Anisotropic Filtering Performance

Now that we've concluded that NVIDIA's 8X Balanced AF mode is comparable to either of ATI's 8X modes, let's figure out how all of the options perform:

Impact of Anisotropic Filtering on Performance
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5800 Ultra
Aniso Off

2X Aggressive

2X Balanced

4X Aggressive

4X Balanced

8X Aggressive

8X Balanced

100%

99%

92%

99%

81%

98%

75%

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0
|
20
|
40
|
60
|
80
|
100
|
120

NVIDIA's Performance - Aggressive AF setting results in virtually no performance hit, which isn't anything to complain about however once you take into account the fact that it doesn't compare visually to ATI's Performance setting it is not as impressive.

NVIDIA's Performance - Balanced setting incurs a much larger performance hit, but it is the only option that is visually comparable to ATI's AF.

Let's see how the decreased clock speed and lesser memory bandwidth of the regular GeForce FX 5800 changes the picture:

Impact of Anisotropic Filtering on Performance
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5800
Aniso Off

2X Aggressive

2X Balanced

4X Aggressive

4X Balanced

8X Aggressive

8X Balanced

100%

100%

84%

97%

69%

93%

63%

|
0
|
20
|
40
|
60
|
80
|
100
|
120

With less memory bandwidth to spare, the regular FX 5800 does take a noticeably larger performance hit when AF is enabled.

Finally we have the Radeon 9700 Pro:

Impact of Anisotropic Filtering on Performance
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
Aniso Off

2X Performance

2X Quality

4X Performance

4X Quality

8X Performance

8X Quality

16X Performance

16X Quality

100%

100%

77%

94%

62%

90%

57%

89%

56%

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0
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20
|
40
|
60
|
80
|
100
|
120

ATI's Performance AF setting incur a much larger performance drop than NVIDIA's Performance - Aggressive mode, but that's understandable considering that ATI's setting offers noticeably improved image quality. On the flip side of things, ATI's Quality setting takes a larger performance hit than NVIDIA's Performance - Balanced mode.

So what do we compare? Based on our image quality assessments from the previous page, it is clear that we can't compare NVIDIA's Performance - Aggressive mode to either of ATI's AF modes. And although there is only a 1% performance drop between ATI's 8X and 16X modes, in order to compare apples-to-apples we stick to 8X AF modes with both cards. The choice comes down to whether we use ATI's Performance or Quality modes for the Radeon 9700 Pro, since there's virtually no perceivable difference in image quality we focus the majority of our benchmarks on NVIDIA's 8X Performance - Balanced AF vs. ATI's 8X Performance AF.

Anisotropic Filtering Quality Compared Anti-Aliasing Quality

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