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View Full Version : AA comparison thread - 8xS versus 4x: IQ and performance


Ruined
07-09-04, 04:30 PM
OK, well using the system in my sig, I did some benchmarking and testing using 4x RGMS AA and 8xS AA (1x2 supersampling + 4xRGMS) in the 61.36 drivers.

The point of this thread will be comparing Nvidia's 4x and 8xS modes in a variety of games in both performance and IQ, and playability impressions.

General benefits of 8xS

CRT users - You can play with higher refresh rates at 1024x768 or 1280x1024/960 than at 1600x1200

LCD users - your native refresh rate probably is 1280x1024, not 1600x1200 - 8xS would allow you to play with higher quality AA.

Also, in general some games have smaller HUDs or text in 1600x1200, and with 8xS you could play those games at a lower res and still get nice looking foliage.

Lastly, 8xS can clean up aliased textures, which often is seen as foliage (trees, bushes, etc) in game, while no amount of multisampling (i.e. not even 32x) would be able to clean up these textures.
***

In general, 8xS costs a lot of performance. In fact, when I benchmarked with Painkiller, 1024x768 with 8xS AA/8xAF performed nearly the same as 1600x1200 with 4xAA/8xAF. One may then question the usefulness of 8xS, but there will be quite a few situations where it may be more useful than any form of multisampling.

The first is Call of Duty. I found that 1280x1024 was playable with 8xS with my below rig, and I also found that it's quality was better than 1600x1200 with 4x. Here are some comparison pics for COD:

Mouseover is 8xS.

Shots are full trilinear with 8xAF, taken using CoD's ingame screenshot dump.

1024x768 - 4x versus 8xS
http://www.reflectonreality.com/images/nv40/1024768/cod.html

1280x1024 - 4x versus 8xS
http://www.reflectonreality.com/images/nv40/12801024/cod.html

1600x1200 - 4x versus 8xS
http://www.reflectonreality.com/images/nv40/16001200/cod.html


So despite being able to play 1600x1200 at 4xAA/8xAF, I found that 1280x1024 with 8xS actually looked better due to all the foliage.

1280x1024 8xS:
http://www.reflectonreality.com/images/nv40/12801024/codss.jpg

1600x1200 4x (note the shimmering barbed wire and lower quality trees):
http://www.reflectonreality.com/images/nv40/16001200/cod4x.jpg

The improvements seen in the above 8xS screenshot would not be possible with any amount of multisampling anti aliasing.

Next up is Painkiller. I need to do some more testing but right now it looks like 8xS really isn't going to benefit much in painkiller since there isn't much foliage that I've seen.

FarCry looks like it will see huge benefits from 8xS, but my current drivers won't override the games AA, and I'm not sure how to set 8xS in the game (don't think its possible). With FarCry and the SM3.0 patch, we will probably see 1024x768 or 1280x1024 at best being playable with 8xS, but with all of the foliage in that game it is possible that like CoD, the lower res with 8xS may look better than the higher res with any level of multisampling.

Anyway I'll post to this thread again once I get more comparisons.

anzak
07-09-04, 04:34 PM
Very nice :thumbsup:

Clay
07-09-04, 04:34 PM
:thumbsup: This is cool. Nice touch with the mouseovers as well (I was holding my breath for no animated GIFs) :)

Arioch
07-09-04, 04:37 PM
Is Far Cry playable with 8xS since you mention it takes a huge performance hit? I suppose at lower resolutions it would be. I have a 22" monitor and prefer to play at games at 1600x1200 with AA if possible, 1280x960 if the performance hit is too much. I know Nvidia's AA works differently than it does on my ATI. 6xAA looks great but not worth the performance hit at 1600x1200 and 4xAA looks almost as good.

I am just curious because I am pretty certain I will get the Nvidia refresh card that is out hopefully before the end of the year or if I really see a nice 6800 Ultra that I want. I am so eager to try out 3D glasses again at some point also and ATI doesn't support those at all.

Ruined
07-09-04, 04:43 PM
Is Far Cry playable with 8xS since you mention it takes a huge performance hit? I suppose at lower resolutions it would be. I have a 22" monitor and prefer to play at games at 1600x1200 with AA if possible, 1280x960 if the performance hit is too much. I know Nvidia's AA works differently than it does on my ATI. 6xAA looks great but not worth the performance hit at 1600x1200 and 4xAA looks almost as good.

I am just curious because I am pretty certain I will get the Nvidia refresh card that is out hopefully before the end of the year or if I really see a nice 6800 Ultra that I want. I am so eager to try out 3D glasses again at some point also and ATI doesn't support those at all.

Well I haven't tried FarCry with 8xS, but it will only be playable at 1024x768 or 1280x960 with the SM3.0 patch, no way in hell you'd be able to use it at 1600x1200. That being said, with all of the foliage in FarCry, it might actually look better at those resolutions with 8xS than 1600x1200 with multisampling with all of the foliage.

Arioch
07-09-04, 04:47 PM
Well I haven't tried FarCry with 8xS, but it will only be playable at 1024x768 or 1280x960 with the SM3.0 patch, no way in hell you'd be able to use it at 1600x1200. That being said, with all of the foliage in FarCry, it might actually look better at those resolutions with 8xS than 1600x1200 with multisampling with all of the foliage.

Yeah you may be right. I guess you have to test it with various AA settings and resolution sizes to find what is best for you personally. At least there are more options for Nvidia users. While I am not complaining as the game looks quite good on my PC I wish the game would run better overall. The 1.2 patch is a nice start for NV40 users and hopefully things will get even better after the 1.3 patch for all users. Of course by then other big titles will be out and Far Cry may get "kicked to the curb" so to speak.

Pandora's Box
07-09-04, 05:08 PM
1.3 patch is going to be big for ati users. 3dc support. heh

fivefeet8
07-09-04, 05:08 PM
You can see what 8xS is doing to the textures in those COD shots. Very nice.

burningrave101
07-25-04, 07:46 PM
I run Morrowind at 1600x1200 w/ 8xS + 16xAF. I definitely notice a difference between 8xS and 4xAA.

SH64
07-25-04, 09:26 PM
Nice comparasion ! :)

Btw .. how do you do this mouseover pics swaping ? i'd like to make some AF comparasions for myself & want to use this method since its hard for me to spot differences for each pic ..

Blacklash
07-25-04, 10:11 PM
I had 8xS running in Far Cry with the 61.71 driver, patch 1.1, DevMode and the d3dwrapper by Tommti systems(32). When I patched to 1.2 even with DevMode commands I could not effect it. If I set 4XAA in the config file when I checked in game with the console I had 2xAA, with patch 1.2. The only way I could use 4xAA with 1.2 was to directly set it in the game CP.

I did try setting 8xS without the wrapper and just patch 1.1, it worked, or at least the console reported r_FSAA_samples "8".

So in closing you WON'T be using it with patch 1.2 unless they change something. Even forcing from the driver CP=Nada.