nVidia GeForce4 MX 440 in the test: Inno3D, Gainward, Leadtek and Prolink in comparison

nVidia GeForce4 MX 440 in the test: Inno3D, Gainward, Leadtek and Prolink in comparison

FSAA performance

Let's come now on the subject of full screen anti aliasing. Since the introduction of the GeForce3, chips from nVidia have not only mastered the classic supersampling process, which internally calculates the image completely in a higher resolution and then downscales it and outputs it to the RAMDAC via the frame buffer. In terms of quality, the process is of high quality, but unfortunately requires a lot of power, which is not surprising, it doesProcess even more effort than actually playing in a higher resolution. For performance reasons, GeForce3 and GeForce4 (MX and Ti) use a process called multisampling, which only works at the edges of the objects in a scene. The advantage of this is that the annoying podium artefacts are now smoothed out with significantly increased performance. The disadvantage of this is that the textures remain completely untreated.


From left to right you can see the same section from a picture without FSAA, with 4x multisampling and with 4x supersampling. The described effect can be seen particularly well on the texture of the roof, but the soil texture below the black bar (a drawbar) is also clearly sharpened from the supersampling process.

The pixel flickering and the increased texture sharpness with classic supersampling have to be achieved with GeForce3/4 with other means. One of these means is anisotropic filtering, the addition of which unfortunately costs performance again and is only available in a single level on the GeForce4MX, while the GeForce3 and GeForce4 Ti offer four levels.

Furthermore, the chips of the GeForce4 series have the advantage that with 2xMSAA and with Quincunx-AA you save a write access to the frame buffer and the picture is only mixed together in the RAMDAC. So there is an anti-aliasing effect on screenshots that were created using the 'Print' button and thus copy the content of the frame buffernot to see. This is just a preliminary remark, before we come to the pure performance show.

3DMark 2001 SE FSAA

For the benchmarks for the FSAA we have selected a few very special candidates and these in the most common resolutions measured from 800x600x32, 1024x768x32 and 1152x864x32. First the 3DMark2001 SE:

FSAA 3DMark 2001SE 1024x32Bit
FSAA 3DMark2001SE 800x32Bit
FSAA 3DMark2001SE 1152x32Bit

Clearly recognizable how strong multisampling is able to increase performance. Especially in the quincunx setting, which hardly costs any performance compared to the 2x setting, the GeForce4 MX almost comes close to the performance of the GeForce3 Ti200. In no case should one overlook the fact that this more performance was bought with less quality, which can be adjusted with an anisotropic filter if desired.

On the next page: Quake 3 FSAA