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  ATI Radeon 9x00 series tweak guide

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Rage3D Tweak

For more a greater amount of advanced options, I recommend downloading Rage3D Tweak. Once installed, you can select the (inspiringly titled) Rage3DTweak tab. Expand the Tweaker section and set the Select Tweaker Mode option to Advanced and then select Apply – this will give access to a more complete set of options.

(Note – If you can’t adjust an option in Rage3DTweak, be sure to select the box icon for the option before attempting to adjust a slider – the option description should change to Data: (Edit) if done correctly).

 

Direct3D Settings

Now expand the Direct3D menu.

# of Samples. FSAA is used to alleviate a variety of image artefacts that can occur, such as texture shimmering, jagged edges or crawling jagged edges (Something which using higher resolutions cannot resolve). This option specifies the number of samples to be used when performing FSAA, options available will vary depending on Radeon installed, though with the 9700 Pro options available are App Pref, 2 Samples, 4 Samples & 6 Samples. Ticking the App Pref box allows Direct3D applications to determine which FSAA mode to use (Assuming they allow selection of FSAA in their configuration, e.g. as Enter The Matrix does), otherwise FSAA will be disabled. Screenshots & performance comparisons/conclusions between the various modes are available in the OpenGL section of this guide.

Alternate Pixel Center. This option can be left Unticked unless you find an application displaying vertical & horizontal lines around textures or display text incorrectly, in which case try Ticking this to resolve the issue. When not using the affected title be sure to Untick this however.

Anisotropic Filtering. Anisotropic filtering provides reduced texture aliasing & improved texture sharpness over greater distances by using a greater number of samples per pixel - with higher samples improving the effectiveness of the filtering but as a result of an increased number of samples performance will be reduced. Options available will vary depending on Radeon installed, though with the 9700 Pro options available are By Application, 2:1 Forced, 4:1 Forced, 8:1 Forced & 16:1 Forced. Selecting By Application allows Direct3D applications to determine which anisotropic filtering level to use (Assuming they allow selection of anisotropic filtering in their configuration, e.g. as Enter The Matrix does), otherwise anisotropic filtering will be disabled. Screenshots & performance comparisons/conclusions between the various modes are available in the OpenGL section of this guide, suffice it to say for now that if you can afford the frame rate hit then I’d recommend selecting at least 4:1 Forced.

Anisotropic Mode. This setting allows you to specify whether Bilinear (Performance) or Trilinear (Quality) filtering are to be used in conjunction with Anisotropic texture filtering. Trilinear texture filtering operates by taking 4 samples (texels) from 2 neighbouring Mipmaps, applies a bilinear filter to them & then interpolates the results. This results in improved image quality, with more seamless transitions between Mipmap levels & enhanced texture detail as compared to Bilinear filtering. In most instances selecting Performance should only provide a slight frame rate improvement (Particularly with newer Radeon models) & as such I’d recommend selecting Quality if available.

Bump Mapping. Bump Mapping is a process for simulating enhanced depth without requiring additional geometry. This takes several forms, e.g. Dot3 & Environment Bump Mapping, though they must be specifically supported by an application. The images beneath illustrate the effects this has in Giants: Citizen Kabuto.

 

Bump Mapping Disabled

Bump Mapping Enabled

As you can see the ground & cliff clearly have much greater detail when Bump mapping is applied and feel coarser than before. Ticking this option will enable support for bump mapping, which is recommended for improved image quality where supported. Unticking this will disable Bump mapping support, which may improve performance somewhat in some titles (Depending on how extensively it’s used), though most such applications allow you to enable/disable Bump mapping & as such it should not be necessary to Untick this.

Colorfill. Ticking this feature can have the effect of making the display appear more vibrant, this shouldn’t haven’t an effect on performance either. Untick this option if your are happy with the current colour levels in Direct3D applications.

Compressed Textures. Ticking this option allows the use of DXT1-5 texture formats in supporting applications/games & it is highly recommended you select this option given its common usage in games now whereby it provides improved performance by reducing texture memory requirements, with minimal image quality loss. Unticking this will disable DXT1-5 texture formats & is not recommended for either compatibility or performance reasons, nor should it be necessary for troubleshooting purposes either.

Disable Hierarchical Z. Unticking this option enables the use of a hierarchical Z-Buffer. In which case the Z-Buffer is divided into several levels of tiles upon which depth tests are then carried out to determine visibility of objects & whether rendering should occur or not. Performance gains from this are rendering order dependent, with front to back rendering achieving most benefit & back to front least. Most games though use a random rendering order where the benefit lies somewhere in-between. You should only need consider disabling (Ticking) this feature if you wish to benchmark the performance advantage this feature offers & it shouldn’t be necessary to do so for compatibility reasons.

Enable W Buffer. W-Buffering is an alternative to Z-Buffering, though in general you shouldn’t need to use it unless experiencing Z-Buffering errors & the title itself supports it. Ticking this option enables support for the use of a W-Buffer when specifically requested by an application, e.g. Operation Flashpoint, Enter The Matrix & Giants: Citizen Kabuto allow you to use a W-Buffer. You shouldn’t need to disable (Untick) support for this feature.

Fast Z Clear. Normally clearing the Z-Buffer (which needs to be done for each frame rendered) is performed by writing 0s throughout it. With this option Ticked this process is made significantly more efficient by tagging blocks of the Z-Buffer as cleared (ATI claims this uses only 1/64 the resources over Fast Z Clear disabled). You should only really consider disabling (Unticking) this feature if you wish to benchmark the performance advantage this feature offers & it shouldn’t be necessary to do so for compatibility reasons either.

Force Pixel Shader Version & Force Vertex Shader Version. These options allow you to specify which Pixel/Vertex Shader version is to be used by the Driver for performing shading operations. Leave this set to Driver Default for best compatibility.

Guard Band Clipping. Guard band clipping can improve performance by reducing the amount of frustum clipping calculations the CPU performs by allowing polygons which aren’t entirely visible in the current viewpoint to be accepted. While this may sound like it has much the opposite effect, it isn’t as clipping calculations can be very CPU intensive, particularly when the polygons in question are only partially visible (Which is where frustum clipping comes into use). For optimal performance Tick this option, though should you experience any rendering errors in certain games/applications (unlikely) Untick it for those titles.



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