These days games can't just run well, they have to
look amazing too. More and more gamers are turning on Anti Aliasing and Anisotropic
filtering to improve the image quality and the thirst for life like
images is not soon to fade. ATI have incorporated multi-sampling AA
into Smoothvision 2.0! Every gamer knows the significance of multi sampling AA.
3dfx was pushing multi sampling AA very hard just before they went under, they
claimed that the performance penalty was not as severe as Super Sampling AA and
the image quality was better. Let's touch on the older Super Sampling first though.
Sampling basically renders an image at a much higher resolution then scales it
down. This is the same AA that we've seen the last little while in both nVidia
and ATi videocards so we're pretty familiar with how that works.
Multi Sampling AA is totally different from Super Sampling.
Multi Sampling does not require a videocard to render the image at a much higher
resolution. Rather, Multi Sampling looks at the colour of each individual pixel
to determine how much of the triangle (remember triangles make up all the
structures you see on the screen) is shown in a given pixel.
It then compares
how much of the triangle is shown, and how much of the background is shown,
Based on that information it will blend between those two colours. This form of AA is
much faster then Super Sampling, but because it works at a triangle level it does
not require the videocard to render the image at higher resolutions. ATI
claims that because Multi Sampling works on a triangle level, the image quality
not be as good however.
Anyone who plays racing games or simulators knows that in the foreground,
objects are not as detailed, when AA is enabled this is even worse because AA
usually makes the scene a bit blurrier.
Image Quality with the ATI
Which vide ochipset/GPU has the better image quality
has been debated since the dawn of time, and the only real way to
get the answers is to look for yourself. Let's take a few screen
If you look at the ground or far center rock both are clearly more detailed then on the image
to the right. Both images use a setting of 2x AA and 8x AF, can
you guess which graphics processor is responsible for each image? Hint;
image on the left is from the ATI Radeon 9700
Pro and the image from the right is MSI Nvidia GeForce4 Ti4600 using Detonator