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ChrisRay
08-30-05, 10:11 AM
Update: As most of you are unlikely aware. I have been e-mail contact with Nvidia over the issue regarding shimmering for the past few weeks.

The Problem: Shimmering is a problem that can occur between mipmap transisitions on various hardware within the G70 series. Prior on the Geforce 6 series you could set the LoD clamp and turn on High Quality and shimmering would be removed. However it turns out that these fixes did not provide adequate results on Geforce 7 hardware.

The Solution: Nvidia has provided me with an early beta sample of the drivers for testing purposes and feedback. It is very important to understand that these preliminary beta drivers and should be taken as such. There will likely be changes in the future to them.



My Quality Observations

Note: The software used in these tests is extremely sensitive to shimmering and texturing. Most applications do not exhibit behavior similar to these tests in such a similar severity. And many would not see results comparable to this in most games. I would also like to point out. These tests are not perfect. And I dont claim them to be so. But they do adequately show and describe the problem/solution.

Quality 77.77 Geforce 7800GTX: The "Shimmering" effect is fairly obvious on these tests. Multiple visible mipmap transistions can be seen.

http://www.nvnews.net/articles/chrisray_iq/filterfix/g70quality.avi

High Quality 77.77 Geforce 7800GTX: As has been reported. Even with High quality mode the Geforce 7800GTX would exhibit shimmering. While there is an improvement. Shimmering is not removed.

http://www.nvnews.net/articles/chrisray_iq/filterfix/g70hq.avi

Quality 77.77 Geforce 6800GT: The Geforce 6800GT in Quality mode exhibits slightly higher quality than the 7800GTX in Quality mode.

http://www.nvnews.net/articles/chrisray_iq/filterfix/nv4xquality.avi

High Quality 77.77 Geforce 6800GT: The Geforce 6800GT in High Quality modes offers fairly significant quality advantages over the 7800GTX in High Quality mode reducing shimmering significantly.

http://www.nvnews.net/articles/chrisray_iq/filterfix/nv4xhq.avi


Geforce 7800GTX Quality Beta: The filtering quality in Quality mode is still comparable to that in on the 77.77 drivers. I urge people to remember that these are still very beta and this could possibly change in the near future.

http://www.nvnews.net/articles/chrisray_iq/filterfix/g70newquality.avi

Geforce 7800GTX High Quality Beta: When looking at the Geforce 7800GTX in High Quality mode. We can see that the quality is significantly increased. I have found the new 7800GTX HQ mode to be fairly comparable to the 6800GT High Quality mode with older drivers. Many games that experience shimmering have been fixed. It should be noted that it is unlikely that shimmering will ever disapear completely as there are multiple forms of aliasing across surfaces.

http://www.nvnews.net/articles/chrisray_iq/filterfix/g70newhq.avi

Update

Geforce 7800GTX 77.77: This is an uploaded WOW comparison to help people see the shimmering reduction from another software point of view. Both tests were performed in High Quality.

http://www.nvnews.net/articles/chrisray_iq/filterfix/wowhqold.avi

Geforce 7800GTX Beta: This is an updated WoW comparison to help people see the shimmering reduction from another software point of view. Both tests were performed in High Quality.

http://www.nvnews.net/articles/chrisray_iq/filterfix/wowhqnew.avi


Performance Results

Performance Note: Finding software that was consistently fillrate limited and exhibiting texture aliasing was a daunting task. I chose to use select tests from the futuremark 3dmark series which have shown themselves to be adequately bound by fillrate.


http://www.nvnews.net/articles/chrisray_iq/filterfix/filterperf.png

Peformance Thoughts: The graphs pretty much speak for themselves. While it is obvious that performance will vary software to software. I have found the performance differences between the old and new drivers in high quality mode to be nothing worth splitting hairs over and can easily be explained by a different driver revision. Considering this. People who have been playing in High Quality mode will not have to worry about a significant performance impact.

Final Thoughts: I am glad that Nvidia has been fast and reactive on this issue. Early beta drivers are looking promising and I expect future drivers to continue to improve upon what we are seeing here. I would like to thank Nvidia for their fast responces and for the work they have done on this already. I would also like to thank those who have helped me investigate the issue. Including Rys of hexus.net, ailuros over at beyond3d, and of course the nvnews staff for allowing me to cooridinate my research at nvnews.

