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Video Quality Tested: GeForce Vs. Radeon In HQV 2.0

Test Setup And Benchmarks

We've tried to include as many relevant graphics cards from the bottom rung to the top-end flagship architectures. One of our goals is to find out the cheapest cards that offer the ultimate image quality. Here are the details of the system with which we're benchmarking, and a list of the graphics cards we put to the test:

Test System
MotherboardGigabyte MA790XT-UD4P Socket AM3, AMD 790X, BIOS F8G
ProcessorPhenom II X6 1100T  3.3 GHz (3.7 GHz Max Turbo CORE)Hexa-Core, 6 MB L3 Cache
CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
MemoryCrucial DDR3-1333 Dual-Channel 2 x 2048 MB, 669 MHz, CAS 9-9-9-24-1T
GraphicsHIS Radeon HD 68501 GB GDDR5XFX Radeon HD 57501 GB GDDR5Radeon HD 5670 Reference512 MB GDDR5ASUS EAH5550 SilentRadeon HD 5550, 1 GB DDR2ASUS EAH5450 SilentRadeon HD 5450, 1 GB DDR2Galaxy GeForce GTX 4701280 MB GDDR5EVGA GeForce GTX 460 FTW EditionGeForce GTX 460, 1 GB GDDR5Gigabyte NX88TGeForce 8800 GT (representing 9800GT),512 MB DDR3Gigabyte N40D5GeForce GT 240, 512 MB GDDR5ASUS ENGT 430GeForce GT 430, 1 GB DDR3ASUS EN210 SilentGeForce G 210, 512 MB DDR2(all clock rates have been set to reference specifications for the purpose of benchmarking)
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Black 640 GB 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache SATA 3Gb/s
  • rootheday
    Could you give the same evaluation to Sandy Bridge's Intel HD Graphics?.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    I second the test using SB HD graphics. It might be just an IGP but I would like to see the quality in case I want to make a HTPC and since SB has amazing encoding/decoding results compared to anything else out there (even $500+ GPUs) it would be nice to see if it can give decent picture quality.

    But as for the results, I am not that suprised. Even when their GPUs might not perform the same as nVidia, ATI has always had great image quality enhancements, even before CCC. Thats an area of focus that nVidia might not see as important when it is. I want my Blu-Ray and DVDs to look great, not just ok.
    Reply
  • compton
    Great article. I had wondered what the testing criteria was about, and Lo! Tom's to the rescue. I have 4 primary devices that I use to watch Netflix's streaming service. Each is radically different in terms of hardware. They all look pretty good. But they all work differently. Using my 47" LG LED TV I did an informal comparison of each.

    My desktop, which uses a 460 really suffers from the lack of noise reduction options.
    My Samsung BD player looks less spectacular that the others.
    My Xbox looks a little better than the BD player.
    My PS3 actually looks the best to me, no matter what display I use.

    I'm not sure why, but it's the only one I could pick out just based on it's image quality. Netflix streaming is basically all I use my PS3 for. Compared to it, my desktop looks good and has several options to tweak but doesn't come close. I don't know how the PS3 stacks up, but I'm thinking about giving the test suite a spin.

    Thanks for the awesome article.
    Reply
  • cleeve
    9508697 said:
    Could you give the same evaluation to Sandy Bridge's Intel HD Graphics?.

    That's Definitely on our to-do list!

    Trying to organize that one now.
    Reply
  • lucuis
    Too bad this stuff usually makes things look worse. I tried out the full array of settings on my GTX 470 in multiple BD Rips of varying quality, most very good.

    Noise reduction did next to nothing. And in many cases causes blockiness.

    Dynamic Contrast in many cases does make things look better, but in some it revealed tons of noise in the greyscale which the noise reduction doesn't remove...not even a little.

    Color correction seemed to make anything blueish bluer, even purples.

    Edge correction seems to sharpen some details, but introduces noise after about 20%.

    All in all, bunch of worthless settings.
    Reply
  • killerclick
    jimmysmittyEven when their GPUs might not perform the same as nVidia, ATI has always had great image quality enhancements
    ATI/AMD is demolishing nVidia in all price segments on performance and power efficiency... and image quality.
    Reply
  • alidan
    killerclickATI/AMD is demolishing nVidia in all price segments on performance and power efficiency... and image quality.
    i thought they were loosing, not by enough to call it a loss, but not as good and the latest nvidia refreshes. but i got a 5770 due to its power consumption, i didn't have to swap out my psu to put it in and that was the deciding factor for me.
    Reply
  • haplo602
    this made me lol ...

    1. cadence tests ... why do you marginalise the 2:2 cadence ? these cards are not US exclusive. The rest of the world has the same requirements for picture quality.

    2. skin tone correction: I see this as an error on the part of the card to even include this. why are you correcting something that the video creator wanted to be as it is ? I mean the movie is checked by video profesionals for anything they don't want there. not completely correct skin tones are part of the product by design. this test should not even exist.

    3. dynamic contrast: cannot help it, but the example scene with the cats had blown higlights on my laptopt LCD in the "correct" part. how can you judge that if the constraint is the display device and not the GPU itself ? after all you can output on a 6-bit LCD or on a 10-bit LCD. the card does not have to know that ...
    Reply
  • mitch074
    "obscure" cadence detection? Oh, of course... Nevermind that a few countries do use PAL and its 50Hz cadence on movies, and that it's frustrating to those few people who watch movies outside of the Pacific zone... As in, Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia up to and including mainland China.

    It's only worth more than half the world population, after all.
    Reply
  • cleeve
    mitch074"obscure" cadence detection? Oh, of course... Nevermind that a few countries do use PAL and its 50Hz cadence on movies...
    You misunderstand the text, I think.

    To clear it up: I wasn't talking about 2:2 when I said that, I was talking about the Multi-Cadence Tests: 8 FPS animation, etc.
    Reply