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Old 05-22-04, 05:28 PM   #1
MikeC
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Arrow AquaMark 3 image quality comparison

The following information is based on various image quality tests that I ran last night. I really didn't have a plan of attack when I started, but I knew it was going to be related to the Radeon X800 Pro and the stories we've been reading in regards to texture filtering. This series of tests may not lead to anything, but I have some free time this weekend and I felt this would be an interesting experiment.

The weapon I ended up choosing was AquaMark3. Last year Alexander Jorias of Massive Development provided nV News with a key that unlocks all of the features in AquaMark3. One test in the licensed version is a screen capture test. The test accepts a user-supplied frame interval setting and screenshots are taken at the interval provided (for example, take a screenshot every 10, 50, 100, 500, or 1000 frames). AquaMark3 also has application control over antialiasing and anisotropic texture filtering.

All of the graphics options in AquaMark3 were configured to their maximum setting and I adjusted the level of texture filtering for each test. I selected a number of frames that are good examples to use for conducting image quality comparisons.

I then used the The Compressionator tool to compare the screenshots from AquaMark3, which I converted from TGA to PNG format. The screenshots were not altered in any other way. The Compressionator can be used to identify the differences between two images. In fact, you can download and install The Compressionator and use the images from my tests to run comparisons.

The example below is a comparison of trilinear filtering on the left and 2X anisotropic filtering on the right. The middle section shows the differences, which are often subtle and requires the difference brightness level to be adjusted before the differences become visible. In this example, the difference brightness was increased to 400%. The Compressionator also has a zoom in/out feature.



The Compressionator is also able to quantify the differences as it provides the following statistics for a comparison.



Although I'm not familiar with the measurements that take place, I do know that similar images have a lower error deviation than images that are vastly different. Taking all of the information, I developed the following chart, which lists the mean square error for each image quality comparison.

The mean square error of 2.52 from the example above was based on a comparison of trilinear filtering and 2X anisotropic filtering from frame 300.



Below are the links to the various AquaMark3 screenshots, which range in size from 700 KB to 1.2 MB. Increase the brightness on your monitor if they are too dark. I hope to install the Radeon X800 Pro in one of my other PCs this evening and conduct the same tests.

Cheers,
MikeC


Frame 200:



Trilinear - 2X Anisotropic - 4X Anisotropic - 8X Anisotropic

Frame 300:



Trilinear - 2X Anisotropic - 4X Anisotropic - 8X Anisotropic

Frame 900:



Trilinear - 2X Anisotropic - 4X Anisotropic - 8X Anisotropic

Frame 1700:



Trilinear - 2X Anisotropic - 4X Anisotropic - 8X Anisotropic

Frame 2400:



Trilinear - 2X Anisotropic - 4X Anisotropic - 8X Anisotropic

Frame 2500:



Trilinear - 2X Anisotropic - 4X Anisotropic - 8X Anisotropic

Frame 2600:



Trilinear - 2X Anisotropic - 4X Anisotropic - 8X Anisotropic

Frame 3500:



Trilinear - 2X Anisotropic - 4X Anisotropic - 8X Anisotropic

Frame 3900:



Trilinear - 2X Anisotropic - 4X Anisotropic - 8X Anisotropic

Frame 4000:



Trilinear - 2X Anisotropic - 4X Anisotropic - 8X Anisotropic

Frame 4300:



Trilinear - 2X Anisotropic - 4X Anisotropic - 8X Anisotropic
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Old 05-22-04, 06:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: AquaMark3 image quality comparison

can you include 16x aniso?
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Old 05-22-04, 11:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: AquaMark3 image quality comparison

What card was used in this test?
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Old 05-23-04, 12:02 AM   #4
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Default Re: AquaMark3 image quality comparison

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarred
What card was used in this test?
Check out his last chart dood.

This is cool Mike. Once you have the X800Pro resulsts we should learn a few things.
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Old 05-23-04, 12:16 AM   #5
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Default Re: AquaMark3 image quality comparison

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarred
What card was used in this test?
The GeForce 6800 Ultra with the 60.72 beta drivers.

I've made good progress and have finished the Radeon X800 Pro screen captures and compiled the results from The Compressonator comparison. I ran across some significant differences in the Compressionator results between both cards that I need to study further.

I'm also going to run a few additional tests with the 60.72 drivers before I test the 61.11 drivers. I'm getting similar results from the 60.72 drivers in AquaMark3 that I was getting in our GeForce 6800 Ultra preview. Changing the driver image setting from quality to high quality and/or enabling trilinear optimizations has no affect on image quality.
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Old 05-23-04, 12:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: AquaMark3 image quality comparison

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cota
can you include 16x aniso?
Maybe in a follow-up, but 16X aniso had literally no effect on image quality in these tests. If you examine The Compressonator chart results, you'll find that even moving from 4X to 8X doesn't significantly enhance image quality.

