iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






ATI Technologies' counter-offensive:
RADEON X1800 (R520),
X1600 (RV530), and X1300 (RV515) Series

Part 4: Rendering Quality, New Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering Modes
(Continuation, F.E.A.R. SP Demo)


  1. Part 1. Theory and architecture
  2. Part 2: Practical examination
  3. Part 3: Game test results (performance)
  4. Part 4: Render quality comparison in games

Settings and conventional signs

  • AA and AF control was done from the game.
  • Drivers were configured by default, except for those modified to analyze the quality in various AA and AF modes.

  • 4x/16x = MSAA 4x, AF 16x
  • 4x+TA/16x = MSAA 4x + Transparency/Adaptive AA, AF 16x
  • 4x+TA/16x+HQ = MSAA 4x + Transparency/Adaptive AA, AF 16x High Quality (HQ AF and Catalyst A.I. Off in R520, Catalyst A.I. Off in R480 and HQ mode in G70)

F.E.A.R. SP Demo

From the games in the recent past to games in the nearest future. F.E.A.R., being developed in Monolith by the authors of famous No One Lives Forever and Aliens vs Predator 2, has all chances to become one of the main games in Autumn 2005, not only in gameplay, but in graphics as well. This engine resembles a cross between Doom 3 and Half-Life 2: shadows from the former and plenty of pixel and vertex shaders from the latter.

  Radeon X1800 GeForce 7800

JPEG (~380 KB) | PNG (~2.4 MB)

JPEG (~380 KB) | PNG (~2.4 MB)

JPEG (~380 KB) | PNG (~2.4 MB)

JPEG (~380 KB) | PNG (~2.4 MB)

JPEG (~380 KB) | PNG (~2.4 MB)

JPEG (~380 KB) | PNG (~2.4 MB)

  Radeon X850

JPEG (~380 KB) | PNG (~2.4 MB)

JPEG (~380 KB) | PNG (~2.4 MB)

You make out the difference in shadow rendering quality between the R520 and the other two cards right away here. For example, look at the boxes on the left wall: the R520 renders black sharp shadows, while the G70 and R480 render them blurred and gray. We cannot tell you the reasons for this difference so far and why it shows only in the R520. Besides, we really shouldn't draw far-reaching conclusions on a demo version — let's wait for the release, new RX1800 drivers, and then get back to this comparison in our 3Digest quality control.

It should also be noted that none of the video cards in any AF mode coped well with filtering the floor grid in the right part of the screenshot. The best results are demonstrated by the GF7800 in High Quality mode, but a suspicious horizontal line makes you pause: can cunning NVIDIA possibly use bilinear filtering in this game to squeeze a couple of extra fps?..

No less strange is the fact that neither RX1800 nor GF7800 managed to smooth a transparent floor texture in TAA/AAA mode.

Back: SC: Chaos Theory | Forward: Serious Sam 2

Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)
Danil Gridasov (degust@ixbt.com)

October 12, 2005.

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