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Ge3dfx
03-28-05, 03:09 PM
I'm a longtime 3dfx\Nvidia customer, and just recently upgraded from my old 4200TI to a Leadtek 6600GT. I was hesitant to upgrade because you just never know how the quality is going to compare to what you have already. The 5xxx series supposedly had quality issues, so I skipped that generation entirely. After reading through several reviews and user feedback, I was convinced that Nvidia was finally back on track with the 6xxx series. The AA was supposedly better than ever, which is what I gathered from the glowing reviews about the "gamma corrected AA." Having smooth AA appeals to me, as I'd rather have a game running at 30fps with quality AA\AF than at 60fps with poor AA\AF. I'm sure there are a few of you out there who are the same way.

Over the weekend I finally had the chance to test out this card's quality. To my disappointment, the first thing I noticed was that 16x, 8x, 8xS, and 6xS are all inferior to 4xS. For those of you who used to have GF4's, you may recall the ORIGINAL hidden 6xS mode (or 8xS -- it was undocumented afaik), which seems to be no longer available for whatever reason. This was a true step up from 4xS. While slow, it was a perfect solution for older 3D games and emulators, as these games were able to use this mode at a high speed -- alias free. With the 6xxx series, I was expecting it or something better in it's place, but with improved speed.

Speed wise, I'm very happy with the 6600GT. It's a huge improvement in speed, with seemingly superior AF (I haven't tested it yet), but there's no question that Nvidia's IQ has taken a step back, by not only failing to improve it's AA, but by also taking a step back. This step back places it behind the 4xxx series it released 2 generations ago, which is something I consider absolutely unacceptable for a new $200 - $400 video card.

The selling point for me was the 6xS (or higher, as I was expecting...) AA mode. ATI cards don't AA alpha textures, which limits their effectiveness. However, without the original 6xS mode and a poor implementation of every AA mode higher than 6, the ATI is looking like a superior alternative to this 6600GT I just bought.

I've personally tested FSAAModes 01-20, and a handful of other known modes as well. I've taken screen shots of multiple angles from my GF4 and compared them to my GF6. So this isn't speculation on my part, I just have yet to discover a higher quality mode than 4xS. If it's hidden, or if Nvidia plans to improve them in a future driver release, do tell!

While this topic has been discussed before, I don't believe the previous discussions put this subject into proper light. They were informative, but the bottom line is that the AA quality for these cards are completely unacceptable.

Zelda_fan
03-28-05, 03:14 PM
Hmmm... what drivers are you useing, and what game? I have a 6800GT, and I upgraded from a TI4600. In my opinion the AA quality is better, and it is the first card I've seen that has AA quality on par with my old Voodoo5.

Ge3dfx
03-28-05, 03:36 PM
jonk,

So far I've tested the 66.93 and 76.41 sets.

Have you ever tried the hidden xS mode with the 4xxx drivers? If so, you'd realize the difference I'm speaking of. Perhaps you didn't use it, or you're just more tolerant than I am, which is fine too. Most people probably don't go off the deep end comparing screen shots the way I do, so perhaps I'm just nuts. The problem in a nutshell is that the newer AA implementations don't blend as well as the old. Rather than blending each step all the way to the next, the blending stops at about the halfway point and leaves the other half aliased. The staircase effect, while much smoother, is still quite noticeable.

At any rate, here's a partial list of the games I've tested so far:

Metal Gear Solid
System Shock 2
ePSXe
Half-Life 2
World of Warcraft
Guildwars

The bottom line is that every D3D game I've tested uses the same AA methods, so that's not at issue. Perhaps an older driver set may have hidden support for the higher quality mode used with the 4xxx series, but what good does that do me or any of us if we can't use those drivers to play our newer games without slowdowns and glitches that were addressed in the most recent driver sets?

It just isn't a driver issue as long as Nvidia refuses to support quality AA.

nVidiaGuru
03-28-05, 03:52 PM
are you using the drivers to force AA or are you using the application settings to use AA?

nvidia drivers are wierd in the fact that if you force AA with the applications settings the quality is MUCH better than forcing AA through the drivers.

This may not apply to all games but in most cases it does.

Edge
03-28-05, 03:54 PM
As far as I can tell, the regular 8xS mode on 6x00 cards is the same as the 8xS mode on ti4200 cards. Only the "simplified" method looks worse. And 16xAA looks spectacular, it definatly beats the crap out of 4xS in every possible way (since it's basically 4xS except using 4x/4x samples instead of 2x/2x). The 6xAA mode however is kinda useless, you're better off just using 4xS or 8xS.

