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PowerMagic ATI Radeon 8500 in the test: Swan song for the GeForce3?

PowerMagic ATI Radeon 8500 in the test: Swan song for the GeForce3?

Smoothvision

Finally the Smoothvision is also enabled with new drivers. Smoothvision is the anti-aliasing process of the Radeon 8500. In contrast to the GeForce3, which only offers the levels 2x, Quincunx and 4x, the Radeon 8500 has the performance levels 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x and 6x as well as the quality levels 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x and 6x. The difference between the two methods is that the quality setting works with significantly larger textures and, due to the resulting large memory bandwidth, is significantly slower than the performance setting. Unfortunately, ATI has still implemented a mixed variant of multi and supersampling, because multisampling makes the textures rather blurry, so it should bea 2x FSAA of the Radeon 8500 is compared with the quincunx of the Geforce3, the latter have anisotropic filtering activated in order to achieve the same image quality. In addition, not every Smoothvision setting is mobile in every resolution:

Maximum Smoothvision resolution (32Bit)
2x 3x 4x 5x 6x Quality 1280x1024 800x600 1024x768 800x600 800x600 Performance 1600x1200 1280x1024 1280x1024 1024x768 1024x768

In order to be able to draw an approximate optical anti-aliasing comparison between the two cards, we have selected an excerpt from 3DMark2001, Game 1 Car Chase, on which the smoothing of the individual anti-aliasing is particularly good Levels.

The performance levels of the Radeon 8500 from left to right - no antialiasing, 2x .... 6x

Radeon 8500 No Antialiasing
Radeon 8500 3x Performance
Radeon 8500 4x Performance
Radeon 8500 5x Performance
Radeon 8500 6x Performance

The quality levels of the Radeon 8500 from left to right - no antialiasing, 2x .... 6x

Radeon 8500 No Antialiasing
Radeon 8500 2x Quality
Radeon 8500 3x Quality
Radeon 8500 4x Quality
Radeon 8500 5x Quality
GeForce3 No Antialiasing
GeForce3 2x FSAA
GeForce3 Quincunx
GeForce3 4x FSAA

The different image quality is noticeable here of the two cards, although both were made with the same quality settings, the Radeon 8500 looks as if it were using antialiasing even without FSAA, while on the GeForce3 the color gradations are coarser, but the light reflections are even easier to see. It was unclear whether one of the two was cheating on the benchmark, since the pictures are 3 times enlarged of a section from 800x600 andthese are not necessarily noticeable without magnification. In general, however, in this case you can say that 2x quality and 2x performance come close to quincunx or are better.

On the next page: Hydravision