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Guest PaulL01

GFFX-FS2k2-Me own take....

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Fresh this morning are a smathering of GFFX reviews including benchmarks and comparisons to its competitor the ATI 9700 pro.NVnews.com is a good jumping off point to all of the available reviews as they become uh...available. :-rollThough these are reviews based on the reference card not the final retail boxed version and as noted the drivers have yet to mature, there is plenty to see as to what this card will offer.I present my FS2k2 tainted view...of the reviews of the GFFX card and conclude a few things:1. Along with the ATI9700 pro we can now enjoy FS2k2 at very tolerant FPS levels while using 4x AA combined with 4x Aniso at fairly high res while running the more CPU demanding add-on packages, considering this with the use of the latest CPU's P4-3.06/XP2800/Barton&64 and MB chipsets blah blah, ba blah.2.Quality-At this point ATI's advantage is better AA quality(smoother edges on 3d objects/Aircraft and Buildings) and GFFX has better AF Quality (sharper Textures when viewed at high agles such as when looking at terrain)-sound familiar? 3.performance-this is a tuffy as 1200x1600x32 2xAA 2xAF (a very good combo for FS visuals I might add) ;)the GF seems to have it over the ATI if only slightly, step up to 4xAA/AF and beyond and the crown goes to ATI in most cases.Bearing in mind that driver performance will improve, I think we can see that these two cards will remain close no matter what develops as ATI will introduce a yet faster version of it's pro card soon etc.All that being said here are some other things to think of as for these two cards running FS2k2:Both of these cards will seem to perform so close to each other in FS2k2 (FPS will still be quite low) that I think Price, driver support and Noise are what personal choices should be made on between these two cards and this will make it very hard to choose...Price: You can expect the GFFX to be $400 for a while and the ATI can be had for as little as $330 (retail store) but consider finding normally for $350-Advantage ATI-9700proDriver support:There is no question that Nvidia gets the nod here but it ATI is improving, slowly.-Advantage Nvidia GFFX (if this wasn't an issue I would simply reccomend the ATI card but unfortunitly I can't.Noise:I personally only want to hear the 6 channel audio coming from my BOX, not a leaf blower, but I reserve the right to my own opinion when I hear it in my Box myself as I line the inside of my case with good quality sound absorption material.-Advantage ATIBack to you Don...

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Have you ever owned an ATi card?We always hear how the ATi drivers suck. This is simply not true anymore, as I am sure anyone with a current Ati card and Catalyst 3.0 driver set will tell you. It seems no matter what ATi do, history will always be against them.As for the FX, looks great if you want a hoover on your desk!

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I was quite shocked to read those reviews this morning - the GeForce FX appears to be Nvidia's Voodoo5 - delayed multiple times due to manufacturing problems, power hungry and noisy, outclassed by its current competitor and about to be totally outdone by the next competitor just after it's released (The ATI R350). This may kill Nvidia if they can't get something out fast enough to compete with the R350...Re: drivers - the Anandtech article specifically mentioned that the ATI drivers have gotten really good and that the Catalyst is every bit as good as the Detonator now if not better.Somehow, I think the new system I'm building in April or May is going to have an ATI video card in it...Ryan

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>Price: >> You can expect the GFFX to be $400 for a while and the ATI >can be had for as little as $330 (retail store) but consider >finding normally for $350 >-Advantage ATI-9700pro For the first time in years I've bought a video card with no buyer's remorse: a Radeon 9500 which successfully patched to near 9700 Pro (cannot quite match the memory speed), for $160. I think I'm going to be happy with it for a while.>>Driver support: >There is no question that Nvidia gets the nod here but it >ATI is improving, slowly. >-Advantage Nvidia GFFX (if this wasn't an issue I would >simply reccomend the ATI card but unfortunitly I can't. > I think I see a bias here. The hardware reviews I read this morning are less reluctant to acknowledge ATI's improvement in driver support, and the current drivers seem very good. What would they have to do in improving the current drivers to win your recommendation?>Noise: >I personally only want to hear the 6 channel audio coming >from my BOX, not a leaf blower, but I reserve the right to >my own opinion when I hear it in my Box myself as I line the >inside of my case with good quality sound absorption >material. >-Advantage ATI I'm put off by the sheer look of the thing, and the real estate it eats up -- and probably heats up! -- inside. BTW, while I may not be buying your POV this time, I've benefited immensely from your posts, so don't take me the wrong way. I've got Nforce2 board on the way that will temporarily house my Athlon Tbird (1.4 Ghz running at 1.53 Ghz) until the Barton's are released and drop to a price that I like. I think I got turned to this combo reading your posts.-Basil

