NVIDIA's GeForce 6800 Ultra - NV40 Debuts

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NVIDIA's GeForce 6800 Ultra - Page 3

The GeForce 6800 Ultra
NVIDIA's NV40 Debuts...

By, Marco Chiappetta
April 14, 2004

We followed a similar procedure to evaluate the effect of the GeForce 6800 Ultra's anisotropic filtering technique on a given scene.  The screenshots below are of frame 1300 of the Aquamark 3 benchmarking tool.  We've again compared similar settings using the 6800 Ultra, 5950 Ultra and the Radeon 9800 XT.

Anisotropic Filtering With The GeForce 6800 Ultra
Clean Up Those Blurry Textures!
 

GeForce 6800 Ultra
No Aniso


GeForce 6800 Ultra
No Aniso (400% Zoom)

 
 

GeForce 6800 Ultra
8X Aniso


GeForce 6800 Ultra
8X Aniso (400% Zoom)

 

GeForce 6800 Ultra
16X Aniso


GeForce 6800 Ultra
16X Aniso (400% Zoom)

Enabling anisotropic filtering with the GeForce 6800 Ultra changed the overall look of the scene dramatically.  In the "No Aniso" shot, the textures on the pillar and on the ground along the edge of the mountain show the characteristic blurring associated with trilinear filtering.  With 8X anisotropic filtering enabled, however, almost all of the blurring disappears.  The ground, the mountain, and the surface of the pillar all seem much sharper and more defined.  Cranking the aniso up to 16X further sharpens the scene, but the difference is very subtle.  The sprouts on the ground are a touch clearer, as is the base of the pillar.  You'll only be able to see the differences if you switch between the two images quickly...


GeForce FX 5950 Ultra
No Aniso


GeForce FX 5950 Ultra
No Aniso (400% Zoom)


GeForce FX 5950 Ultra
8X Aniso


GeForce FX 5950 Ultra
8X Aniso (400% Zoom)

We only took two screen shots with the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra because the maximum anisotropic filtering setting available was only "8X".  The "No Aniso" shot looks much like the 6800 Ultra's and the Radeon 9800 XT's, except that it is slightly sharper.  The difference between the 8X anisotropic settings with the 5950 Ultra and the other cards is like night and day, however.  The pillar and sprouts along the ground get cleaned up quite a bit with 8X aniso enabled, but the ground and mountain hardly change at all.  We think this is an issue with the 5950 Ultra and the new Forceware 60 drivers though, because anisotropic filtering on the GeForce FX series of cards has been one its strong suits.


ATi Radeon 9800 XT
No Aniso


ATi Radeon 9800 XT
No Aniso (400% Zoom)


ATi Radeon 9800 XT
8X Aniso


ATi Radeon 9800 XT
8X Aniso (400% Zoom)


ATi Radeon 9800 XT
18X Aniso


ATi Radeon 9800 XT
16X Aniso (400% Zoom)

Directly comparing the Radeon 9800 XT to the GeForce 6800 Ultra yields some interesting results.  Without any anisotropic filtering enabled, we'd give a slight advantage to the Radeon - the image is slightly less blurred (the differences are most visible on the mountain).  At the 8X and 16X aniso settings though, the GeForce 6800 Ultra clearly does a better job at sharpening the textures.  This is especially noticeable if you again pay special attention on the mountain when switching between the shots.  NVIDIA has definitely made some progress with regard to their in-game image quality.  With anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled, we're of the opinion that NVIDIA has surpassed ATi...at least for now...

In-Game Screenshots With The GeForce 6800 Ultra
FarCry - The Tropical Shooter


     

     
GeForce 6800 Ultra  |  1024x768  |  4XAA  |  16X Anisotropic Filtering

There are only so many enlarged screen captures you can look at without going crazy, so once we were done evaluating the GeForce 6800 Ultra's image quality, we fired up a few games and unwound a bit.  We've only had the card for a short while, so we couldn't spend too much time gaming and still get this article done, but we were able to squeeze in a couple of hours of FarCry and Unreal Tournament 2004.  Multiplayer UT 2004 is always fun, but FarCry is simply awesome.  We had been playing FarCry on a Radeon 9800 XT and found that cranking up all of the in-game settings caused some slowdowns in certain areas.  The GeForce 6800 Ultra, however, had no such problem.  We patched FarCry so it would properly support the NV40, and snapped off a few shots at 1024x768 with 4X AA and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled to give you an idea as to what this game actually looks like with a high-end piece of hardware like the 6800 Ultra.  It seemed like anti-aliasing wasn't being applied to every surface, but the game still looked great.  Once Direct X 9.0c ships, we expect FarCry will look even better.  The current v1.1 patch already adds Pixel Shader 3.0 support and fixed a few fog and lighting issues.  NVIDIA tells us a few other Shader Model 3.0 enabled titles are in the works as well.  Games like Lord of the Rings: Battle For Middle-earth, STALKER: Shadows of Chernobyl, Vampire: Bloodlines, Splinter Cell X, Tiger Woods 2005 and Madden 2005 to name a few...

The Test System & Some Benchmarks

Tags:  Nvidia, GeForce, Ultra, force, 680, ULT, BU, id

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