NVIDIA Detonator FX 52.16 Driver Control Panels
of features, looking good
driver software has always been their strong suit, from an
ease of use, configurability and stability perspective.
In addition, we're sure we don't have to go on again for you
here, about their recent in-game image quality issues, at
the expense of performance optimization. So, let's
look at the new 52.16 Detonator FX driver suite, from a
functionality and features standpoint and then we'll let the
image quality comparisons and benchmarks that follow, with
these drivers, speak for themselves.
driver control panels just feel a little less cumbersome to
work with, versus ATi's recent Catalyst 3.8 drivers.
The experience is pretty comparable however, with only a
slight advantage on NVIDIA's side, with their easy to
navigate left side menu panel, that automatically pops out
when you need access to a feature. However again, this
is our subjective opinion and some folks might prefer the
ATi flow. Not much has changed in the 52.16 release of
the Detonator 50 series drivers, since the introduction of
the 51.75s. There are all the usual settings for AA
and Aniso Filtering, Gamma Correction, DVC (Digital Vibrance
Control, an NVIDIA only feature), Screen Positioning, Health
We should also note, that
the Detonator FX 52.16s have passed Microsoft WHQL
certification and should be up as an "official" release on
NVIDIA's site, shortly.
Additionally, the 50 series
releases do have new features added within "nView", their
Desktop Management utility. "Mouse Kinematics" for
example, add some useful new tweaks to cursor and mouse
control. If you've ever lost location of your mouse
pointer on your desktop, due to color contrasts, window
pop-over or what have you, "Mouse Gestures" allows you
to shake the mouse back and forth or side-ways, which will
then activate a "locate cursor" function, changing the shape
to a large circle, easily seen on most any desktop.
These are just a few of the added niceties with nView 3.0.
In our opinion however, all
the bells and whistles you could add to a driver suite, are
no substitution for stability, rendered image quality and
performance. We've already acknowledge that the
Detonator FX 52.16s seemed very stable in our labs. Now
let's look at the images they render and then we'll move on
to the frame rates they produce.
Image Quality Screen Captures - Halo And Tomb
Raider Angel Of Darkness
Easily NVIDIA's best looking GeForce FX image
Halo for the PC, is a
game that many of us here at HotHardware are going to burn
up valuable work hours with and surely it will have its
affect on general productivity here in the HH Labs.
We may have to initiate a gaming limitation rule, to only
graphics articles and even then cap "test times" because
of its immense fun factor. However, at this point in
time, Halo - Combat Evolved for the PC does not support
Anti-Aliasing with either NVIDIA or ATi cards. As a
result, we had to limit our testing to strictly
Anisotropic Filtering tests, with Halo.
As you might recall from
Radeon 9800XT article in September, NVIDIA's Detonator
51.75 drivers with the GFFX 5900U card we were using for
reference then, were simply broken with some of Tomb Raiders
Pixel Shader 2.0 effects, like depth of field blur for
example. Well it seems as though DOF blur has
been fixed and Anisotropic Filtering of the Detonator 52.16s
is right on par with ATi's Cat 3.8s. So for our first
round of IQ testing, NVIDIA has executed nicely in terms of
the catch-up work in image quality, they had cut out for
them with some of the newer game engines. We'll have a
look next at some older game engines and upcoming unreleased
titles as well, next.
More Image Quality Comparisons And Test Setup