XFX GeForce 8800 GTX Video Card Review :: NVIDIA Lumenex Technology

11-08-2006 · Category: Hardware - Video Cards

By Doc Overclock

NVIDIA's new architecture brings a new form of image quality enhancing features. They have trademarked Luminex for their IQ enhancing features on the G80c chipset. Lumenex brings 16x Coverage Sampling Anti-Aliasing (CSAA), 16x near perfect angle independent anisotropic filtering, 16-bit and 32-bit floating point texture filtering, fully orthogonal 128-bit High Dynamic Range rendering with all the above features and a full 10-bit display pipeline.

XFX GeForce 8800 GTX Video Card Review no AA

no AA

XFX GeForce 8800 GTX Video Card Review 2X AA


XFX GeForce 8800 GTX Video Card Review 4X AA


XFX GeForce 8800 GTX Video Card Review 8X AA


XFX GeForce 8800 GTX Video Card Review 8XQ AA


XFX GeForce 8800 GTX Video Card Review 16x AA

16x AA

XFX GeForce 8800 GTX Video Card Review 16XQ AA


The GeForce 8800 supports super-sampling, multisampling and transparency adaptive antialiasing. Antialiasing helps alleviate artifacts in a scene caused by pixel lines being thinner than a pixel wide. Four new AA modes are supported by the G80, 8X, 8XS, 16x and 16xQ. The G80 can use up to four sub-samples in a clock AA, with two clocks; the card can do 8X AA. A new kind of AA called Coverage Antialiasing is supported by the G80 as well.

Traditional MSAA requires 4x the storage and ROP bandwidth as standard rendering. NVIDIA cards like the 7900GTX can render this fast as the chip was designed to do high resolution 4x MSAA with minimal performance hit. MSAA takes 4 samples from a pixel, which doesn't alleviate the requirements. The problem with the 7xxx and earlier card's MSAA was it was limited to four-sample AA (2 clocks). For higher image quality more samples are necessary for high performance gaming. CSAA takes samples from a coverage area and saves bandwidth.

The 16x mode is CSAA. In applications, the combination of CSAA+Transparency Anti-Aliasing gives the absolute best image quality and performance combination possible on the 8800 series cards, as it offers better AA than 4x or 8XS but similar performance to 4x solution. The 16xQ mode is the maximum mode available on the 8800GTX. It looks absolutely stunning, but performance is a factor with this mode as we'll see in the performance section.

The GeForce 7900GTX and earlier Shader Model 3.0 cards were capable of 16-bit Floating Point blending and texturing. The 8800GTX is the first commercial video card to feature support for 32-bit Floating Point blending. This allows 128-bit precision High Dynamic Range rendering, a requirement of Shader Model 4 hardware. HDR allows the application to have a higher contrast ratio of the darkest and brightest areas of a scene. Higher precision hardware means a wider range of HDR support and better, brighter graphics that are more realistically rendered.