NVIDIA's GeForce 7 Update: Introducing the 7900 GTX, 7900 GT & 7600 GT

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Image Quality: Anti-Aliasing

Prior to benchmarking the new GeForce 7900 and 7600 series cards, we spent some time quickly analyzing their in-game image quality versus a GeForce 7800 GTX and an ATI Radeon X1900 XTX.  First, we used the "background 1" map in Half-Life 2 to get a feel for how each card's anti-aliasing algorithm's affected the scene.

Image Quality Analysis: Standard Anti-Aliasing Modes
NVIDIA vs. ATI
NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX Screenshots

GeForce 7900 GTX
1280x1024 - No AA

GeForce 7900 GTX
1280x1024 - 2x AA

GeForce 7900 GTX
1280x1024 - 4X AA

GeForce 7900 GTX
1280x1024 - 8xS AA

NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX Screenshots

GeForce 7800 GTX
1280x1024 - No AA

GeForce 7800 GTX
1280x1024 - 2x AA

GeForce 7800 GTX
1280x1024 - 4X AA

GeForce 7800 GTX
1280x1024 - 8xS AA

ATI Radeon X1900 XTX Screenshots

Radeon X1900 XTX
1280x1024 - No AA

Radeon X1900 XTX
1280x1024 - 2x AA

Radeon X1900 XTX
1280x1024 - 4x AA

Radeon X1900 XTX
1280x1024 - 6x AA

Overall, not much has changed with the GeForce 7900 GTX in terms of in-game image quality. The G71 supports the same multi-sample anti-aliasing sampling patterns as the G70, so there are no discernable image quality differences between the GeForce 7900 GTX and GeForce 7800 GTX in-game, other than the slight differences introduced by moving objects in the scene above.

When compared to ATI's current flagship though, there is a little more to talk about. When the Radeon X1900XTX launched, we pointed out a problem with regard to its anti-aliasing quality as it related to micro-detail in the scene. Specifically, micro-detail in the fine lines, like in the trees in the shots above, would just disappear. We suspected this was a problem with the initial driver release though, and we were right. With the latest Catalyst drivers, micro-detail is just fine with the Radeon X1900XTX. With each successive level of anti-aliasing up to 4XAA enabled, it is extremely difficult to pick out differences between the competing architectures. Differenced between 8xS AA and 6XAA, the highest levels offered by NVIDIA and ATI respectively with a single card, are much more pronounced though. 8xS AA is a combination of 2x super-sampling and 4x multi-sampling which removes jaggies from within transparent textures and along polygon edges, at the cost of more performance, whereas ATI's 6XAA is strictly multi-sampled.

Both companies also offer transparency and adaptive anti-aliasing for removing jaggies from textures with transparent areas, as well as higher AA modes when a pair of cards are used together in SLI or CrossFire configurations. To see how things stack-up with those modes, we recommend taking a look at our Radeon X1900 coverage from a few weeks back.


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