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Nvidia FSAA still awful compared to ATI


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This week I made the tactical error of buying an 8800GTS instead of the (slightly) cheaper x1950Pro I was planning to buy. I won't be buying Vista, so DX10 wasn't a factor. I just thought "oh well, for a few quid more I can have dx10 capability if I ever change my mind". Seemed like a good idea at the time... but then doesn't everything? :-)

 

Ok, cards like this aren't meant to be run at "low" resolutions like 1280x1024, but all I can say is that even x16fsaa on this card isn't as smooth and -- more importantly -- shimmer-free as x4fsaa on the X800XT I was using before. I swear it's like looking through a heat haze at times.

 

I was prepared to be underwhelmed by my new card (especially in CPU-limited sims) but I wasn't prepared for this. Serves me right for spending so much time looking at the pretty views I suppose. I should be bombing things.

 

Anyway, if you're planning on flying at 1600x1200 then Nvidia is probably as good as ATI (pixels so small that fsaa isn't a big factor). But for anything else go ATI. This has been a public service announcement on behalf of the more money than sense party.

 

Andrew McP

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Ι agree about the shimmerless ATi and its superiority in Image Quality

Though i think the case with 7 and especially 8 series cards could be more the drivers. The architecture of 8 is so different than the previous cores, and the improvement in image quality capabilities is vast to say the least. 8800 should perform equaly the least to any ati in terms of Image Quality, as i have understood, i may be mistaken though as i am no technical depth expert.

 

For those (like me) who are using 7 (or less) geforce series (7800 GTX) the way i have found (under lots of googling and forums poking) to deal with it is using :

 

  • High Image Quality (nvidia control panel, dont overide-touch any optimizations, HQ sets them to off)
  • Negative LOD clamp (nvidia control panel - advanced settings)
  • 4xS (by using nHancer) or 8xS (if your card can afford it) multisampling - supersampling combo AA
  • AF helps with those settings, set even as low as 8X if you cant afford 16X

 

but i fly and play 1024*768 with my 19" CRT and i go to 1152*864 when the above settings cant improve the image quality enough (i prefer save my limited 256mb ram for high res bitmap texture rendering than screen resolution)

.

 

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Thanks for the suggestions Squid. I may have been a bit harsh about the smoothness... x16fsaa is pretty good. But the shimmering certainly isn't, particularly on town textures in the middle distance. I'm finding it very distracting, and when I drop to 800x600 and x2fsaa (movie making mode) things are really bad. Edges crawl, and those town textures look lik ethere's an earthquake going on.

 

I think I'll be dumping this and heading back to ATI, but it's early days yet and I must do some experimenting.

 

Andrew McP

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Keep experimenting with drivers, Andrew. I remember being pissed off at my 7800GT's :censored: AA quality until I found the 78.01's. Now I need to take my own advice and use something other than my X1950XTX's CD drivers and see if those cat 7.1's are good or not. :matrix:

 

I do agree though, all in all, ATi seems to produce a nicer image.

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Really, that's contrary to every thing i'v herd. When i build my new rig in a few months, i plan on getting a Nvidia 7900GS. is this the right choice, or is there an ATI equivilant that would be better?

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Really, that's contrary to every thing i'v herd. When i build my new rig in a few months, i plan on getting a Nvidia 7900GS. is this the right choice, or is there an ATI equivilant that would be better?

 

 

Well I suppose it depends on how much money you're planning on spending. :) By the time you build a new rig the 1950 series by ATi should be a bit cheaper with the release of the R600. I'd rather have my x1950xtx than a 7900 GS.

---------------------

 

FX 55 Sandy@ 3.03 GHz

Tuniq Tower 120

DFI Lanparty CFX 3200-DR/G

(2X) X1950XTX Crossfire@ 695 core

2048 OCZ PC 3200 Platinum (2-3-2-5)

Antec TP3 650

Samsung 19" LCD (8ms)

Saitek X-45 HOTAS

Track IR 4

CH Pro Pedals

:pilotfly:

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I'd rather have my x1950xtx than a 7900 GS.

 

The 7900GS is a lot cheaper though, cheaper (usually) than the 1950Pro.

