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Introducing ATi's New Middle Class: The Radeon 9600 PRO

A Matter Of IQ, Continued

We're still waiting for both NVIDIA and ATi to release official and WHQL-certified drivers before we make any final judgments on image quality. A first comparison of FSAA and anisotropic filtering quality can be found in our Radeon 9800 review here . Below are some new image comparison screen shots with anisotropic filtering. Click on the image to view the screen shot in its original size. We recommend a resolution of 1024 x 768!

Jedi Knight II (OpenGL)

Take a look at the wall in the foreground and upper part of the wall at the top. You can see that the NV "performance" setting is nowhere near as clear as ATi's. Even in "quality" mode, the front wall is still fuzzy compared to Ati, and it only becomes sharp in "application." In the ATi "performance" setting, you can see a little unsharp area right of the upper torch. It's almost gone in the quality setting. NV's "quality" setting has the same difficulty with this area, which looks just fine in "application."

Unreal Tournament 2003 (D3D)

In the lower part of the image, you can see the difference between performance and quality with the NV card. The white specks on the floor are slightly fuzzy in NV aniso, but nice and sharp in ATi "performance."

Unreal Tournament 2003 (D3D)

You can see the same difference on the sloping wall. ATi "performance" looks much sharper. ATi "quality" also looks a bit sharper than NV "quality." Zoom in and take a look at the black areas in the texture.

My conclusion is that ATi "performance" looks much better than NV "performance." ATi "quality" also looks better than NV "quality" (just take a look at the wall in jk2), but the difference is less pronounced. Lastly: ATI also offers superior quality with 16x. This helps in certain types of games like racing simulations with large viewing areas (as you can see in the GP4 screen shots I posted in our R9800 review .

These tests were conducted on a Radeon 9700/ 9800 and a GeForce FX 5800. The Radeon 9600/ 9600 PRO, sharing the same IQ features, should yield identical results. Likewise, the quality of the FX 5600 should be identical to that of the FX 5800.