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Nvidia is a strong company and they'll fix their mistakes come the NV35. Their problem is bandwidth. Demanding games like FS2k2 like bandwidth. You can see that when looking at the performance in Nascar 2002 and IL2 with 4xAA & 8xAF. BTW, where is the FX's 16xAF?? The 9700 IMHO definitely outclasses their new card when eye candy is turned on at least on demanding games in existence today. Nvidia still has the R350 to deal with. That'll be interesting?? I'm waiting for specific benchmarks with FS2k2 to come out. It'll be interesting to see if the FX will run decent at 4xAA & 8xAF with FS2k2. The 9700 handles it nicely running 6xAA & 16xAF. You only need 4xAA to get rid of the jaggies, but there's still some noise in the treetops that could use improvement. Problem now is we all need bigger processors. They ain't been built yet.I'm running the ATI CD driver version 6166 and they work perfect with my hardware. So IMHO, there's nothing wrong with the ATI drivers.

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"1. Along with the ATI9700 pro we can now enjoy FS2k2 at very tolerant FPS levels while using 4x AA combined with 4x Aniso at fairly high res while running the more CPU demanding add-on packages, considering this with the use of the latest CPU's P4-3.06/XP2800/Barton&64 and MB chipsets blah blah, ba blah."Do you have a Radeon 9700 Pro? Why use 4x AF when you can use 16x AF with almost no performance hit? Fairly high res? The card has no problem running 4x AA at 1600x1200 in FS2002."2.Quality-At this point ATI's advantage is better AA quality(smoother edges on 3d objects/Aircraft and Buildings) and GFFX has better AF Quality (sharper Textures when viewed at high agles such as when looking at terrain)-sound familiar? "You are right about the AA. The Radeon 9700 Pro has a superior sampling pattern, which makes it much better than the GFFX at removing jaggies.What you seem to miss is that the AF is ALSO superior on the 9700 Pro. First off, R9700 Pro supports up to 16x Trilinear or Bilinear AF, where as GFFX only supports 8x Trilinear or 16x Bilinear AF.The problem with blurry textures at certain angles was present in the Radeon 8500. ATI fixed this in the 9700 Pro. Both the performance and quality modes properly filter textures at all angles. With the higher number of samples for the Radeon 9700 Pro, this means that the R9700 Pro produces the sharpest image of the two."3.performance-this is a tuffy as 1200x1600x32 2xAA 2xAF (a very good combo for FS visuals I might add) the GF seems to have it over the ATI if only slightly, step up to 4xAA/AF and beyond and the crown goes to ATI in most cases."Did you see the screenshots of 2x AA? It does virtually NOTHING to the image quality at this point. Whether that is caused by a driver bug, or if it's supposed to be like that is currently unknown, but at those quality levels, the most fair comparison would be Nvidia's 2x AA vs no AA on the ATI.I don't ever turn off AF on my 9700 Pro. It's constantly at 16x Quality. I will never go back to the blurry rendering of a lower aniso level or plain trilinear. I use 4x AA in almost every single game at fairly high resolutions (up to 1280x960).Overall I'm very dissapointed by the GFFX. The core is running at 500 MHz vs only 325 MHz on the Radeon 9700 Pro, and it uses exotic 1 GHz DDR-II memory (allthough linked by a narrow 128-bit bus), but it still looses to the Radeon 9700 Pro in several tests. It appears to be a very inefficent arhitecture.

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>>Driver support: > I think I see a bias here. Yes,Bad consumer experience tends to bias opinions, mine included.>The hardware reviews I read >this morning are less reluctant to acknowledge ATI's >improvement in driver support, and the current drivers seem >very good. True, but there are still a number of unresolved software and hardware incompatibility issues that are still waiting to be resolved. While it is great that ATI has improved, I will continue to be reluctant about there driver quality until they establish a better track record, I don

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Hi Paul,A job well done...I agree with your take on the FX/9700 PRO comparison, although I must step up and state that ATI's drivers/support are excellent these days. I would say they are dead even in that department. Is the FX a disappointment? Well, I am not loyal to anyone, but must admit I looked for more upbeat reviews than what has come forth. My 9700 Pro continues to bring great performance and IQ to my system. I suppose now I look fwd to the R350!Cheers,Greg GXP 2100ASUS A7V8XRadeon 9700 PRO512MB MUSHKINWD 40GB w/8mb BufferWIN XPGoFLight, CH, & PFC stuffs

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>Do you have a Radeon 9700 Pro? Why use 4x AF when you can >use 16x AF with almost no performance hit? Fairly high res? >The card has no problem running 4x AA at 1600x1200 in >FS2002. Really? Try running CS-727 add-on highres mesh and a decent amount of ATC and even with no AA and AF and even your better then average systems will come to a crawl, and that