I'm a major AA user as well, but I've been more than happy with my upgrade from a ti4200 to a 6600gt. Especially the regular AA modes like 4x look MUCH better, and 8xS is now totally useable in almost every older game while having the same image quality, as far as I can tell. I'm not sure what you saw in the ti4200 that looked better...you wouldn't happen to have any comparision screenshots, would you?

Ge3dfx
03-28-05, 04:12 PM
nVidiaGuru,

Most older 3D games require the AA settings to be set by the drivers. In these instances, the AA patterns are as exactly as I've described them. The blending doesn't stretch far enough on semi-flat surfaces and the patterns above 4xS are simply unacceptable considering they're numerically higher than 4xS.

As for setting AA within an application, what control does an application or game have over AA patterns? I always thought that such settings were merely on/off switches there for ease of use. I realize that flaky drivers could cause this, but I don't believe such results would be a dominant trend in a test that involved games old and new.

gram_vaz
03-28-05, 04:26 PM
nvm. :angel:

ChrisRay
03-28-05, 07:35 PM
There were two 8x AA in the Nvidia drivers back in the Geforce 4 era. One was 1x2 OGSS + 4x OGMS. It was an absolute performance killer and looked awful. Then there was the 2x2 OGSS + 2x RGMS which was on the geforce 4/geforce FX known as 8xS AA. This mode has always looked good but invoked a huge performance hit. The new 8xS on the Geforce 6 line actually provides superior EER than either 4xS or the old 8xS. The old 8xS was superior for texture quality however.

superklye
03-28-05, 07:44 PM
There were two 8x AA in the Nvidia drivers back in the Geforce 4 era. One was 1x2 OGSS + 4x OGMS. It was an absolute performance killer and looked awful. Then there was the 2x2 OGSS + 2x RGMS which was on the geforce 4/geforce FX known as 8xS AA. This mode has always looked good but invoked a huge performance hit. The new 8xS on the Geforce 6 line actually provides superior EER than either 4xS or the old 8xS. The old 8xS was superior for texture quality however.
So do you recommend 8xS for the 6800 line or sticking with 4x?

ChrisRay
03-28-05, 07:47 PM
well IMO 4x RGMS is the best performance/quality mode available on the Geforce 6 series. Actually IMO unless you care about texture quality it offers the same EER as 4xS. And in some cases better.

I really strongly urge people who are interested in this to check out my Nv4x Anti Aliasing Investigation (http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=30641&highlight=Anti+Aliasing)

$n][pErMan
03-28-05, 07:54 PM
from my understanding .. the 6800 series is for AA (at least .. it works perfect for me) ... and the 6600 series is more of a value card and those who are not looking for max AA.

superklye
03-28-05, 07:56 PM
well IMO 4x RGMS is the best performance/quality mode available on the Geforce 6 series. Actually IMO unless you care about texture quality it offers the same EER as 4xS. And in some cases better.

I really strongly urge people who are interested in this to check out my Nv4x Anti Aliasing Investigation (http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=30641&highlight=Anti+Aliasing)
Will do. Thanks. :)

ChrisRay
03-28-05, 08:09 PM
One thing I would like to point out. The Original 6xS mode "is" still available from the geforce 4 era in the drivers. Its just really crappy IMO. And doesnt offer very good quality/performance. When the Geforce 4 was out and the FX was on the horizon. There were 2 forms of 8x and 1 form of 6x. Theres now the 12x mode which replaced the old 6x ((Which its superior too)) but the old 6x is still available.

gram_vaz
03-28-05, 08:11 PM
how do i choose 4x RGMS. all i get are off, 2x, 2xQ, 4x, and 8xS

ChrisRay
03-28-05, 08:15 PM
how do i choose 4x RGMS. all i get are off, 2x, 2xQ, 4x, and 8xS


4x is RGMS by default for Nvidia users with Geforce 6 series cards.

$n][pErMan
03-28-05, 09:08 PM
I found 4x on my 6800GT is the best option for performance / quality. Some games 8xS works great ... others its to much of a hit and/or acctually makes things look fuzzy.

nVidiaGuru
03-29-05, 01:18 AM
nVidiaGuru,

Most older 3D games require the AA settings to be set by the drivers. In these instances, the AA patterns are as exactly as I've described them. The blending doesn't stretch far enough on semi-flat surfaces and the patterns above 4xS are simply unacceptable considering they're numerically higher than 4xS.

As for setting AA within an application, what control does an application or game have over AA patterns? I always thought that such settings were merely on/off switches there for ease of use. I realize that flaky drivers could cause this, but I don't believe such results would be a dominant trend in a test that involved games old and new.


