ATI X1000 Graphics Family

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New Anti-Aliasing Modes

ATI has claimed that the new X1000 graphics family offers unsurpassed image quality, so prior to benchmarking the new cards, we spent some time analyzing an X1800 XT's in-game image quality versus a Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition and NVIDIA's flagship GeForce 7800 GTX. First, we used Half Life 2's "background 2" map to get a feel for how each card's anti-aliasing algorithm's affected the jaggies in the scene...

Image Quality Analysis: Anti-Aliasing
7800 vs. x850XT vs. X1800XT

GeForce 7800 GTX
1280x1024 - No AA

GeForce 7800 GTX
1280x1024 - 4X AA

GeForce 7800 GTX
1280x1024 - 8XS AA

GeForce 7800 GTX
1280x1024 - No AA

200% Zoom

GeForce 7800 GTX
1280x1024 - 4X AA

200% Zoom

GeForce 7800 GTX
1280x1024 - 8XS AA

200% Zoom


Radeon X850XT PE
1280x1024 - No AA

Radeon X850XT PE
1280x1024 - 4x AA

Radeon X850XT PE
1280x1024 - 6x AA

Radeon X850XT PE
1280x1024 - No AA

200% Zoom

Radeon X850XT PE
1280x1024 - 4x AA

200% Zoom

Radeon X850XT PE
1280x1024 - 6x AA

200% Zoom


Radeon X1800 XT
1280x1024 - No AA

Radeon X1800 XT
1280x1024 - 4x AA

Radeon X1800 XT
1280x1024 - 6x AA

Radeon X1800 XT
1280x1024 - No AA

200% Zoom




Radeon X1800 XT
1280x1024 - 4x AA

200% Zoom




Radeon X1800 XT
1280x1024 - 6x AA

200% Zoom




Radeon X1800 XT
1280x1024 - No AA

Radeon X1800 XT
1280x1024 - 4X Adaptive AA

Radeon X1800 XT
1280x1024 - 6X Adaptive AA

Radeon X1800 XT
1280x1024 - No AA

200% Zoom

Radeon X1800 XT
1280x1024 - 4X Adaptive AA

200% Zoom

Radeon X1800 XT
1280x1024 - 6X Adaptive AA

200% Zoom

Yes, we know there are a ton of images on this page; they are grouped in batches of six or twelve depending on the graphics card used.  When opening the pop-up, full-sized images, note the file name as it will explain which card and AA mode was used.

If you direct your attention to the water-tower and crane in the background of these images, the impact anti-aliasing has on image quality is readily apparent. In the "No AA" shots it seemed to us that the Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition and Radeon X1800 XT had the lowest detail, and had the most prominent "jaggies." Look closely at the ladder on the water tower and you'll notice parts missing in the Radeon shots that are there on the GeForce 7800 GTX.  With standard multi-sample 4X anti-aliasing enabled, though, it becomes much harder to discern any differences between the cards. The ladder in the background gets cleaned considerably, as do the cables on the crane. The same holds true when ATI's 6X MSAA and NVIDIA's 8xS AA is enabled, although in this comparison, we'd give an edge in image quality to NVIDIA, because the additional super-sampling applied by 8xS AA does a decent job of cleaning up edges of transparent textures.

However, at the very bottom of the page, we've got some screen shots using the Radeon X1000 family's new adaptive anti-aliasing algorithm.  Adaptive AA is basically a combination of multi-sampling and super-sampling AA, similar to NVIDIA's 8xS mode, or a combination of NVIDIA's MSAA and the GeForce 7's transparency AA.  ATI's adaptive AA mode super-samples any textures that have transparency to reduced jaggies that don't land on the edge of a polygon. There are multiple Adaptive AA modes available with the new X1000 family of cards. When in quality mode, for example, 4X Adaptive AA is a combination of 4X MSAA and 4X SSAA; 6X Adaptive AA is 6X MSAA and 6X SSAA.  In performance mode though, the number of samples applied in the super-sample stage are halved (performance mode was not available in the drivers we used for testing). As you can see, ATI's adaptive AA does a great job of reducing jaggies in the scene. Open up a standard 4X or 6X AA shot, and compare the trees and grass in the scene to either of the adaptive AA screens. You'll see a significant reduction in the prominence of jaggies. Overall, we were impressed with the images produced by ATI's Adaptive AA. The X1800 XT produced some of the best images we have seen on the PC to date.

Tags:  ATI, graphics, x1, Graphic, family, x100, ICS, AP, x1000, AM

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