The First TXAA Game & The Test

With the release of the NVIDIA’s 304.xx drivers a couple of months ago, NVIDIA finally enabled driver support on Kepler for their new temporal anti-aliasing technology. First announced with the launch of Kepler, TXAA is another anti-aliasing technology to be developed by Timothy Lottes, an engineer in NVIDIA’s developer technology group. In a nutshell, TXAA is a wide tent (>1px) MSAA filter combined with a temporal filter (effectively a motion-vector based frame blend) that is intended to resolve that pesky temporal aliasing that can be seen in motion in many games.

Because TXAA requires MSAA support and motion vector tracking by the game itself, it can only be used in games that specifically implement it. Consequently, while NVIDIA had enabled driver support for it, they’ve been waiting on a game to be released that implements it. That release finally happened last week with a patch for the MMO The Secret World, which became the first game with TXAA support.

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive review of TXAA (MMOs and deterministic testing are like oil and water), but seeing as how this is the first time TXAA has been enabled we did want to comment on it.

On the whole, what NVIDIA is trying to accomplish here is to implement movie-like anti-aliasing at a reasonable performance cost. Traditionally SSAA would be the solution here (just like it is to most other image aliasing problems), but of course SSAA is much too expensive most of the time. At its lower setting it is just 2x MSAA plus the temporal component, which makes the process rather cheap.

Unfortunately by gaming standards it’s also really blurry. This is due to the combination of the wide tent MSAA samples – which if you remember your history, ATI tried at one time – and the temporal filter blending data from multiple frames. TXAA does a completely fantastic job of eliminating temporal and other forms of aliasing, but it does so at a notable cost to image clarity.

Editorially speaking we’ll never disparage NVIDIA for trying new AA methods – it never hurts to try something new – however at the same time we do reserve the right to be picky. We completely understand the direction NVIDIA went with this and why they did it, especially since there’s a general push to make games more movie-like in the first place, but we’re not big fans of the outcome. You would be hard pressed to find someone that hates jaggies more than I (which is why we have SSAA in one of our tests), but as an interactive medium I have come to expect sharpness, sharpness that would make my eyes bleed. Especially when it comes to multiplayer games, where being able to see the slightest movement in the distance can be a distinct advantage.

To that end, TXAA is unquestionably an interesting technology and worth keeping an eye on in the future, but practically speaking AMD’s efforts to implement complex lighting cheaply on a forward renderer (and thereby making MSAA cheap and effective) are probably more relevant to improving the state of AA. But this is by no means the final word, and we’ll certainly revisit TXAA in detail in the future once it’s enabled on a game that offers a more deterministic way of testing image quality.

The Test

NVIDIA’s GTX 660 Ti launch drivers are 305.37, which are a further continuation of the 304.xx branch. Compared to the previous two 304.xx drivers there are no notable performance changes or bug fixes that we’re aware of.

Meanwhile on the AMD side we’re continuing to use the Catalyst 12.7 betas released back in late June. AMD just released Catalyst 12.8 yesterday, which appear to be a finalized version of the 12.7 driver.

On a final note, for the time being we have dropped Starcraft II from our tests. The recent 1.5 patch has had a notable negative impact on our performance (and disabled our ability to play replays without logging in every time), so we need to further investigate the issue and likely rebuild our entire collection of SC2 benchmarks.

CPU: Intel Core i7-3960X @ 4.3GHz
Motherboard: EVGA X79 SLI
Chipset Drivers: Intel 9.​2.​3.​1022
Power Supply: Antec True Power Quattro 1200
Hard Disk: Samsung 470 (256GB)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3-1867 4 x 4GB (8-10-9-26)
Case: Thermaltake Spedo Advance
Monitor: Samsung 305T
Asus PA246Q
Video Cards: AMD Radeon HD 6970
AMD Radeon HD 7870
AMD Radeon HD 7950
AMD Radeon HD 7950B
AMD Radeon HD 7970
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570
Zotac GeForce GTX 660 Ti AMP! Edition
EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti Superclocked
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 Ti OC
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 304.79 Beta
NVIDIA ForceWare 305.37
AMD Catalyst 12.7 Beta
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