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>Have you ever owned an ATi card? Several adorn my wall of hardware.>>We always hear how the ATi drivers suck. Gee wonder why that would be? :-lolThis is simply not >true anymore, as I am sure anyone with a current Ati card >and Catalyst 3.0 driver set will tell you. Glad for your personal experiance, type in the words ATI 9700 incompatability" into the Google search engine and see how many pages turn up about problems with 8xAGP boards that have been know for now what 6 monthes? and there is still more, the point isn't how many as there are as many with the various Nvidia drivers and cards, the point is -Response, and that is where ATI Still needs to improve.When its working, it is a very nice card, that or the GFFX will be adorning my box when ever My favorite PC store gets boared with thiers. ;)>It seems no matter what ATi do, history will always be >against them. Not always, just untill they get it right.>As for the FX, looks great if you want a hoover on your >desk! Yeah! :)

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"Really? Try running CS-727 add-on highres mesh and a decent amount of ATC and even with no AA and AF and even your better then average systems will come to a crawl, and that

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Hi Jimmi,>"Really? Try running CS-727 add-on highres mesh and a decent >amount of ATC and even with no AA and AF and even your >better then average systems will come to a crawl, and that

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Interesting discussion...What I like most is to see the ATI owners stepping up with their positive reports of support. ATI has an uphill road to climb in this area, and it's nice to see that they are indeed making major strides.As an nVidia owner for the past three years (four of their cards staring with a GF2), I won't be unhappy to move over to a Radeon for my next upgrade. nVidia simply hasn't delivered the goods since they bought out 3DFX.And after reading these recent reviews of the GFX, the decision to change brands is even easier.It's nice that we finally have some choices after nVidia's virtual monopoly the past couple of years.Regards,

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"It's nice that we finally have some choices after nVidia's virtual monopoly the past couple of years."Indeed it is. Finally, some competition to keep the prices relatively honest. The amount NVidia was contemplating for the FX is a pipe dream now (Remember the Voodoo6?). $399us may still be too much for most (specially outside the US), but at least its achievable for many. Pretty amazing actually for a 12 layer board with exotic thermal management on a complex chip design. That they *can* sell it for $399 list just shows to go how much they *really* make off these things (well, did ... that is).Thanks for getting your act together, ATI. :+Elrond

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I don't run any third party scenery; except for a couple of landclasses and the autogenius. I got my frames locked at twenty. Running XP and 1600x1200x32 with all sliders maxed out. Visibility at 90miles, clouds at 60 percent. I just turned water reflections on and it didn't make a bit of a difference. AI runs at default (haven't tried anything over 40% yet). Running 4xAA & 16xAF all quality settings. My framerate sits right at twenty frames most all of the time. She'll drop down to 18 on takeoff roll with some panels. Same on landings. I actually saw 16fps on a landing before when I had clouds set on scattered on the deck; but that's rare. I've tried about every setting on the card. Tried some different resolutions all 32 bit. No real difference in frames. Tried 6xAA at 16xAF and discovered I really had to look to find any improvement in terrain textures over 4xAA. The only thing I can fault with the terrain texture appearance is some random noise in the tree tops. I guess this has to do with the way the 9700 does AF. Buildings and runways, airplanes, etc. are perfectly clear with no hint of a jaggie or aliasing whatsoever.When I drop AF from 16x to 8x, I see a noticeable decrease in terrain texture quality. Some smudging begins midway to the horizon. If I drop the AF to 4x, that smudging turns into blurry crappy textures at a distance (course what I consider blurry crappy is subject to interpretation) and I also see the nice sharp quality textures up close becoming less clear. So 4xAA & 16xAF are the sweet spots for the 9700 with FS2k2 if you want nice clear, clean, sharp textures.I don't have the CS727; but I fly the Falcon 50 often and she flies just as smooth as silk. Just like the default Cessna. I also fly the Posky and Meljet heavies with freeware pits and they fly nice and smooth. Switching views from inside to outside is instantaneous with no delay in texture draw and only on occasion, depending on the aircraft, do I see a 1 second delay in aircraft texture draw. I also now use Bill Grabowski's ERJ panel and it works with no struggle whatsoever. I think that's the pit I'm using when I saw a 16fps on landing. There just plain is no struggle anywhere at anytime running the 9700 at 4xAA & 16xAF at 1600x1200x32 color. Most all of the time, the card seems like it's just idling. If it could talk, I'd swear it was mumbling something like, OK, give me something to do, this is boring!!! So, I mostly agree with JIMMI. The 9700 runs FS2k2 in 4xAA & 16xAF at high res with no effort.

