AA Image Quality: Half Life 2
To judge the effectiveness of NVIDIA's new SLI Anti-Aliasing modes, we first fired up Half Life 2, and snapped off a few screenshots. To capture the images below, we set the game's resolution to 1280x1024, enabled the "Reflect World" option, and turned on 16X anisotropic filtering. The NVIDIA 7800 GTX "No AA" and "4X AA" shots, and both of the ATI X850 XT PE screenshots, were taken with the AA level set from within Half Life 2. But for the SLI 8X and SLI 16X shots, AA was enabled through NVIDIA's drivers. Unfortunately, we were unable to capture 8xS screen shots, and do not have them for comparison below...
As is evident in the screenshots above, as the level of anti-aliasing is increased, the number of jaggies visible throughout the screen is significantly reduced. The "No AA" shots from both company's cards are comparable, as are NVIDIA's SLI 8X AA and ATI's 6X AA shots, with a slight edge going to NVIDIA in the latter comparison. NVIDIA's SLI 16X AA mode, however, currently has no equal. If you take a look at the zoomed portion of the image, focus on the supports under the water tower and on the crane's cables above the building. The SLI 16X AA shots are clearly the most defined. And if you take a look at the entire screenshot, concentrate on the tree at the upper-left portion of the image, and you'll see again see that NVIDIA's SLI 16X AA mode clearly does a better job at cleaning up the micro-detail in the tree's branches.