MSI NX8800GTX Review and Mixed-Vendor SLI - Page 2 of 9
Review By Mike Chambers - January 23, 2007
Before diving into benchmark and gameplay performance results, a brief demonstration of two important features that enhance image quality is in order. As an end-user, you are provided with the controls to select any combination of antialiasing and anisotropic texture filtering that you see fit. In fact, many of the performance results in this review are provided with multiple levels of antialiasing enabled along with in-game screenshots based on "playable" settings.
The antialiasing modes offered by the MSI NX8800GTX are demonstrated by using FSAA Tester from Tommti Systems. FSAA Tester has a variety of useful image quality tests such as rendering the below image in an 800x600 sized window. A full set of the 2x enlarged full-size images that are used in our comparison can be downloaded here (~1.5 MB).
Click to Download Full Set of Images
Comparisons are accomplished by clicking on a labeled antialiasing mode located under the displayed image. This action will overlay the displayed image with the selected image (~50 KB). The overlay process will execute much quicker after all of the images have been saved in your browser's cache.
In addition to 8x multisampling antialiasing (MSAA), which is referred to as 8xQ, the MSI NX8800GTX also features 8x, 16x, and 16xQ Coverage Sampling antialiasing (CSAA). In order for CSAA to function, antialiasing must be enabled within an application and is therefore appropriately labeled as "Enhance the application setting."
Note that SLI antialiasing is not available on the GeForce 8 Series at this time.
TEXTURE FILTERING QUALITY
The MSI NX8800GTX has received a significant improvement in the quality of anisotropic texture filtering over previous generations of graphics hardware. Following the end of the GeForce 4-era, in late 2002, texture filtering solutions had been undergoing a series of software and hardware optimizations.
Although the GeForce 4 offered unsurpassed anisotropic filtering quality, its impact on performance was dramatic. Optimizations became necessary for future generations of GPUs to compete, but sometimes had an undesirable effect on mip-map image quality under certain viewing conditions.
Note that both of the programs used in this comparison are available for download. Each program also allows its content to be rotated, which is useful in demonstrating the effects of aliasing on geometry and textures during motion.
For more information about Coverage Sampling Antialiasing and Texture Filtering on the GeForce 8 Series, please refer to NVIDIA's Lumenex Engine Technical Brief (579KB PDF). The NVIDIA Developer web site also features an interactive demo on Coverage Sampling that is available for download.