivion gate with a tree in flames, smoke shooting up into the sky with a daedra running around as my custom benchmark. The Oblivion gates are undoutedly one of, if not THE, most graphically intense objects in the game. This video (MPEG-1 5.1MB) shows my run at 2560x1600 with 4x AA enabled and the screenshot below is a look at the area.
Click Image to Enlarge - 2560x1600 (954KB)
The below graphs show the framerates using a resolution of 1920x1200, all other settings the same with antialiasing levels varying on each run.
Oblivion Average Framerate Scores (1920x1200)
Just as was the case with the results in 2560x1600, there was even LESS of a difference between levels of antialiasing, with 0x and 2x being nearly identical. Across the board, I was VERY pleased with Oblivion's perfomance. Besides the awesome performance afforded by the 8800 GTSs in SLI, the game has never looked better than with both HDR and antialiasing enabled simultaneously.