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Lastly we would like to show you four flash animations (requires Macromedia Flash player) that point out the differences between the cards. Since we used the lowest compression factor available, the loading times may be rather long, depending on your Internet connection.
The results of our texture filtering tests look somewhat dramatic. In practice, meaning in normal games, you'd have to keep your eyes peeled to spot the differences between the individual cards and Refrast. From this perspective, adaptive filtering is more or less legitimate, since the user gets much better performance with almost optimal image quality. Nonetheless we would prefer that NVIDIA and ATi left it up to the user to decide whether or not to use these optimizations. Neither company has an advantage when anisotropic filtering is enabled - and both don't render "correctly," at least if you take Refrast as your point of reference. In the last generation of cards, it made sense that adaptive filtering was the only option. But the new X800 and GF6800 should be fast enough to offer optional non-adaptive methods.
Since the Radeon X800 and the MS reference rasterizer show better results in our screenshots, it's hard to understand why the GeForce 6800 offers better image quality, or let's say it renders more correctly - as Microsoft confirms. However, in motion, the 45-degree deflection can cause texture sparkles in a moving image due to the higher Mipmap levels in that area - since they are only used in that area!
But again, the differences in our screenshots are very small, however, and not much has changed since our last article .
The results of the shader quality test remain unchanged from our last test. The image quality of the GeForce 6800 Ultra did not improve with the newer driver. Probably, this won't change until the next game patch. The image quality of the X800 cards is practically identical to that of the Radeon 9800XT - impeccable.