 

Meet The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 Ti OC Crysis: Warhead
POST A COMMENT

313 Comments

View All Comments

  • blanarahul - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    First! Oh yeah! Reply
  • blanarahul - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    GTX 660 Ti: Designed for overclockers. Overclock memory and thats it. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    The cores are hitting over 1300 consistently. Oh well, buh bye amd. Reply
  • Galidou - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    Well it depends on the samples, the 660 ti I bought for my wife, I tested it in my pc and over 1290 core clock(with boost) after 10-15 minutes gaming in a game that doesn't even taxes the gpu past 70%, the video card crashes and windows tells me ''the adapter has stopped responding''.

    Crysis 2 stutters on some levels but it's mainly stable 95% of the time wheras my 7950 overclocked is not doing this.

    It would artifact in MSI kombustor with a slight increase in voltage and core clock above 1260. Good thing it's for my wife and not me, she won't overclock as it's way enough for her mere 1080p resolution. The memory overclocks at 6,6ghz easily.
    Reply
  • GmTrix - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    Dear God, Have AnandTech readers really sunk to this level of childishness? Reply
  • Chaitanya - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    shocking. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    TXAA - AWESOME - THE JAGGIES ARE GONE.
    Thank you nVidia for having real technology developement, unlike amd loser
    Thank you nVidia for being able to mix ram chip sizes or to distribute ram chips across your memory controllers with proprietary technology that you keep secret depsite amd fanboys desiring to know how you do it so they can help amd implement for free.
    Thanks also for doing it so well, even with reviewers putting it down and claiming it can result in 48 bandwidth instead of 144 bandwidth, all the games and tests they have ever thrown at it in a desperate amd fanboy desire to find a chink in it's armor has yielded ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, as in, YOU'VE DONE IT PERFECTLY AGAIN nVidia.
    I just love the massive bias at this site.
    It must be their darn memory failing.
    Every time they make a crazy speculative attack here on nVidia where all their rabid research to find some fault provides a big fat goose egg, they try to do it again anyway, and they talk like they'll eventually find something even though they never do. By the time they give up, they're off on some other notional and failed to prove it put down against nVidia.
    192 bit bus / 2GB ram / unequal distribution / PERFECT PERFORMANCE IMPLEMENTATION
    Get used to it.
    Reply
  • TheJian - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    ROFL... I should have just read more posts...Might have saved me a crapload of typing Cerise...LOL. Nah, it needs to be said more by more than ONE person :) Call a spade a spade people.

    I tried to leave out the word BIAS and RYAN/Anandtech in the same sentence :)

    But hold on a minute, while I fire up my compute crap (or 2008 game rendered moot by it's own 2011+2012 hires patch equivalent) so I can run up my electric bill so I can prove the AMD card wins in something I never intend to use a gaming card for or run at a res that these things aren't being used for by 98% of the people. Folding? You must be kidding. Bitcoin hunting?...LOL that party was over ages ago - you won't pay for your card getting bitcoins today - it was over before anandtech did their article on bitcoins - but I bet they helped sell some AMD cards. Quadro+fireGL cards are for this crap (computational NON game stuff I mean). Recommending cards based on computational crap is pointless when they're for gaming.

    I'm an amd fanboy but ONLY at heart. My wallet wins all arguments regardless of my love for AMD (or my NV stock...LOL). I'm trying to hold out for AMD's next cpu's but I'm heavily leaning Ivy K for Black Friday, fanboy AMD love or not. They ruined their company by paying 3x the price for ATI, which in turn crapped on their stock and degraded their company to near junk bond status in said stock (damn them, I used to be able to ride the rollercoaster and make money on AMD!). I'm still hoping for a trick up their sleeve nobody knows about. But I think they're just holding back cpu's to clear shelves, nothing special in the new ones coming. Basically a sandy to ivy upgrade but on AMD's side for bullsnozer. The problem is it's still going to be behind ivy by 25-50% (in some cases far worse). Unless it's an EXCEPTIONAL price I can't help but pick IVY as I do a lot of rar/par stuff and of course gaming. I'd get hurt way too much by following my heart this round (I had to take xeon e3110 s775 last time for the same reason).

