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Old 09-26-03, 05:06 AM   #1
Hanners
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Lightbulb AquaMark 3 evaluation, benchmarks and IQ comparisons

I've finally finished my own article examining Massive Developments attempt to enter the benchmarking market with AquaMark 3, as well as having the opportunity to put both a Radeon 9800 Pro and GeForceFX 5900 through their paces with it.

To take a look at what I thought of both the benchmarks and the cards in question, head over to the article here. As always, all comments (bad or good) are most welcome.
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Old 09-26-03, 06:01 AM   #2
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Very nice read, thanks for the heads-up!

One small question:
on the FX screenshots, the borders of the plants (that I understand are made using alpha-texturesare) are smoothed, but they aren't on the Ati screensshots.

Do the drivers and/or the benchmark force different modes of AA to the various cards (in addition to the 3x limit for Ati cards you mentioned)?

Thanks & cheers,
Mac

P.S. Good thing I'm not a reviewer, as I'd use the 44.xx dets for speed measurement only and the 45.xx or better 51.xx for IQ comparison only..
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Old 09-26-03, 08:19 AM   #3
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What's the LOD bias on each card? The sharpness difference in the textures looks odd to me.
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Old 09-26-03, 09:02 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by XForce
One small question:
on the FX screenshots, the borders of the plants (that I understand are made using alpha-texturesare) are smoothed, but they aren't on the Ati screensshots.

Do the drivers and/or the benchmark force different modes of AA to the various cards (in addition to the 3x limit for Ati cards you mentioned)?
ATI uses pure multisampling FSAA as opposed to the Geforces, and thus can't smooth alpha textures, but there are workarounds used by many games.
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Old 09-26-03, 09:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by lordtoran
ATI uses pure multisampling FSAA as opposed to the Geforces, and thus can't smooth alpha textures, but there are workarounds used by many games.
Uhh... the GF cards since NV20 do pure multisampling unless you use one of the *xS modes, or so I thought.
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Old 09-26-03, 09:09 AM   #6
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With regard to the AA settings, it makes sense to me that ATI would have three levels and nVidia four, ATI provides 2x/4x/6x AA while nVidia has 2x/4x/6x/8x AA available.
The benchmark is not AFAIK producing the AA, just enabling what is available in the driver.
This would also explain the AA'ed alphas seen on the GFFX, level four AA in the benchmark is using 8xAA, which has a supersampling component.

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Old 09-26-03, 09:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by G6-200
This would also explain the AA'ed alphas seen on the GFFX, level four AA in the benchmark is using 8xAA, which has a supersampling component.
8x != 8xS.
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Old 09-26-03, 09:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Baron
Uhh... the GF cards since NV20 do pure multisampling unless you use one of the *xS modes, or so I thought.
I thought they used a mixture of MSAA and SSAA in some modes, but SSAA by default. The inability of smoothing alpha textures is not the fault of ATI's HW architecture itself however, but relies on the principle of MSAA itself. There are simple workarounds like applying alpha blending instead of alpha checking, but some developers still have not heard of it.
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Old 09-26-03, 09:31 AM   #9
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No, they use MSAA by default--the 4xS mode is 2xMSAA with 2xSSAA, if I remember correctly, and 8xS is 4xMSAA and 2xSSAA.
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Old 09-26-03, 09:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by G6-200
With regard to the AA settings, it makes sense to me that ATI would have three levels and nVidia four, ATI provides 2x/4x/6x AA while nVidia has 2x/4x/6x/8x AA available.
The benchmark is not AFAIK producing the AA, just enabling what is available in the driver.
This would also explain the AA'ed alphas seen on the GFFX, level four AA in the benchmark is using 8xAA, which has a supersampling component.

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Old 09-26-03, 09:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Baron
No, they use MSAA by default--the 4xS mode is 2xMSAA with 2xSSAA, if I remember correctly, and 8xS is 4xMSAA and 2xSSAA.
I didn't know they had so many modes Didn't know of it because my last (and only) nVidia card was a Geforce 2. It had only SSAA and slowed down to half the framerate with 4xAA ...

@Hanners: This is probably the best review pointing out the FX'es weaknesses I ever read. Great job!
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Old 09-26-03, 09:50 AM   #12
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I linked you up Hanners...

click on my website link for hardware related news
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