BFG GeForce 7800 GTX OC

Article Index

Image Quality: Half life 2

**Important Editor's Note:
We ran things a bit differently, versus our traditional "apples to apples" test methodology, with both Half Life 2 and Battlefield 2, in this article.  What we've seen historically is that current generation NVIDIA cards provide comparable image quality at like AA modes, 4X AA for example, versus ATi cards.  However, ATi's 6X AA Multi-Sample mode provides significantly better image quality than both NVIDIA and ATi 4X Multi-sample mode.  Likewise however, NVIDIA's 8XS mode, which combines a 4X Multi-sample with a 2X Super-Sample, provides superior image quality over both 4X and ATi 6X AA modes. 

Also as an aside, we recently presented you with a showcase of NVIDIA's new SLI-AA modes which provide a 4X+4X blend and 8XS+8XS blend in their "8X SLI-AA" and "16X SLI-AA" sampling modes.  These new AA modes are only available in SLI Dual card setups, however.  As such, we won't be covering image quality at these settings in this article.  Rather, since we had only one BFG GeForce 7800GTX OC card at our disposal, we'll be showcasing up to 8XS standard AA only, which as you'll see is very nice indeed.  If you would like a refresh on SLI-AA, please head here to our showcase article on this technology.

Regardless, until now 8XS mode for the most part, at moderate resolutions hasn't been all that playable in many recent game engines.  It took NVIDIA's GeForce 7800GTX launch to make this setting truly "playable" (at medium to high resolutions) in our opinion.  So as a result we'll show you the benefits of this NVIDIA AA sampling pattern over the others, and then in both Half Life 2 and Battlefield 2, we'll provide you with benchmarks at what we consider a card's given "Max IQ" or image quality setting, so you can see just what the card is capable of both in rendering output and frame-rate.

Image Quality Analysis: Half Life 2
Hi-Res / High-IQ Image Comparison

BFG 7800GTX OC
No AA

BFG 7800GTX OC
4X AA

BFG 7800GTX OC
8XS AA

 


Radeon X850 XT PE
No AA

Radeon X850 XT PE
4X AA

Radeon X850 XT PE
6X AA

Things to look for -

While image quality is a fairly subjective area, there are obvious finer points in detail that one can point to in analyzing in-game screen shots.  Specifically, we'd like to call you attention to two main areas of concern: edge anti-aliasing and texture or object area anti-aliasing.

First take a look at the shots without AA to establish a baseline.  Note both object edge aliasing artifacts, as well as texture surface artifacts like those that can be found in the chain-link fence area as well.  Then move to the 4X AA shots.  Note that both the BFG GF7800GTX OC and the ATi Radeon X850 produce very similar image quality.  In fact, we were hard pressed to see any real observable difference in these two screen shot comparisons. 

However, looking at the 8XS shot versus ATi 6X AA shot there are some fairly noticeable differences.  For starters, ATi's 6X AA is definitely doing a better job at cleaning up the edge aliasing artifacts versus both NVIDIA and ATi's own 4X AA mode.  But 6X AA mode definitely didn't help the artifacts that you can observe in the chain-link fence texture surface, since standard Multi-sample AA won't catch or correct this. 

Conversely, NVIDIA's 8XS mode does a superb job of cleaning up edge Aliasing, with a full 8X sample (again 4X Multi-sample with a 2X full scene Super-Sample) and it also does a nice job of fixing the chain-link fence, rendering it more accurately with its extra 2X Super-Sample rendering operation.  Also note that ATi's 6X AA shot seems to lose just a tiny bit of sharpness in texture detail, as is evident in the surface textures of the top section of the water tower in front of you.  If you compare the 6X AA shot to the 8XS shot taken on the BFG GF7800GTX OC, you can see that it retained the surface texture detail and doesn't look quite as soft as the ATi 6X AA shot does.  This again is the result of applying a 2X Super-Sample on a 4X Multi-sample versus just an additional 2X Multi-sample on top of 4X to render the scene. 

In a nut-shell, the BFG GeForce 7800GTX OC's 8XS AA mode looks definitely superior all around, as long as it's playable and in the benchmarks ahead, you'll see that it very much is.

Tags:  GeForce, GTX, BFG, force, GT, 7800, 780

Related content

Comments

Show comments blog comments powered by Disqus