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Old 02-06-03, 08:30 PM   #1
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Many people come into this forum and ask questions like "what does Texture Sharpening do? What is the difference between Application/Balanced/Aggressive in the driver panel? The answers have been discussed, but they are usually buried in some old driver thread. You can find Detonator drivers at the following places.

*note* Application/Balanced/Aggressive is known as Application/Quality/Performance in driver 43.45.

*note* Application/Balanced/Aggressive is known as Quality/Balanced/Performance in driver 43.51.

*note* Application/Balanced/Aggressive is known as Quality/Performance/High Performance in driver 44.03.

The purpose of this thread is to create easy access for everyone, and a reference point that can be quickly linked to whenever someone asks about these settings.

It may be prudent to take a look at the summary of my findings, here. I provide concise conclusions in that post, as well as dicuss the driver settings as they pertain to GeForceFX cards.

Tests run with a GeForce3, WinME driver 42.30 and DX8.1
SBA and FastWrites disabled by default
Percentages are the dropoff from the baseline IQ(ie no FSAA or AF)

3DMark2001 Results
Application: 5050
2x FSAA: 3946 -21.9%
4x FSAA: 2700 -46.5%
2x AF: 4478 -11.3%
4x AF: 3881 -23.1%
8x AF: 3472 -31.2%

Balanced: 6582
2x FSAA: 5080 -22.8%
4x FSAA: 3370 -48.8%
2x AF: 6014 -8.6%
4x AF: 5429 -17.%
8x AF: 4913 -25.4%

Aggressive: 6617
2x FSAA: 5110 -22.8%
4x FSAA: 3377 -49.0%
2x AF: 6087 -8.0%
4x AF: 5479 -17.2%
8x AF: 4955 -29.3%

It is clear in drivers previous to 4x.xx series, before nvidia implemented this system of A/B/A, that drivers were most closely matched to Balanced. So let's see how much faster/slower Aggressive and Application are from Balanced. Notice that both Balanced and Aggressive suffer less of a performance drop when enabling AF than Application does.

Application: -23.3% -22.3% -19.9% -25.5% -28.5% -29.3%
Aggressive: +1.0% +1.0% +0.2% +1.0% +1.0% +1.0%

Application seems to be 20% slower than Balanced or Aggressive across the board. I have no idea why.

Now here's some FSAA/AF benchmarks on Balanced with and without Texture Sharpening.
2xFSAA/2xAF: 4679 -28.9%
2xFSAA/4xAF: 4134 -37.2%
2xFSAA/8xAF: 3694 -43.9%
4xFSAA/8xAF: 2781 -57.7%
2xFSAA/0xAF+TS: 4868 -26.0%
2xFSAA/2xAF+TS: 4131 -37.2%
2xFSAA/4xAF+TS: 3696 -43.8%
2xFSAA/8xAF+TS: 3697 -43.8%
4xFSAA/4xAF+TS: 2782 -57.7%
4xFSAA/8xAF+TS: 2786 -57.7%

From the numbers it seems like all Texture Sharpening does is enable an extra degree of AF up till the max of 8x. However, the numbers for 2xFSAA+TS do not match up with 2xFSAA/2xAF.

Quake2 Bilinear
Application: 288.2
2x FSAA: 152.6 -47.1%
4x FSAA: 100.1 -65.3%
2x AF: 240.7 -16.5%
4x AF: 196.2 -31.9%
8x AF: 181.7 -37.0%

Balanced: 291.0
2x FSAA: 152.5 -47.6%
4x FSAA: 100.1 -65.6%
2x AF: 252.6 -13.2%
4x AF: 220.6 -24.2%
8x AF: 209.9 -27.9%

Aggressive: 288.6
2x FSAA: 152.6 -47.1%
4x FSAA: 100.1 -65.3%
2x AF: 252.6 -12.5%
4x AF: 220.3 -23.7%
8x AF: 210.0 -27.2%

Same story here. AF has less of a hit when using Balanced and Aggressive.

