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AquaMark 3 - Time for nVidia to face the reality? - Image Quality

In two days time Massive Development in Germany will release AquaMark 3, a fully compliant DX9 benchmark which offers gamers the ability to measure the performance of their graphics cards for the next 12 months. With all the news of poor DX9 performance from nVidia's NV35 lately, Cameron "Mr.Tweak" Wilmot has posted an article examining the performance under AquaMark 3 compared to ATI's R350 while taking a preview look at the upcoming benchmark. Read on!

By: | Benchmarks in Software | Posted: Sep 13, 2003 4:00 am

Image Quality Testing


Massive created a very cool feature in AquaMark 3 which allows you capture screenshots at certain frame points in the benchmark - every 500 or 1000 frame points to be exact - an extremely handy feature for hardware reviewers. So, if you choose every 500, you will end up with 10 screenshots and if you choose every 1000, you will end up with 5 since the benchmark has 5202 frames in total.


The screenshots are saved in the "\My Documents\AquaMark3\" section as a high quality *.TGA files weighing in at about 5MB each when testing at 1600x1200.


Following on from our benchmarks, we took a bunch of different screenshots, 230MB in total, running 1600x1200 with the highest possible quality offered by AquaMark 3 - Level 4 AA and 8x AF with Triple Buffering enabled. We also captured screens at the same resolution at the lowest possible image quality - no AA and trilinear filtering only with Triple Buffering disabled.


Let's get the image quality tests under way. Just remember these screenshots do not represent the actual quality of the game since we have saved these images as JPG which does not carry the quality of the TGA format.


Image Quality - Highest Possible


Below are three screenshots taken at the 1000 frame point in the benchmark at the highest possible quality level. Please click on the image for full size image;


- FX 44.23



- FX 51.75



- Radeon



As far as I am concerned, AA image quality from the old drivers to the new drivers has increase a little bit with the Radeon graphics being a tad worse than nVidia, but only by a small margin. This may explain the drop in performance with the new drivers, but for such a small increase in image quality it seems fairly unlikely.


I am not going to give much commentary on image quality since interpretation varies from person to person. Instead open up the images yourself and decide for yourself. And while you're at, decide for yourself if you would really want to sacrifice frames per second for slight image quality improvement. I know what I would choose at this stage.


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