Image Quality: GeForce Vs. Radeon
Since we didn't have one of the new 400-series GeForce cards on hand in time for this review, we'll have to compare GeForce and Radeon results in DirectX 9 mode. We'll compare screenshots taken from a Radeon HD 5870 and a GeForce GTX 260 to see if there are any differences.
Surprisingly, we do find a number of unusual differences between GeForce and Radeon output. While we've often seen GeForce and Radeon rendering disparities in the past, the kind of differences we notice in Aliens vs. Predator are more pronounced.
In one scene, the texture maps applied to the wall actually seem to change their mapping coordinates between Radeon and GeForce cards, while in other scenes, the Radeon cards show a definite lighting difference, with darker shadows and brighter highlights. To further complicate matters, these differences seem to go away when the Radeon card is run in DirectX 11 mode. That's right, a GeForce card in DirectX 9 delivers similar texture mapping and lighting as a Radeon card in DirectX 11 mode does (minus the DirectX 11 effects, of course).
The good news is that none of these differences are show stoppers, and if I hadn't scrutinized the screenshots, I'd never have noticed.
Now let's see how the Radeon HD 5000-series cards can up the ante with DirectX 11 effects.