# 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 OpenGL applications to
determine which FSAA mode to use (Assuming they allow
selection of FSAA in their configuration, e.g. as Soldier Of
Fortune II does), otherwise FSAA will be disabled.
The images beneath illustrate the effect of the various FSAA
modes available in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault.
App Pref (No
To test the
performance of the available FSAA modes I ran Unreal
Tournament 2003 using HardOCP’s
Benchmark Utility at High Quality settings over 3 maps.
As the results show,
FSAA has a minimal impact at 2X FSAA, somewhat more apparent
at 4X FSAA & 6X FSAA proving to be around ˝ as slow as FSAA
disabled at 1280x1024 (At lower resolutions the CPU
appears to limit the performance). 4X & 6X FSAA do remain
highly playable at those frame rates though, more so at
Tick this option to enable support for the
AMD 3DNow! instructions set in the Radeon Drivers. This
yields improved performance with supporting CPUs. If your
CPU supports 3DNow!, e.g. AMD Athlon XP then Tick
this, otherwise leave it Unticked, e.g. if you have a
Tick this setting to enable the use of AGP
texturing in OpenGL applications. This is recommended so
that RAM can be used as texture memory in the event Video
memory is not sufficient. You should only need Untick
this option should you use a PCI Radeon.
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 OpenGL applications
to determine which anisotropic filtering level to use
(Assuming they allow selection of anisotropic filtering in
their configuration, e.g. as Soldier Of Fortune II does),
otherwise anisotropic filtering will be disabled. The
images beneath illustrate the effect of some of the
anisotropic filtering modes in Medal Of Honor: Allied
By Application (none)
As you can see
anisotropic filtering offers a good improvement to image
quality. To test the performance of the available
Anisotropic filtering modes I ran Unreal Tournament 2003
Benchmark Utility at High Quality settings over 3 maps.
The performance level
with Anisotropic filtering remains good, even at 16X.
Given both performance & more importantly image quality
improvements I’d highly recommend setting this to at least
4X if you can afford the small enough frame rate hit,
certainly it would be more worthwhile enabling
Anisotropic filtering over FSAA if you can only afford to do
one or the other.
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
only provide a slight frame rate improvement (Particularly
with newer Radeon models) & as such I’d recommend selecting
Fast ZMask 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.
textures. Ticking this
forces the colour depth of textures to be re-sampled to
16-Bit, which will obviously have an adverse effect on the
quality of higher depth textures - though will also improve
performance as the affected textures will now require less
bandwidth. Untick this setting for best texture
quality. It is worth considering that numerous titles allow
you to select the texture colour depth in-game, e.g. Soldier
Of Fortune II, & as such I’d recommend leaving this
Unticked. This option also doesn’t affect the colour
depth an application runs at, i.e. you can still use a
32-Bit colour display depth with this ticked.
Force Z Buffer.
This setting allows you to force a specific Z-Buffer depth
to be used regardless of the colour depth an application is
running at. Selecting App. Pref. Will allow the
Z-buffer depth to be determined based on the colour depth
being used by the application, i.e. 24-Bit for 32-Bit colour
depth & 16-Bit for 16-Bit colour depth. Generally speaking
this shouldn’t need to be adjusted, though you might wish to
force a particular depth for should you find your
application exhibiting strange clipping (or similar)
rendering errors, in which case try toggling between
Force 24bit & Force 16bit to resolve the issue.
Selecting Force 16bit can also provide a slight frame
rate improvement, though at the cost of Z-buffer accuracy
(Which may introduce some rendering artefacts as a result).
Conversely Force 24bit will ensure that the most
accurate Z-buffer depth is used regardless, which provides
greatest Z-buffer precision for performing depth
calculations & should yield minimal rendering errors as a