AA Disabled Performance

Up to this point, most of our benchmarks have been run with 4xAA, as we feel most people considering something like the new 8800 GTX are going to be interested in image quality as well as performance. If you don't care about antialiasing, the need for such fast graphics cards trails off quickly, as you'll see here.

Battlefield 2

The 8800 GTX SLI still has issues with Battlefield 2, but more importantly you see the clustering of all of the high-end graphics configurations once antialiasing is disabled. Discounting the single ATI X1950 XTX and GeForce 7900 GTX cards, the spread among all the cards is about 20%-25%. Battlefield 2 is also clearly beginning to run into CPU limitations, with many of the cards showing very little in the way of performance drops when going from 1600x1200 to 1920x1440. When 8800 GTX SLI is fixed, we expect to see a more or less flat line throughout resolution scaling. Battlefield 2142 would once again be something nice to test, as frame rates are a bit lower with that title, but overall the Battlefield series has always been pretty demanding when it comes to CPU power (not to mention have enough memory).

Half-Life 2: Episode One

With 4xAA, Episode One showed a bit more separation, and our particular demo seemed to be CPU limited to around 230 FPS. Disabling antialiasing shows that 230 FPS is indeed where our CPU tops out. The other cards move closer to this mark, but without dropping to a lower resolution none of them are yet able to reach it. With the minimum score coming in at 56 FPS, and even then only at 2560x1600, Half-Life 2: Episode One does not appear to really need anything faster in the GPU department just yet.

Prey

Disabling antialiasing in Prey improved performance in most of the tested configurations by about 20%, and the 8800 GTX SLI setup becomes a bit more CPU limited.. The relative positions of the cards don't really change much, although the GeForce 7 series cards appear to do slightly better without antialiasing compared to the ATI cards.

Half Life 2: Episode One Performance Final Words
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  • aweigh - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    You can just use the program DX Tweaker to enable Triple Buffering in any D3D game and use your VSYNC with negligable performance impact. So you can play with your VSYNC, a high-res and AA as well. :) Reply
  • aweigh - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    I'm gonna buy an 88 specifically to use 4x4 SuperSampling in games. Why bother with MSAA with a card like that? Reply
  • DerekWilson - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    Supersampling can make textures blurry -- especially very detailed textures.

    And the impact will be much greater with the use of longer more detailed pixel shaders (as the shaders must be evaluated at every sub-pixel in supersample).

    I think transparency / adaptive AA are enough.

    On your previous comment, I don't think we're to the point where we can hit triple buffering, vsync, high levels of AA AND high resolution (2560x1600) without some input lag (triple buffering plus vsync with framerates less than your refresh rate can cause problems).

    If you're talking about enabling all these options on a lower resolution lcd panel, then I can definitely see that as a good use of the hardware. And it might be interesting to look at more numbers with these type of options enabled.

    Thanks for the suggestion.
    Reply
  • aweigh - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link

    I never knew that about SuperSampling. Is it something similar to Quincux blurring? And would using a negative LOD via RivaTuner/nHancer counteract the effect?

    How about NVIDIA's Digital Sharpness setting in Color Correction? I've found a smidge of sharpening can do wonders to improve overall clarity.

    By the way, when you said Adaptive AA, were you referring to ATI cards?
    Reply
  • Unam - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    Derek,

    Saw your comment regarding the rationale for the test resolution, while I understand your reasoning now, it still begs the question how many of your readers have 30" LCD flat panels?
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    There might not be many out there right now, but it's still the right test platform for G80. We did test down to 1600x1200, so people do have information if they need it.

    But it speaks to who should own an 8800 GTX right now. It doesn't make sense to spend that much money on a part if you aren't going to get anything out of it with your 1280x1024 panel.

    Owners of a 2560x1600 panel will want an 8800 GTX. Owners of an 8800 GTX will want a 2560x1600 panel. Smooth framerates with the ability to enable 4xAA in every game that allowed it is reason enough. People without a 2560x1600 panel should probably wait until prices come down on the 8800 GTX or until games that are able to push the 8800 GTX harder to buy the card.
    Reply
  • Unam - Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - link

    Derek,

    A follow up to testing resolutions, the FPS numbers we see in your articles, are they maximum, minimum or average?
    Reply
  • Unam - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    Who the heck runs 2560x1600? At 4XAA? Come on guys, real world benchmarks please! Reply
  • DerekWilson - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    we did:

    1600x1200, 1920x1440, and even 1280x1024 in Oblivion
    Reply
  • dragonsqrrl - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    ....lol, owned. Reply

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