Armed with NVIDIA Windows Vista driver 158.42 that was officially released this morning and armed with a special ATI driver that is known at the “feature preview” driver, I was able to compare image quality. The ATI pre-alpha driver includes improvements to Adaptive AA, HDR, and has new features such as 12xAA and 24xAA.
When it comes to image quality we installed both drivers and without adjusting any of the settings in the control panel jumped right into the benchmark to see how they did. The NVIDIA 158.42 drivers looked very crisp with the bit mapping on the bricks showing off the depth of the surface. Keep your eye on the inside left side of the fire pit and scroll your mouse over the picture above. Notice how with the ATI pre-alpha drivers that the inside left and right sides of the fire pit have some sort of filtering taking place that makes the bricks a bit blurred. Can you find the other spots that are filtered? Take a look at the trees outside the window and the grooves on the wood paneling. It seems that the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT that was used for the ATI screen shot wasn’t as crisp as the GeForce 8800 GTX that was used to take the NVIDIA capture. If you can’t notice the difference in the above rollover go ahead and download the original 1024 x 768 NVIDIA and ATI screen shots or open them each in a new tab on your browser and check it out for yourself.
The Test System:
The test system was running Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit on an ASUS M2A-VM motherboard with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ processor. A 2GB kit of Corsair PC2-8500 DOMINATORS was used as well as an XFX GeForce 8800 GTX and ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT graphics cards. The Zalman heat sink kept things cool, while the Corsair 620W Power Supply kept power flowing smoothly.