NVIDIA and ATI: Image Quality and CPU Scaling Performance
In order to visually examine each vendor's methods of Anti-Aliasing, we elected to use Tiger Woods 2004. Although this title is clearly geared towards NVIDIA fans in terms of performance being a member of their TWIMTBP program, the aliasing of the environment is universal. Again, we are not commenting on any aspect of image quality here except for the jagged edges present in each scene and how well each card is able to minimize their visibility.
Default Image - No FSAA
Comparing the two default images against one another, we see that despite some obvious differences in the modeling of the character, the aliasing on the edges of the terrain in the distance is the same.
Looking at the first level of FSAA offered for each card, we can clearly see that ATI's solution is doing a better job of cleaning up the jagged edges. Although NVIDIA's next step in FSAA (2QAA), compares much more closely with ATI's 2XAA quality the X800 cards still walk away with the better image quality overall. This can be clearly seen especially on the edges of the mountains in the rightmost section of the scene.
Increasing the level of anti-aliasing to 4X for each card, we see NVIDIA catching up to ATI in image quality. Although nearly identical, the ATI card does show a bit better quality on the tops of the mountains in the middle of the scene. Overall, this is nearly a draw with a slight nod going towards ATI.
Once again, we see the two cards producing very competitive images with one another once the maximum settings for FSAA are selected. Here, the images produced on the GeForce 6800 cards manages to beat the ATI cards in overall image quality by a narrow but evident margin. Looking under the brim of Tiger's hat, we see that the NVIDIA cards are able to smooth those jaggies out while the X800 cards still show aliasing in their image.
Animated FSAA Comparison
To better illustrate the comments and scenarios mentioned above, we have cropped the full images to focus directly on the objects in the horizon. With your attention geared towards these edges, you can clearly see how each card's methods perform. In the end, it looks like ATI has a better image on lower settings with NVIDIA producing the best image at the maximum settings.