NVIDIA Forceware v77.7x: New SLI AA Modes & Mainstream SLI
Summary & Conclusion
Summary: In a CPU bound game like Half Life 2, NVIDIA's new SLI anti-aliasing modes produced excellent images, and the game remained completely playable, even at resolutions as high as 1600x1200 with SLI 16X anti-aliasing enabled. With GPU bound games like Doom 3 and FarCry, however, enabling SLI anti-aliasing lowered performance dramatically. But throughout, the image quality benefits offered by enabling SLI anti-aliasing were abundantly clear.
We really like what NVIDIA has done with this latest set of Forceware drivers. With these new drivers, which should be available sometime tomorrow on nZone.com, NVIDIA has enabled SLI functionality for cards all the way down to the inexpensive GeForce 6600LE, and have fixed a few nagging bugs. The flashing texture issue many have seen with Battlefield 2 is now fixed, and super-cooling a GeForce 6 or 7 series GPU will no longer cause the GPU to down-clock unexpectedly. But our favorite thing with regard to these new drivers is definitely SLI anti-aliasing. By incorporating these new anti-aliasing modes, NVIDIA SLI can be used to not only improve the performance of today's demanding games, but to also improve the image quality of older, or CPU bound, games as well, beyond just being able to run them at higher resolutions. And considering that this is the first set of drivers that have SLI AA functionality enabled, we suspect that SLI anti-aliasing will only get better with time. The offset and resolve functions will likely be optimized in the future, which will probably increase performance and perhaps further tweak image attributes as well. But even in its infancy, NVIDIA's SLI anti-aliasing is superior to anything the competition currently has to offer in terms of image quality, and it's here right now. Until ATI's CrossFire finally ships and we can test its new anti-aliasing modes, we can't say for certain whether or not NVIDIA's methods are inferior or superior, but that's a story for another day.
|•_Superior image quality
•_Benefits for older and CPU bound games
|•_Big Performance hit for GPU bound games with SLI AA enabled|