Last Note: These drivers are beta and could to be improved upon before release. The point of this post is to show people that Nvidia are indeed aware of the issue and actively working to improve it.. Keep in mind that changes could be made from the date I post this and the date the drivers go live. I will not be leaking these drivers. So do not ask.

Kombatant
08-30-05, 10:22 AM
I am certain the nV engineers will fix this almost completely when the driver is released to the public; they just need to pinpoint the cases where the filtering is not acting the way it's supposed to. And that can take some time :)

ChrisRay
08-30-05, 10:30 AM
I am certain the nV engineers will fix this almost completely when the driver is released to the public; they just need to pinpoint the cases where the filtering is not acting the way it's supposed to. And that can take some time :)


Yup. As I've been stressing to people. These things take time. But is very important for people to know Nvidia is listening. And it's not like they want people to be experiencing issues. To be honest this is one of the quickest things they've actively fixed in sometime.

Ninjaman09
08-30-05, 10:37 AM
Can't play the videos. I have the most recent XviD and Divx installed, what gives?

ChrisRay
08-30-05, 10:38 AM
You need the fraps codec.

Demigod
08-30-05, 10:38 AM
Great news thanks for posting the info

Ninjaman09
08-30-05, 10:41 AM
Ah cool, working now. :D

|MaguS|
08-30-05, 10:46 AM
ChrisRay, could you do a comparison of the shimmering using WoW or another game that its more noticable. EQ1 isn't the greatest.

ChrisRay
08-30-05, 10:50 AM
ChrisRay, could you do a comparison of the shimmering using WoW or another game that its more noticable. EQ1 isn't the greatest.


I disagree. Everquest 1 is significantly more sensitive to shimmer with AF than WoW or EQ 2 or even Guild Wars. As it will exhibit shimmering on all hardware. Secondly EQ 1's simple texture makeup makes this an ideal software for testing filtering on simple textures. The effect will not be made transparent in any way by normal maps or specular effects across surfaces.

Besides. I played WoW for 3 hours tonight and couldnt see a single shimmer in HQ mode.

Ninjaman09
08-30-05, 10:58 AM
I'm sorry, I don't see any difference at all between the 77.77 HQ and the 78.03 HQ. Maybe due to compression?

ChrisRay
08-30-05, 11:03 AM
I'm sorry, I don't see any difference at all between the 77.77 HQ and the 78.03 HQ. Maybe due to compression?


I think you may be seeing a result of the time of day the video was taken. Compared to the Nv4xhq.avi they are very similar. Like I said. This software tends to show shimmering at excessive levels on pretty much all hardware I have tested. I am probably going to retake the EQ 77.77 video at the same time setting. ((in game obviously for the scrutinizing people))

Also keep in mind that these were recorded @ 640x480 resolution which amplifies the affect.

Ninjaman09
08-30-05, 11:19 AM
I think you may be seeing a result of the time of day the video was taken. Compared to the Nv4xhq.avi they are very similar. Like I said. This software tends to show shimmering at excessive levels on pretty much all hardware I have tested. I am probably going to retake the EQ 77.77 video at the same time setting. ((in game obviously for the scrutinizing people))

Also keep in mind that these were recorded @ 640x480 resolution which amplifies the affect.
Yeah, that makes sense. Well cool, thanks for putting the videos up and keeping us informed! It really is good to hear that nVidia's on the ball with this issue as it's something that's been bothering me quite a bit since I got my 7800. Looking forward to playing WoW without distracting shimmering. :D

JaxMacFL
08-30-05, 11:25 AM
Good info. Any estimate on the release date?

PNY7800GTX
08-30-05, 11:30 AM
I would imagine 2 months would hold for WHQL release, Rollo mentioned seeing them soon on NZONE as beta.

PNY7800GTX
08-30-05, 11:39 AM
Is Nvidia using beta testers in the community like ATI is yet? If this got by the internal testers I'd say they are blind to not see it.

I know ATI is getting crushed by NV right now, however I do really like the way ATIs drivers are tested by gamers in the community, make it easy to submit feedback and bugs and update drivers monthly. I saw a few problems I saw submitted with the ATI drivers get fixed within one driver cycle. Was pretty cool to actually get some results and that quickly!

acrh2
08-30-05, 11:50 AM
I am sorry, but am I blind? I'm seeing absolutely no diffence in shimmering amounts between the two sets of drivers. In other words, judging from videos above, there's no fix of shimmering with new drivers, at least on 7800gtx (which is what I have).