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Good info MG.Your figures seems close to what I have seen, are you running quality or performance settings?I think you missed my point, as I was referring exactly to the "wall" that all of us hit sooner or later as you start to purchase the power hungry add-ons that plainly flatten current CPU/9700-GFFX systems, not the less than stock settings that you describe. The system as specked below will give a similar system as yours (even with your card) a very good run for the money as most of this work is CPU bound and currently It can keep or somtimes even out pace many a decent P4-3Ghz machines running most any sim. Even the very best that you can buy liquid cooled systems that you or I would drool to own get socked, I have had to demonstrate this time and time again to the many unbelievers out there who think that their systems are "all that" There are none...yet.Turn the sliders up MG... ...Now add a good 30m high res mesh alone can start to really tax, now throw in a detailed cockpit and AC model, now add good custom 3d object scenery as available for many airfields with 100% ATC and it doesn't take long before your trying to push 5-600mb of textures and a few million triangles to AA not to mention the headroom that the multi-texturing eats up.With the currently available Add-ons that once tasted you never can be without, we are almost in the same exact position but yet have come so far in respects to hardware performance of just a year ago. Have you been in a VC as nice as CS? It is hard to go back to anything less well done, it will know doubt keep going this way, like to lines running so close but never touching...:)I could care less who makes whatever hardware, just deliver the goods. :) I think if ATI can resolve its 8x AGP MB board problems and stay up to date with drivers they will continue to make gains into the high end card market and win customers that have stayed away, or you could even say, if Nvidia doesn't resolve some performance issues with quality, speed and noise ATI will gain. Either way the ball is clearly in NV's lap, It will be "fun" to watch, probably even better than this years Stuper Bowl.

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Paul; all quality settings, all terrain & aircraft sliders maxed. Here's an interesting clip: http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.html?i=1779&p=18 . If I increase the framerate lock, it'll run faster, but then I just lose terrain and pic quality. We now have the cards, the next step is bigger processors. Both of the top cards now are still CPU bound. A PIV 4.0gig with the R350 or NV35 will really make this sim shine. But it's pretty awesome now. Let's hope they don't mess FS2k4 up?? Here's my settings:http://www.xplanefreeware.net/freehost/mgdbottled/9700.jpg

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Well, all this lackluster news about the FX kinda sucks. Are you guys saying I should sell my NVidia stock? How about WorldCom? I got some of that for sale real cheap! ;(8

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"The only thing I can fault with the terrain texture appearance is some random noise in the tree tops. I guess this has to do with the way the 9700 does AF."This can be explained, but there's currently no workaround.It has to do with how the FS2002 graphics engine does not mipmap the alpha (transparent) textures, which are used for trees. This is not a problem with the default trees, really, because the detail is so low that there is no texture noise when the trees are viewed from a distance (the texture size is still bigger than the screen res, even when the trees are far away).With high-resolution replacement trees, the textures are so detailed that they need mipmapping, but the FS2002 graphics engine does not call for mipmapping on them. The result is texture noise. CFS3 does seem to properly filter tree textures, so we can assume FS2004 will also do this properly. Until then, the only cards that can fix the problem are those using super-sampling, such as the Geforce2, Radeon 8500 and Voodoo5. Supersampling, unlike the newer Multisampling, also anti-aliases alpha textures, and removes almost all the texture noise.

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FS2k2 does indeed mipmap transparent textures any DXT3 with an alpha channel will get mipmaped, however if you use a DXT1 with a single alpha channel mipmaping gets ignored.The problem being that if we were to convert the tree textures over to DXT3 the backroun color surrounding each tree would need to be changed to somewhat closly match the overall color of the tree as when the mipmaping starts this backround color will start to "bleed" through and slowly at increasing distance with more and more mipmaping the trees branches will get thicker and thicker. Will this be noticable from x distance? probably but we can try.Give me a little time (not today), I'll create a post about it and provide a link for you to download and try.I can look into this, I have all the tools.

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Like Jimmi said, there's no real problem with the default trees other than they're really ugly and they tend to blend into the terrain from distance so you can't see em'. So, I use Gerrish's GTL trees. I think the GTL trees are about the worst for twinkling of them all; but they look so much better than any other trees. IMHO even with the twinkle. I read something a while back about the way the 9700 handles alpha textures causing noise in both trees and in grass in some sims. Something to the effect that the tree textures and grass textures (no grass in FS2k2) don't get aliased for this reason or that. Like I said, it's not a show stopper; but the trees are the only thing on the screen with any wiggle in them. AA & AF settings make no difference. It'd be nice to get rid of it without having to go back to the default trees. Maybe a future driver update??

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Very interesting discussion guys, but I have a question.Do you ever really get to "fly" in between all the testing and tweaking you're doing?gwillmotCeleron 1.4GhzGeForce2 MX400 64Meg128Meg Good ol 133 MemoryGod only knows what the motherboard is.......

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