    My planned Black Friday upgrade looks like, X motherboard (too early for a pick or homework not knowing AMD yet), Ivy 3770K (likely) and a 660TI with the highest default clock I can get at a black friday price :) (meaning $299 or under for zotac AMP speeds or better). I already have 16GB ddr3 waiting here...LOL. I ordered it ages ago, figuring it's going to go through the roof at some point (win8? crappy as it is IMHO). I'm only down $10 so far after purchasing mem I think in Jan or so...LOL. In the end I think I'll be up $30-80 at some point (I only paid $75 for 16GB). Got my dad taken care of too, we're both just waiting on black friday and all this 28nm vid card crap to sort out. End of Nov should have some better tsmc cards available (or another fabs chips?). I'm guessing a ton at high clocks by then for under $299.

    Anyway, THANKS for the good laugh :) I needed that after reading my 4th asinine review. Guru3d looking up for the 5th though...LOL. He doesn't seem to care who wins, & caters more to the wallet it seems (great OC stuff there too). He usually doesn't have a ton of cards or chips in each review though, so you have to read more than one product review there to get the picture, but they're good reviews. Hilbert Hagedoorn (sp?) does pretty dang good. By the end of it, I'll have hit everyone I think (worth mentioning, techreport, hardocp, ixbtlabs, hexus etc - sorry if I left a good one out guys). I seem to read 10+ these days before parting with cash. :( I like hardocp for a difference in ideas of benchmarking. He benches and states the HIGHEST PLAYABLE SETTINGS per card. It's a good change IMHO, though I still require all the other reviews for more games etc. I'm just sure to hit him for vidcard reviews just for the settings I can expect to get away with in a few games. I wish guru3d had thrown in an OC'd 660TI into the 7950 boost review since they're so easily had clocked high at $299/309. But one more read gets that picture, or can be drawn by all the asinine reviews and his 7950 boost review...LOL. I have to get through the rest of guru3d, then off to hardocp for the different angle :) Ahh, weekend geek reading galore with two new gpu cards out this week ;)
    Reply
  • Jorgan22 - Sunday, October 7, 2012 - link

    Review was a good read, glad to see the 660 TI is doing well.

    I have no idea what's up with the comments though, especially you TheJian, you wrote a novel, ending half the paragraphs with "... LOL".

    If you're going to waste so much time doing that, post it in the forums, not in a comment thread where its not going to get read buddy, just hurts you.
    Reply
  • RussianSensation - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    1) TXAA is a blurry mess. See videos or screenshots. It's an option but let's not try claiming it's some new revolutionary anti-aliasing features.

    Instead HD7950 can actually handle MSAA and mods in Skyrim and Batman AC and not choke.
    http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/grafikkarten/20...

    2) That review left 2 critical aspects out:

    (I) Factory preoverclocked, binned after-market 7950s run cooler, quieter and at way lower voltage than that reference artificially overvolted 7950B card tested in the review (see MSI TwinFrozr 3, Gigabyte Windforce 3x for $320-330 on Newegg).

    (II) Those same after-market 7950s hit 1100-1200mhz on 1.175V or less in our forum. At those speeds, the HD7950 > GTX680/HD7970 Ghz Edition. How is that for value at $320-330?

    The review didn't take into account that you can get way better 7950 cards and they overclock 30-50%, and yet the same review took after-market 660Tis and used their coolers for noise testing and overclocking sections against a reference based 7950.

    Let's see how the 660Ti does against the $320 MSI TwinFrozr 7950 @ 1150mhz with MSAA on in Metro 2033, Crysis 1/Warhead, Anno 2070, Skyrim with ENB Mods w/8xMSAA, Batman AC w/8xMSAA, Dirt Showdown, Sleeping Dogs, Sniper Elite V2, Serious Sam 3, Bulletstorm, Alan Wake, Crysis 2 with MSAA. It's going to get crushed, that's what will happen.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now