Well, what have we revealed?
The main conclusion states: do not expect mainstream graphics cards to show rocking performance in heavy modes. The practice showed that the solutions like RADEON 9600 XT and GeForce FX 5700 Ultra manage to cope well with the games without enabled anisotropic filtering and full-screen anti-aliasing. Once you activate these options the performance of these both graphics accelerator will go down too much, so that you will be unable to enjoy gaming any longer.
We also didn’t dwell on the graphics quality in contemporary gaming applications, we didn’t try to figure out how the cheats and optimizations affect the image. The major criterion for our “quality control” was the absence of serious eye-catching image artifacts. Today, when NVIDIA recommends the game developers to sacrifice the image quality for the sake of speed (see this document), we sincerely hope that the game developers will not follow the hint, because otherwise we will very soon “enjoy” low-quality graphics on NV40 and R420, on NV50 and R500. I suggest that for now we leave alone the driver developers and their desperate attempts to drag the performance of not very successful hardware to a certain acceptable level, the graphics chip designers and their intentions to create a worthy solution, and game developers working really hard on interesting and visually pleasing gaming applications.
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