A Few Words on the Optimizations and Image Quality
Optimizations are always on in ATI’s Catalyst driver – you can only disable them by performing some complex manipulations over the system registry. So we left the ForceWare optimizations on to give the participants equal chances. According to NVIDIA’s recommendations, its products are the closest to the competitors in terms of optimizations if you enable Trilinear optimization and Anisotropic sample optimization, but turn off the Anisotropic mip filter optimization.
We followed this recommendation, but made a few screenshots before the tests to check out how the image quality depended on the enabled Anisotropic sample optimization. We took the screens in Far Cry, Doom 3, Painkiller, Max Payne 2 and Counter-Strike: Source Beta.
So, the screenshots made on the GeForce 6600 GT with disabled optimizations are on the left; the visual effect of the Trilinear optimization and Anisotropic sample optimization is shown in the middle; and the result of enabling all of the texture optimizations is displayed on the right:
Well, it’s really hard to see any difference in the static screenshots with or without the optimizations. Sometimes the image quality degenerates quite visibly, though. The images from Max Payne suffered the most: the textures became sharper but with more noise after we had enabled the first two optimizations, and the Anisotropic mip filter also added noticeable lines between MIP-levels.