Graphicmaniac
08-30-05, 12:10 PM
uppering IQ with no speed loss means that they had also improved performance?

PNY7800GTX
08-30-05, 12:15 PM
uppering IQ with no speed loss means that they had also improved performance?

No, it means it was just a bug. HQ is still lower performance than Quality so nothing but a bug has been fixed.

Ninjaman09
08-30-05, 12:17 PM
I am sorry, but am I blind? I'm seeing absolutely no diffence in shimmering amounts between the two sets of drivers. In other words, judging from videos above, there's no fix of shimmering with new drivers, at least on 7800gtx (which is what I have).
I didn't notice a difference either, but I'll take Chris's word that it shows a big improvement on other titles. Like he said the night/day difference and low resolution (640x480) likely affected the IQ as well.

SH64
08-30-05, 12:20 PM
I suppose that title should be "shimmer-free drivers" ?? :p

anyway its good news no doubt , but it wont be an interesting matter until people get to try them out.

McCracken
08-30-05, 12:22 PM
the 78.03HQGTX vid should be at the same daylight as the 77.77HQGTX vid. Can't see that much at night ;)

those that can't see any diff: look at the left edge of the stone path...

rudedog
08-30-05, 12:46 PM
Does this have anything to do with this new INQ story

"Germans claim Nvidia caught "over optimising" "
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=25807

Those guys noticed a texture shimmering problem when you are using normal driver settings. This was the case with NV40 cards but you could resolve this flickering by using high quality driver settings. This won't work on G70 based cards, so the guys well known for its thorough benchmarks went digging a little deeper into the chip.

It turns out that Nvidia is not doing anisotropic filtering the way it should and that the picture quality is the one to suffer. You will get the shimmering effect on your textures whenever you are using Geforce 7800GTX cards but you won't see this using Radeon cards.

The guys claimed that all NV40 and G70 cards will suffer from the same flickering problem and that these cards have "by far worse AF quality". They also add that Nvidia got the flickering because it was using general under sampling and as a result is getting the flickers. It's interesting to note that older Geforce 5800 Ultra won't suffer from this, just the new cards that 6800 or 7800 based.

AstroCat
08-30-05, 12:51 PM
Yeah, I dont see a difference in the vids either, I see bad shimmering on both, and I definitely get the shimmering issues with every game I play. I have 7800GTX.

Hope this gets fixed....

aAv7
08-30-05, 01:30 PM
Here's my question, if you put the settings to High Quality mode, it kills performance in a game like HL2 when playing @ 1600x1200 4xaa 16xaf, so what setting should I reduce? HQ mode does what, exactly? Add it's own AF? So then to even out performance I should do like 4xaa/4xaf?


I wish they would come up with a fix for quality mode, why is it only HQ? Why not fix the option 99% of us use?

aAv7
08-30-05, 01:35 PM
Does this have anything to do with this new INQ story

"Germans claim Nvidia caught "over optimising" "
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=25807

Those guys noticed a texture shimmering problem when you are using normal driver settings. This was the case with NV40 cards but you could resolve this flickering by using high quality driver settings. This won't work on G70 based cards, so the guys well known for its thorough benchmarks went digging a little deeper into the chip.

It turns out that Nvidia is not doing anisotropic filtering the way it should and that the picture quality is the one to suffer. You will get the shimmering effect on your textures whenever you are using Geforce 7800GTX cards but you won't see this using Radeon cards.

The guys claimed that all NV40 and G70 cards will suffer from the same flickering problem and that these cards have "by far worse AF quality". They also add that Nvidia got the flickering because it was using general under sampling and as a result is getting the flickers. It's interesting to note that older Geforce 5800 Ultra won't suffer from this, just the new cards that 6800 or 7800 based.


Another German web site Computerbase , went a step further. It made a custom driver by changing the inf, where the driver could not recognise 7800GTX and use its optimisations. The card was listed as unknown but was working just fine. But when the guys went testing they noticed a massive performance drop when using those drivers, close to 30 percent and related it to anisotropic filtering. Nvidia has a lot to explain.

3DCenter, for the original article, is here in English while the Computerbase German article is here. We will ask Nvidia what is going on but we think there's something up. At lease the guys proved it isnít a hardware bug - it's a driver problem only but performance drops dramatically as soon as you resolve it

Interesting....30 percent drops? If all optimizations are unrecognized? I'm glad I held off on the 7800gtx.