The largest improvement always occurs when moving from trilinear to 2X anisotropic. This particular experiment is beginning to show that 8X and 16X AF are overkill based on the texture filtering scheme each GPU employs.
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Old 05-23-04, 12:53 AM   #7
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Default Re: AquaMark3 image quality comparison

I like it alot MikeC, you never cease to impress me at times.
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Old 05-23-04, 01:21 AM   #8
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Default Re: AquaMark3 image quality comparison

word!, do you plan on testing some unreal with Ati's trilinear filtering? I'm really curious to see what the results would be...
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Old 05-23-04, 01:21 AM   #9
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Default Re: AquaMark3 image quality comparison

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxPower
Check out his last chart dood.

This is cool Mike. Once you have the X800Pro resulsts we should learn a few things.
did you REALLY just spell dude "dood" !!? ?
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Old 05-23-04, 04:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: AquaMark3 image quality comparison

This is a interesting test. Can't wait for the update.
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Old 05-23-04, 03:19 PM   #11
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Default Re: AquaMark3 image quality comparison

I've run into a slight glitch

The frame rate is displayed in the upper right corner of the AM3 screen capture, which can change from frame to frame. Not sure if this feature can be disabled, but The Compressonator is picking up the differences in the frame rate, which is skewing the results. I'm going to crop the screen captures and remove the frame rate using IfranViews's batch conversion routine and adjust the results accordingly.
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Old 05-23-04, 03:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: AquaMark3 image quality comparison

Most of the reviews I have seen like Ati with no AF and x2, at x4 they consider them a dead heat, and some say x8 as well, others dead heat there too, now x16 I have seen most say slight edge to Nvidia. This will be an interesting test. Good post.
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Old 05-23-04, 09:37 PM   #13
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Default Re: AquaMark3 image quality comparison

Umm I am not trying to be rude or unappreciative of the work MikeC has put into this but what exactly is the point of all this? The chart shows the difference values between the different modes...this means nothing in my eyes. Of course Trilinear Filtering will be different than Anisotropic Filtering and so on. The number just shows how different the two screens are.

I don't see how these numbers will be of any significance when the X800 is added as the two cards use different algorithms which will produce different results. There is no correlation between the two different cards with those numbers unless you are comparing to a refrast image there is no true baseline for comparison. The only way those numbers would be valid for comparing is if you get a number by comparing refrast to a 6800 running Trilinear and then you get a number by comparing refrast to a X800 running Trilinear. This type of comparison would clearly illustrate the differences between the various IHV implementations.

The biggest difference seen is between Trilinear and any Anisotropic mode and I don't think any of you will argue that the Anisotropic modes are much sharper and overall more pleasing to the eye. I appreciate the work that MikeC has done especially with regards to the pictures as they show the differences between the modes quite well.
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Old 05-23-04, 09:44 PM   #14
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Default Re: AquaMark3 image quality comparison

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razor04
I don't see how these numbers will be of any significance when the X800 is added as the two cards use different algorithms which will produce different results. There is no correlation between the two different cards with those numbers unless you are comparing to a refrast image there is no true baseline for comparison. The only way those numbers would be valid for comparing is if you get a number by comparing refrast to a 6800 running Trilinear and then you get a number by comparing refrast to a X800 running Trilinear. This type of comparison would clearly illustrate the differences between the various IHV implementations.
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Old 05-23-04, 09:52 PM   #15
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Default Re: AquaMark3 image quality comparison

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razor04
Umm I am not trying to be rude or unappreciative of the work MikeC has put into this but what exactly is the point of all this? The chart shows the difference values between the different modes...this means nothing in my eyes. Of course Trilinear Filtering will be different than Anisotropic Filtering and so on. The number just shows how different the two screens are.
Did you read the first paragraph of Mike's initial post? (see below)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeC
The following information is based on various image quality tests that I ran last night. I really didn't have a plan of attack when I started, but I knew it was going to be related to the Radeon X800 Pro and the stories we've been reading in regards to texture filtering. This series of tests may not lead to anything, but I have some free time this weekend and I felt this would be an interesting experiment.
Your opinion is fine and I'm sure others will echo it. However, many others will find this to be very interesting and potetially telling. Mike has a history of being very thorough and professional regarding things of this nature. So, let's just all sit back and wait for the X800 Pro results before we start questioning anything.
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