 

Hopefully I'll find a solution I'm happier with, but this situation reminds me how impressed I was when I changed from an Nvidia GF4 ti4200 to a second hand ATI 9700Pro. It wasn't just the speed, it was the quality of the FSAA'd image.

 

If I could go back in time a week I would undoubtedly stick with my original aim of buying a 512Mb 1950Pro (512Mb in the hope that the extra onboard memory helps smooth some of LOMAC's stuttering when firing rockets etc). I certainly wouldn't recommend Nvidia to anyone for LOMAC based on my experience so far.

 

Other people will hopefully have better experiences. But my advice would certainly be to bin the 7900 and find a little extra money for a 1950Pro.

 

Andrew McP

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Yeah Andrew it's nice, I don't get any of that stuttering crap anymore since I went to 2 gig of ram and my 1950 xtx. :)

---------------------

 

FX 55 Sandy@ 3.03 GHz

Tuniq Tower 120

DFI Lanparty CFX 3200-DR/G

(2X) X1950XTX Crossfire@ 695 core

2048 OCZ PC 3200 Platinum (2-3-2-5)

Antec TP3 650

Samsung 19" LCD (8ms)

Saitek X-45 HOTAS

Track IR 4

CH Pro Pedals

:pilotfly:

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The settings i suggested above (especialy 16x AF + 8xS AA + Negative LOD Clamp + Image Quality High) should eliminate shimmerings a great deal if not completely (in most cases)

 

The only ATi i had so far was a 9600XT, the first card i owned that allowed me to really play LockOn. Although things have changed since then a lot on both camps i recall the more efficient AF and AA, with the Radeon i could had a 4x-8x nvidia equivalent AA by just using 2x. (this i guess means more resources left free for speeding fps)

 

I really liked my Radeon, and from the reading i done so far theres no doubt Radeons rock in terms of image quality (and image quality comes as very high priority to my graphic designer eyes) but the thing with the Radeon was the very poor performance in OpenGL games (like my beloved IL2 series) and many combatibility issues with games (like the beloved again Thirdwire family of sims) to the degree that when i moved back to nvidia i unexpectedly felt a convenience relief, faced no games combatibilities issues again.

 

I think drivers on both parties are more or less about equal in terms of efficiency and issues. With nvidia i think the case is to dedicate some time first experimenting and test driving a bunch of drivers (moded, whql, beta etc) and there are tons of them, and when find the one that does it better for you (eg image quality over speed, stability over everything etc, whatever is your favor) and just stick with it.

 

I read from serious LockOners that for some reason LockOn is a tad faster on nvidia. Radeons though for some reason again win the 3Dmark scores (which is of negotiable real life value).

 

if i was to go for a card now, i would certainly wait for an 8800 / R600 generation card and that because by August , the 8800GTS for example will cost about 200 not to mention the even cheaper 8600 thats about to be launched. And my main argument for this generation of cards is that anything prior to G80 / R600 is limited to 24 pixel and 8 vertex shaders (and no geometry and physics shaders) ... while the new dx10 cards have a minimum of 64 (8600) unified shaders (shaders that can do either pixel, vertex, geometry or physics shading) , the 8800 GTS for example bears 96 of those. Its a whole new arctitecture and performance and image quality leap that very soon will be very affordable.

 

In terms of performance, they maybe will make no significant difference to the dx8 lockon engine comparing to 1950s or 7800-79xx (since lockon is content even with 6600GT / X850 - and still just wants the more CPU power you can feed it) but in terms of investment i think this isnt an advisable period maybe to get a brand new high end dx9 card

.

 

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ATi made a huge leap forward in terms of OpenGL performance with their drivers, ATi's driver department rewrote all of the OpenGL section on their drivers which helped alot. (Of course that other things helped as well, such as the Ring Bus which got very tweaked for OpenGL games).

ATi cards are very comparable to nVIDIA cards in OGL games (DooM3, Riddick, Quake4, Prey...) and sometimes even better.

 

R580 and R580+ AKA X1900XTX and X1950XTX has 48 Pixel Shader units each, those are actually very strong ALU units (math units in simplicity) which can (and will be) used as for physics calculations. (no such thing as physics shaders).

 

ATi cards has more raw shader power than nVIDIA cards (means more ALU power) and has more efficient design (thanks to ATi's superb dynamic branching and more), all of that means that ATi cards (X1000 series) are much more suited for physics calculations, both companies showed some physics apps to the public but there were no head to head benchmarks between them tho so those are only based guesses.

