Due to the state of the (non-final) drivers on both sides, image quality comparisons are a bit problematic at this stage. NVIDIA's GeForceFX drivers in particular still have some kinks that need to be ironed out (Xs FSAA modes), which in some cases even cause image corruption. On top of that, we have no way of checking the floating-point precision with which pixel shader effects are calculated.
Therefore we will postpone our more extensive image quality comparison until we have WHQL certified drivers which must conform to certain standards and settings. Nonetheless, we can make some preliminary comparisons between the Radeon 9700 PRO and the GeForceFX. The ATi screenshots were taken on a Radeon 9700 PRO board, which should be representative of the 9800.
We decided to test using Grand Prix 4. Racing games tend to benefit more from anisotropic filtering and FSAA than other games. Especially rough transitions between mipmap levels and the high viewing distance create problems that a good anisotropic filtering implementation can easily remedy.
Click image for uncompressed bmp version.
All screenshots were taken at a resolution of 1024x768. We recommend setting your screen to 1024 as well when viewing them to ensure a realistic comparison.