GT200 Review: Extreme FSAA benchmarks and overclocking
In our PCGH Benchmark Review, we already put Nvidia's Geforce GTX 280 to the acid test. Now we run the most challenging FSAA modes.
Today's performance check deals with high quality FSAA. Starting with 16xQ, we go on with 16xS, 32xS and 16x OGSSAA. 16xS is a hybrid mode consisting of 4x Multi- (MSAA) and 4x Supersampling (SSAA). 32xS also contains 4x SSAA but combines it with 8xQ-MSAA. Among gamers paying special attention to quality, this mode isn't just seen as beautiful but also as extremely hardware hungry. That isn't really surprising. Because of 4x SSAA the whole scenery is calculated with four times the size of the actual resolution. The combination with the 8x Multisampling results in a setting that breaks the neck of graphics cards with only 512 MiByte video memory. On top of that we also activate Transparency Anti Aliasing based on Supersampling.
16x respectively 4x4 Supersampling forces the graphics card to calculate every axis with the quadrupled resolution. This results in an excellent texture and shader smoothing. Combined with 16:1 AF via the driver the anisotropic filtering is de facto done at a rate of 64:1. You might guess that even the GTX 280 gets into trouble there.
All the Supersampling modes can be activated via the tool Nhancer only.
Candidates and clock speeds
For this review we use a Geforce 8800 GTX with 768 MiByte and a Geforce GTX 280 with 1,024 MiByte VRAM. The G80 card is utilized to simulate a Geforce 8800 Ultra (612/1,512/1,080 MHz) and is set to the highest possible clock speeds (675/1,674/1,080 MHz). The GTX 280 has to master the test with the default clock (602/1.296/1.107 MHz) as well as heavily overclocked (750/1.512/1.296 MHz). Those increased clock speeds are no problem for our samples from Zotac (Amp Edition) and the MSI N280GTX T2D1G-OC - but only with the cooler's fan at maximum number of revolutions.
Yesterday's benchmark revealed the strengths of Nvidia's new graphics flagship: high resolutions combined with FSAA. With Supersampling FSAA already at 1,680x1,050 calculation is already more complex than with 2,560x1,600 and normal FSAA. Thus the GTX 280 can show off again. In every test the transistor monster can take place itself in front of the Geforce 8800 - the complexer the calculation the bigger the gap between them. Especially with 16x OGSSAA and 32xS the GT200 card is even able to get playable frame rates from time to time. The "time-honored” G80 board is out classed.
Overclocking the GTX 280 results in 23 percent better performance at best, compared to Nvidia's specifications - this matches the GPU clock alterations exactly. Under those conditions the GTX 280 often reaches twice the power of the 8800 Ultra.
Conclusion: Extreme FSAA and OC
To use 32xS and 16x OGSSAA in a reasonable way, you need a GTX 280. No other graphics card up to now offers the same amount of calculating power. 16xS can be done with a Geforce 8800 GTX/Ultra.
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