True, I dont play many older games these days. However with the newer games coming out like farcry, hl2, doom3 the AA can be set within the games settings. Here in this thread @post #7 http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=48260 macatak did a small comparison between AA set in game vs. AA set via drivers

Neova
03-29-05, 05:04 AM
There were two 8x AA in the Nvidia drivers back in the Geforce 4 era. ... Then there was the 2x2 OGSS + 2x RGMS which was on the geforce 4/geforce FX known as 8xS AA. This mode has always looked good but invoked a huge performance hit. The new 8xS on the Geforce 6 line actually provides superior EER than either 4xS or the old 8xS. The old 8xS was superior for texture quality however.

I'm still on my Ti4200 just for this one reason. The Superior 8xS AA quality! Is there a way to force the "old" 8xS onto the new GF 6x00 line?

If I can have my AA and keep my games above ~ 60 FPS @ 1600x1200, them I'm buying into that SLI hype RIGHT NOW.

And no, I can't do 1600x1200x8XSx8xAF on the Ti4200 with playable FPs, but it sure looks DAMN pretty. :D

saturnotaku
03-29-05, 08:33 AM
I'm still on my Ti4200 just for this one reason. The Superior 8xS AA quality! Is there a way to force the "old" 8xS onto the new GF 6x00 line?

It can be forced through RivaTuner or aTuner.

And no, I can't do 1600x1200x8XSx8xAF on the Ti4200 with playable FPs, but it sure looks DAMN pretty. :D

If you're looking to do it in games like Unreal or Quake 3, then it's possible right now. But for ones like Far Cry or HL2, you're still going to be in for a long wait before those settings are playable.

Gentle
03-29-05, 09:57 AM
You can also use nHancer, I think to get to the other antialiasing modes.

More info on nHancer can be found here.
http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=45204

Gentle

Ge3dfx
03-29-05, 10:56 AM
One thing I would like to point out. The Original 6xS mode "is" still available from the geforce 4 era in the drivers. Its just really crappy IMO. And doesnt offer very good quality/performance. When the Geforce 4 was out and the FX was on the horizon. There were 2 forms of 8x and 1 form of 6x. Theres now the 12x mode which replaced the old 6x ((Which its superior too)) but the old 6x is still available.Ok, the mode I used on my 4200TI was the old 8xS then. 6xS must've been the mode with the funky dot blending.

Ge3dfx
03-29-05, 10:58 AM
I've pinpointed some of the problems and they seem to be isolated to mostly older games. A combination of 16 bit color games and/or directx 6/7 games seem to be exhibiting problems in either AF or AA (with the latest beta drivers). System Shock 2 (16 bit color game) doesn't seem to be utilizing AF whatsoever, but the AA modes are working fantastic with it. 16x mode is as good as advertised, although it's fill rate limited on the 6600GT. I achieve ~50fps on average with it, so it's definitely usable with older games. Emulators, such as Project 64, seem to exhibit AA issues with the direct 6/7 plugins. Jabo's popular video plugins exhibit the gimped blending behavior in AA that I described earlier. The blending lines are shortened, which means the staircasing is still present. It's just that each stair has a slight amount of AA on it, so it just gives the impression of a smoother stair...

The newer video plugins don't exhibit this behavior, but these plugins lack the compatibility of Jabo's, which is certainly an issue for those running this emulator.

Currently I'm running the latest beta drivers, but am interested in testing out a few more sets to see if any of them offer improved backwards compatibility. If someone can share with me the version number of the first driver release for the 6xxx series, I'll use that as my starting point and work my way up through some of the more popular sets.

Grestorn
03-29-05, 10:59 AM
To see a visual comparison of all the anti-aliasing modes, check out this link:
www.nhancer.com/help/AA.htm

Ge3dfx
03-29-05, 11:14 AM
Thanks for the link, Grestorn. I looked over the AA comparison photos and couldn't help but notice that the reviewer was using the broken version of the old 8xS mode. In the photos it's clearly inferior to 4xS mode, which really isn't the case when it's working properly. Fully functional, the old 8xS mode would closely resemble the new 16x mode.

Grestorn
03-29-05, 11:35 AM
Thanks for the link, Grestorn. I looked over the AA comparison photos and couldn't help but notice that the reviewer was using the broken version of the old 8xS mode. In the photos it's clearly inferior to 4xS mode, which really isn't the case when it's working properly. Fully functional, the old 8xS mode would closely resemble the new 16x mode.
The "reviewer" is me. These pages are part of my new web site that will go public in the next couple of days...

Yes, the 8xS shows the implementation of the current drivers. It's somewhat strange, but it's not out right broken. And I don't see how you can say that it's inferior to the 4xS mode, which is most definitely not true. Just look at the tree branches, they are filiteres using a 2x2 SS mode in 8xS old, not just 2x1 like in 4xS.
The multisampling component of 8xS old is strange, I agree. But it's there (as you can see at the top edge of the zoomed wall). So in my opinion theres's the following order:

4xS < 8xS < 8xS old < 16xS