Benchmarks with AF/FSAA on Balanced
2xFSAA/2xAF: 138.7 -52.3%
2xFSAA/4xAF: 124.6 -57.2%
2xFSAA/8xAF: 118.6 -59.2%
4xFSAA/2xAF: 97.6 -66.5%
4xFSAA/4xAF: 89.5 -69.2%
4xFSAA/8xAF: 89.4 -69.3%
2xFSAA/0xAF+TS: 152.5 -47.6%
2xFSAA/2xAF+TS: 124.6 -57.2%
2xFSAA/4xAF+TS: 118.6 -57.2%
2xFSAA/8xAF+TS: 118.6 -59.2%
4xFSAA/0xAF+TS: 97.5 -66.5%
4xFSAA/2xAF+TS: 92.8 -68.1%
4xFSAA/4xAF+TS: 89.5 -69.3%
4xFSAA/8xAF+TS: 89.4 -69.3%

Again, there are some weird results regarding Texture Sharpening.

Quake2 Tilinear
Application: 277.4
2x FSAA: 141.8 -48.9%
4x FSAA: 97.8 -64.7%
2x AF: 230.3 -17.0%
4x AF: 190.1 -31.5%
8x AF: 177.4 -36.0%

Balanced: 279.6
2x FSAA: 141.8 -49.3%
4x FSAA: 97.8 -65.0%
2x AF: 241.9 -13.5%
4x AF: 213.2 -23.7%
8x AF: 204.5 -26.9%

Aggressive: 279.5
2x FSAA: 141.8 -49.3%
4x FSAA: 97.7 -65.0%
2x AF: 241.1 -13.7%
4x AF: 213.2 -23.7%
8x AF: 204.6 -26.8%

I added Quake2 Trilinear results just for kicks. You can see that the percentage drops match up with Bilinear, but Bilinear obviously has better performance.

Quake3 Demo w/43.45
Application: 136.9
Quality: 138.9
Performance: 138.5

Since I apparently don't have/can't run demos with retail Quake3, I used the demo. The results speak for themselves.

Tenebrae Quake w/43.45
Application: 40.7
Quality: 40.6
Performance: 40.4

3dmark2001 w/44.03
Quality: 6598
High Performance: 6595

Whatever was slowing down "Application" mode in previous drivers seems to have been changed/fixed in 44.03.

Quake2 Trilinear w/44.03
Quality 0xAF: 275.0
Quality 8xAF: 204.4
High Performance 0xAF: 275.6
High Performance 8xAF: 208.3

It appears that nvidia changed their AF algorithms across the board with 44.03, so that Quality is just as fast as High Performance(or Performance, since HP should be as fast as or faster than P).

Other Errata
I tried using RivaTuner's OpenGL AF patch script. In Quake2 Trilinear I achieved 177.3 fps vs 177.4fps with 4xFSAA/8xAF Application and 205.1fps vs. 204.5fps with 4xFSAA/8xAF Balanced. All in all I have to conclude that either the patch script doesn't work anymore with newer Detonators or nvidia already incorporated the optimizations into the drivers.

Apparently the patch script does work in driver 43.51. Discussion.

I also wanted to try the FSAA optimizations that supposedly exist in RivaTuner as documented in this thread:
OK I've figured it out. After searching in RT power user settings I found this.
"D3D_AntiAliasConvolutionFastMode" It can be enabled/disabled (true, false) via RT. It's false by default. I found that if it's true and in the same time, you enable multisample masking in RT also, then you can have a little faster AA in directX 8 games(generally the more complex ones).

But I've almost sure IQ decreases a little, not too much noticeable with latest det's 42.01 I'm using. However, I don't know if this can be applied in GF cards under GF4.
I could not find such an option. I thought it might be a driver thing or the entry might not exist for gf3 users. I looked on my friend's computer(he has a gf4 and winXP using 42.01) and I still couldn't find it.

I should note that RivaTuner users should be familiar with the OGL AF settings "performance optimization" and "quality optimization." Application uses "quality" and Balanced/Aggressive use "performance."

I think some screenshots are in order to find out what, if any differences there are to IQ between quality/performance AF as well as what Texture Sharpening does, but I'll get to that later. Maybe later today, maybe next week.

edit: added new information and benchmarks with the 43.45 reference drivers.

edit: added new information about the 43.51 drivers.

edit" added new information and benchmarks with the 44.03 reference drivers.
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