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Test--Picture Quality Of HD 4870 and GTX 260

Stalker: Clear Sky - Is Your System Ready?

There are two problems in this test. With maximum illumination (extended dynamic illumination of objects), all cards in the test can work with anti-aliasing activated in the graphics menu — however, frame rates are so low that you can’t play in DX10 mode anymore.

Currently, activating anti-aliasing in the DX10 mode only makes sense with the GeForce GTX 280. At maximum illumination and 1280x1024 pixels, its output is 26.6 fps. Thus, the frame rate is not evaluated in the image comparison. We only look at optical differences between AMD’s Radeon HD 4870 and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 260.

If you lower the illumination (dynamic illumination of objects), none of the current test cards can activate anti-aliasing in the game. You will have to wait for a hotfix from AMD, because even if you select anti-aliasing in the driver, it doesn’t take effect in the game. Nvidia has the override mode in its graphics driver, which is why the GTX 260 also has comparison images with these driver settings. The darker colors come from the lower illumination mode, dynamic illumination of objects (DirectX 9).

Comparison of Antialiasing (4xAA) HD 4870 and GTX 260.

The standard mode with 4xAA anti-aliasing looks pretty much identical with all cards, except for the concrete edge of the bridge, which is not completely filtered by the GTX 260. The unfiltered edge must be at an unfortunate angle, and although other areas show anti-aliasing, the enlarged part of the image does not. At the lower illumination level — dynamic illumination of objects — we activated the Nvidia driver, and the anti-aliasing can be seen in all areas (images to the very right).

 Comparison of anisotropic filtering (8xAF) HD 4870 and GTX 260.

Also, the perspective correction of the ground texture creates a pattern and looks nearly identical. The color differences in the Nvidia driver test (image to the very right) come from the lower illumination level (dynamic illumination of objects) where the milky haze of DirectX 10 illumination has disappeared, making the details appear sharper.

If AMD and Nvidia decide to optimize the drivers, this might also affect the image quality. The results and comparison images are only valid for the test drivers we used.

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