 

AFAIK the 8800GTS shouldn't drop to 200$, more like 300$-350$ and the top 8600 card would be 200$-220$ and should come by the end of March followed by the R600 at early April followed by midrange R600 (RV630 IIRC) a month or a bit more later.

 

As for the topic, it was known for a long time that ATi's AA and AF were better quality than nVIDIA, but nVIDIA did manage to improve somewhat their AA's and AF's quality within their drivers and the new 8800 series.

 

It was found that turning off all the optimizations and increasing the quality setting in the drivers helped with this issue (and caused some FPS drop, altough I don't think you'll notice that in LOMAC), you can try it.

 

The 8800GTS should be a lot better from the X1950Pro in terms of performance, thus the Pro should be a lot cheaper, the GTS is in a different "league" in terms of performance.

 

I wish you luck finding a solution and hope that it will motivate you to create some more LOMAC movies:P

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This thread I started below is a year old but it still holds interesting results. There are 175 responses and this forum is broadly visited. It was obviously prior to the 8800 series and I assumed everyone answered honestly. Add the "little bit" and "remarkably" catagories and ATI wins by a significant margin...

 

http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1022142

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AFAIK the 8800GTS shouldn't drop to 200$, more like 300$-350$ and the top 8600 card would be 200$-220$ and should come by the end of March followed by the R600 at early April followed by midrange R600 (RV630 IIRC) a month or a bit more later.

 

 

sorry, I had euros in mind. The 320 GTS can be found now even for as low as about 270-290 thats why i assume it might go down to 200 (euros) by august - september

 

Indeed 8800 GTS is a whole another league comparing to 1950Pro, I believe that with little patience, reading, testing, and searching, it can be configured to excellent image quality comparable to that of the dx9 ATi cards. I believe its not a matter of the 8800 hardware. As for speed its maybe faster in real life than 1900/50 XT/X (i am not sure, somebody might have more real life info here about this) so theres no comparison with the 1950Pro

.

 

i7 880 | HD 7870 | 8 Gb DDR3 1600 | ECS P55H-A | OCZ Vertex 2 180 | Intel 330 180 | WD 500 AAKS | 2x WD 2T Green | Enermax Liberty 620 | CH Combatstick & Throttle | TrackIR 3 | HP ZR24W | Windows 7 x64

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To add some input, I'm not seeing one whit of real benchmark difference (Fraps) between Quality and High Quality settings in the nVidia control panel. My benchmarks on the track from my o/c thread are identical.

 

I was always under the impression that the High Quality -> Performance slider only determined by default what all the other setting were, and which were locked.

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Thanks Squid. I've discovered that if I crank all the options up to max (and there are a lot of them, some of which show up in some control panels, but not in others.... so confusing!) I can get the quality I'm used to.

 

However it does seem that Nvidia's hardware has to jump through a lot more hoops to get to the quality I'm used to having simply by setting x4fsaa, x8aniso with my ATI card.

 

The good news is that as I spend most of my LOMAC life at 800x600, the frame rate isn't slowed down too much by running with all the bells and whistles on.

 

Andrew McP

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confirm on AA mode that "Override application setting" is selected

 

I do find the scattered Nvidia control options rather confusing, but even I can spot when LOMAC is running without FSAA. It makes it looks like a Lego sim. :-)

 

Andrew McP

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If you fly at 1600x1200 anti-aliasing is less important. The lower the resolution, the more important FSAA becomes. For movie making purposes I always run at 800x600, and at that resolution differences in FSAA quality and texture crawling is very obvious indeed.

 

Andrew McP

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All this talk about how much better ATI is then Nvidia really starts to make me wounder just what the future of ATI will be here in Lock On..

 

With the release of an ATI DX10 Card have the same resolution quality of the present DX9 card?

 

The big factor for me now is my Mobo is not SLI compatible (but is Cross Fire capable) makes me think that I might be looking to set up a little auction for my self over at e-bay...

 

I'm going to wait until we see some product released from ATI and just how it stacks up with Lock On...

 

After all I like my gForce 8800 and my only concern is SLI. and hey that will be later on, maybe after BS is released???

 

~S~

 

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