family took quite a bit of flak for its anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering
quality levels. The former was simply sub-par in comparison to ATI's method, and
the latter was discovered to be a mix of trilinear and bilinear filtering with
no option for full-quality trilinear.
optimized mix is still the default in nVidia's latest 61.11 drivers; however,
there is now a checkbox in the driver control panel to disable the "feature."
Performance will take a hit, of course, but for those concerned with the utmost
in quality, it's a sacrifice worth making. Also, keep in mind that the
forthcoming benchmarks in this review were all run with the Trilinear
Optimizations option turned off. The option isn't available for nVidia's GeForce
FX 5950 Ultra, unfortunately.
to anti-aliasing, the GeForce 6800 Ultra represents nVidia's first foray into
rotated grid anti-aliasing, similar to a technique ATI uses on its R300
processors. The result is a massive quality improvement over the GeForce FX 5950
Ultra and near parity with the Radeon 9800 XT.
ATI has a
new anti-aliasing scheme of its own that is claimed to raise the bar for visual
quality without incurring a performance hit. Termed "Temporal Anti-Aliasing",
the method alternates sample patterns on a per-frame basis to effectively double
the number of perceived samples without having to halve performance. For
example, 4x AA would look something like 8x, while a 6x sample would appear as
12x. It's something to keep in mind while deciding which card is best for your
Past S3 and
ATI products earned acclaim less for 3D alacrity (quickness) and more for video acceleration.
nVidia's role in bringing cinematic entertainment to the desktop was less
pronounced, at least until becoming an integral part of the Microsoft Windows XP
Media Center package.
introduction of the NV40 GPU, nVidia is furthering its commitment to
higher-quality video by incorporating a programmable video processor that may be
purposed towards addressing demanding video tasks, such as decoding the latest
high-definition WMV9 formats or accelerating DiVX decoding. It can also perform
a number of the functions wired into previous architectures, like de-blocking,
scaling, filtering, and de-interlacing. Color space conversion, gamma
correction, iDCT, and motion compensation are all programmable as well.
concedes that the performance of its video processor will be dependant on the
operating frequency of the NV40 GPU. Thus, it shall be interesting to see how
nVidia handles a range of products based on the same architecture ranging from
the mainstream to gaming enthusiast markets, all clocked at different
Overclocking the 6800 Ultra
stands, the GeForce 6800 Ultra may be running at its highest potential clock
frequencies... Using the CoolBits registry hack, we unlocked the manual clock
manipulation control panel page, which, in the 61.11 driver revision also
includes an automatic overclock setting. Unfortunately, every attempt at running
the 6800 Ultra faster than its stock 400/550MHz configuration resulted in a
failed test. As a result, of course, we weren't able to record any numbers at
however, able to observe that the overclocking property page identified two
settings, allowing independently configurable speeds for 2D and 3D operation.
Both were locked on our reference sample, but retail boards should hopefully be