NVIDIA Corp. has unveiled new drivers that radically improve image quality on systems running two graphics cards by introducing two new antialiasing patterns as well as improving performance of general full-scene antialiasing when operating in multi-GPU SLI mode.
“SLI Antialiasing is a new standalone SLI rendering mode that offers up to double the antialiasing performance by splitting the antialiasing workload between the two graphics cards. When enabled, SLI Antialiasing offers 2 new antialiasing settings: SLI8x and SLI16x,” a statement over NVIDIA’s web-site reads.
SLI Antialiasing should be supported on all dual-GPU NVIDIA GeForce-based systems, including those running entry-level GeForce 6 parts, or brand-new top-of-the-range GeForce 7800 GTX graphics cards. SLI Antialiasing may be enabled using Coolbits, which means that the feature is not supported officially, however, in the next driver release the company will make SLI Antialiasing a permanent feature in the NVIDIA Control Panel, thus, fully supported by NVIDIA.
Currently SLI Antialiasing has two exclusive modes: 8x and 16x antialiasing. The former is a result of blending of two images rendered with full-scene antialiasing (FSAA) 4x with different placement of samples; the latter blends two images rendered with 8xs FSAA enabled. Similar concept is used by ATI’s CrossFire technology, which is yet to come to the market. By introducing the capability now, NVIDIA wants to neutralize the trump ATI’s multi-GPU technology might have over NVIDIA’s.
NVIDIA said the new methods of antialiasing introduced with the SLI Antialiasing, especially, the 16x, improves quality of micro-geometry details. With the most-recent GeForce 7 series NVIDIA introduced the so-called Transparent AA, which also improves micro-geometry details with almost no impact on performance.
Currently performance impact of 8x and 16x antialiasing in unclear. Nevertheless, it makes sense to assume that gamers with the GeForce 6800 Ultra in dual-GPU mode will find their framerate comfortable with 8x FSAA enabled, whereas owners of the GeForce 7800 GTX are likely to be able to play even demanding games with 16x FSAA activated.
Using the latest ForceWare 77.66 beta driver, customers with multi-GPU graphics sub-systems can enable 8x and 16x antialiasing for all games available on the market.