Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - Graphics cards tested with maximal visual quality
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is still one of the most popular multiplayer games. PC Games hardware shows how to bring Radeon and Geforce graphics cards to their knees.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - Graphics cards tested with maximal visual quality: Introduction
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is based on a heavily optimized version of the Call of Duty 2 Engine that already convinced in matters of graphics when it was released. CoD4 uses HDR, dynamic shadows and Post Processing effects like Depth of Field. Thus the graphics are much better than those of Call of Duty 2 but as a cross platform development Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare surely is not a visual highlight.
The single-player part of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has been quite popular and the multiplayer section still is. Since the latter one reaches noticeably higher framerates than the single-player (and those are necessary for smooth gaming) and runs with far more than 100 frames per second on fast systems, it sounds quite reasonable to increase the visual quality.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - Graphics cards tested with maximal visual quality: Benchmarks with FSAA modes
In order to check the performance loss caused by high quality FSAA modes, PC Games Hardware uses a 65 seconds multiplayer demo (Team Deathmatch on Vacant). This demo is run in real-time and the results are recorded with the tool Fraps. With the console command "com_maxfps 0” the 92 fps frame limit is deactivated. The FSAA modes of the HD 4890 can be activated in the Catalyst Control Center while Geforce users can use the tool Nhancer to do so.
Based on the results of 1X MSAA a Geforce GTX 285 loses almost 20 percent of its performance with 4x MSAA activated and as expected even more (almost 30 percent) with 8x MSAA. If you combine 8x MSAA with Transparency MSAA, the framerate is decreased only slightly. Transparency SSAA on the other hand reduces the performance by about 20 percent - but the visual quality is much better, too. The best compromise is offered by 16xS: The Super Sampling part smoothes the whole picture, but with 42 fps at min the game is still playable. Even higher modes like 32xS or 4x4 SSAA are to challenging and thus are only useful for screenshots.
In contrast to the GTX 285 the Radeon HD 4890 loses 28 percent when switching from 1x MSAA to 4x MSAA, but as usual 8x MSAA doesn't cost as much performance. If you activate MSAA based Quality Adaptive Anti Aliasing (Q-AAA for short), the performance isn't affected very much. But if you combine 4x MSAA with one of the three CFAA filters the framerate drops - compared to 4x MSAA - by 26 to 33 percent. The visually most appealing mode is 24x Edge Detect CFAA (minus 45 percent based on 8x MSAA). Wide and Narrow Tent cost more performance but skip details and thus aren't very recommendable - especially in multiplayer games.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - Graphics cards tested with maximal visual quality: FSAA modes compared
On both, Radeons and Geforces, Call of Duty 4 reveals heavy Aliasing when running with 1x MSAA, with 8x MSAA on the other hand the geometry appears much smoother though. If you activate Q-AAA on the HD 4890 the Alpha Tests are blown up and the content seems to be distorted - but this is a matter of taste. With TMSAA on a GTX 285 the Alpha Tests are noticeably smoothed, but not blown up. TSSAA additionally deals with the Aliasing in the Alpha Tests and also applies to the palm leaves.
The Narrow and Wide Tent CFAA modes blur the whole picture, but therefore data is lost. 24x Edge Detect CFAA with Q-AAA also has those blown up Alpha Tests but the Polygons are smoothed almost perfectly. The hybrid modes 16xS and 8xSQ as well as the SSAA modes apply a slight blur to the picture, but smooth it fully without losing any data. Thus those modes offer, depending on one's own preferences, the best CoD4 graphics.
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