Product: Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering
Company: ATI Technologies
Authour: Alex 'Morgoth Bauglir' Voicu
Editor: Charles 'Lupine' Oliver
Date: April 10th, 2008
Half Life 2 and Conclusion

After torturing you with all of these not very appealing images, let's see how the various AA and AF modes impact quality in an actual game: Half Life 2: Lost Coast.

AF Modes Modes (No AA)

HalfLife2: 0 AA 0 AF
HalfLife2: 0 AA 0 AF
HalfLife2: 0 AA 2 AF
HalfLife2: 0 AA 2 AF
HalfLife2: 0 AA 4 AF
HalfLife2: 0 AA 4 AF
HalfLife2: 0 AA 8 AF
HalfLife2: 0 AA 8 AF
HalfLife2: 0 AA 16 AF
HalfLife2: 0 AA 16 AF

2x AA Modes (No AF)

HalfLife2: 2 AA 0 AF
HalfLife2: 2 AA 0 AF
HalfLife2: 2 AA+NT 0 AF
HalfLife2: 2 AA+NT 0 AF
HL2-2 AA+WT 0 AF
HL2-2 AA+WT 0 AF

4x AA Modes (No AF)

HalfLife2: 4 AA 0 AF
HalfLife2: 4 AA 0 AF
HalfLife2: 4 AA+NT 0 AF
HalfLife2: 4 AA+NT 0 AF
HalfLife2: 4 AA+WT 0 AF
HalfLife2: 4 AA+WT 0 AF

8x AA Modes (No AF)

HalfLife2: 8 AA 0 AF
HalfLife2: 8 AA 0 AF
HalfLife2: 8 AA+NT 0 AF
HalfLife2: 8 AA+NT 0 AF
HalfLife2: 8 AA+WT 0 AF
HalfLife2: 8 AA+WT 0 AF

16x AA Modes (No AF)

HalfLife2: 16 AA 0 AF
HalfLife2: 16 AA 0 AF
HalfLife2: 16 AA+NT 0 AF
HalfLife2: 16 AA+NT 0 AF
HalfLife2: 16 AA+WT 0 AF
HalfLife2: 16 AA+WT 0 AF

Finally, we're done. A short explanation on the NT and WT abbreviations employed-they stand for Narrow Tent (NT) and Wide Tent (WT). The more attentive of you will have noticed that Edge-detect is missing-sadly, it didn't quite work properly with Lost Coast (and as you'll see throughout the review, with a few other games). The ATi guys are hard at work on the issue though, so it'll probably soon be solved. 16X AA also seemed to be only partially working missing some edges, but, somewhat surprisingly, the Narrow and Wide tent modes, although being only recently added, worked correctly. Another thing to note is that the features are tested separately, with either AA or AF being on at any given time, but their combination not being evaluated. This is due to two factors: primarily, since this is an evaluation of the architecture of the 3870X2, it's important that we isolate which feature does what and secondarily, there will be another article that investigates the combination of differing levels of AA and AF and their impact on image quality and performance. Going a bit ahead of ourselves, we'll let you know that testing was conducted in a similar manner...so no AA+AF numbers in this article, another reason for this being that it should be clarified once and for all what the cost of either feature is in terms of performance.

Points of interest for evaluating the impact of AF and AA are the wood texture on the bridge the fisherman is standing on, the rocks in the distance and the little beach on the left of the image for the latter, and the gun, the fisherman's arm, the rock on the right and the crevice in the far plane of view for the former....alongside any other you consider to be adequate for outlining the improvement in texture detail brought by AF or in edge quality brought by AA.

Again we'll refrain from making judgments on the quality of each mode, and leave each of those reading this piece to evaluate the images and reach his own individual conclusion. We hope that this part has somewhat served in showing the benefits of both AA and AF.


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