Attack Out Of The Blind Spot: Matrox Parhelia-512

Anisotropische Filtering - Without Anti-Aliasing

It's difficult to compare various graphics cards with anisotropic filtering, because virtually every manufacturer has its own individual interpretation of this filter technology. Here and there, various tricks are used, and each manufacturer has its own nomenclature for the different filtering levels. Matrox only gives you two settings options: on or off. Officially, NVIDIA only supports anisotropic filtering with OpenGL. Although the driver has long since supported it, even under Direct 3D, NVIDIA still hasn't planned any optional settings for it in the driver menu. This leaves you with no choice but to modify the registry manually, or use freeware tools such as Rivatuner or nVHardPage.

Because quality is central in this comparison, we used the maximum possible settings for both cards:

Click here for an uncompressed version of the screenshot.

Here, you can see a fragment that contains a ground texture. In the distance, the details become significantly less defined with simple trilinear filtering (left). Anisotropic filtering makes sharper, crisper textures possible. NVIDIA's GF4 was tested at a setting of 2x (which corresponds to the Parhelia's filtering level), as well as at the maximum setting of 8x (64 tap).

As you can see, the Parhelia's filtering level is quite low compared to what's possible with the GeForce 4. In the top half of the image, the GeForce 4 seems to be much sharper. Matrox calls its filter mode 64Sample Anisotropic, which, according to Matrox, corresponds to 16tap anisotropic filtering. Oddly enough, NVIDIA's interpretation at 64 samples corresponds to 32tap. However, a direct comparison of the images shows that Parhelia's anisotropic filtering corresponds to the Level 2 setting in NVIDIA's drivers.