ATI Radeon X1K Refresh: X1950 XTX, X1900 XT 256MB, X1650 Pro, and X1300 XT

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Super-AA IQ and Performance

In this batch of images, we want to update you with a comparison of NVIDIA's and ATI's multi-GPU anti-aliasing techniques. NVIDIA calls their technology SLIAA and ATI calls theirs Super-AA. These modes are only enabled when using a pair of graphics cards together, either in SLI or CrossFire modes, because each card renders the same frame before they are blended together.  For more details on these anti-aliasing modes, please take a look at this article on SLIAA and this one outlining the new features introduced with ATI's CrossFire.

Image Quality Analysis: SLI & CrossFire Anti-Aliasing Modes
NVIDIA vs. ATI
NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GX2 Quad-SLI AA Screenshots

GeForce 7950 GX2 Quad-SLI
1280x1024 - 8xS AA

GeForce 7950 GX2 Quad-SLI
1280x1024 - SLI8X AA

GeForce 7950 GX2 Quad-SLI
1280x1024 - SLI16X AA

GeForce 7950 GX2 Quad-SLI
1280x1024 - SLI32X AA

ATI Radeon X1950 XT CrossFire Super AA Screenshots

Radeon X1950 CrossFire
1280x1024 - 8X Super AA

Radeon X1950 CrossFire
1280x1024 - 10X Super AA

Radeon X1950 CrossFire
1280x1024 - 12X Super AA

Radeon X1950 CrossFire
1280x1024 - 14X Super AA

There are three portions of the screen to focus on these screen shots - the cables, the trees, and the antennas on top of the building in the distance. Our favorite modes from ATI would have to be the 10X and 14X Super-AA modes because they do an excellent job of eliminating jaggies in the cables and preserving fine detail in the trees and antennas.  NVIDIA also does a fine job with their multi-GPU SLIAA modes though.  The SLI32X screenshot in particular looks excellent.  Focus your attention on the antennas at the upper left of the image and you'll see the increased details. SLI32X AA is quite taxing on the hardware, however, and may cause unplayable framerates in many current titles. For older or CPU-bound games though, SLI32X AA is a reasonable option and looks great.

CrossFire AA Performance: FarCry v1.33
Upping the Number of Samples

We didn't perform a comprehensive test routine to assess the performance of all of ATI's CrossFire Super-AA modes with the X1950s, but we did run a couple of tests to get a general idea as to how the various modes perform in comparison to NVIDIA's Quad-SLI. Please note, the compositing engine used on the X1950 offers higher-performance in Super-AA modes than the engine used on the early X850 XT Master cards. The X1950's compositing engine can do the final blend with each individual card running at full speed, which results in higher performance.

NVIDIA's 8xS anti-aliasing mode does not require a multi-GPU configuration to function, but because it is the highest of the standard AA modes we've included it for comparison purposes only. As you can see, with FarCry running at 1600x1200, NVIDIA's SLI8X mode clearly offers the highest performance. Once the level of anti-aliasing is cranked above SLI8X on NVIDIA's hardware, however, ATI's mode offer the best performance. Because the compositing engine is doing a large portion of the work on the X1950, switching between the different Super-AA modes doesn't result in as large of a performance hit.

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Tags:  ATI, Radeon, x1, ATI Radeon, x16, refresh, XT, pro, and, K

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