Texture shimmering problems on G70 exposed?

— 11:12 AM on August 19, 2005

When the folks at 3DCenter raise a point of interest about graphics, I tend to listen, because they seem to know their stuff. They have just published an English translation of an article they've written about a problem with texture filtering on NVIDIA's G70 GPU (as found in GeForce 7-series cards.) They say that textures tend to "shimmer" when anisotropic filtering is enabled, probably because of a combination of angle-dependent filtering routines and some sort of undersampling routine that NVIDIA is using. They're concerned that even using the "High Quality" settings on the G70 doesn't fix the problem, as it does on the GeForce 6 series. In fact, they seem to be convinced that their own benchmarks aren't making the correct comparison to Radeon cards, because the G70-based cards are skimping on filtering. It's all very technical, but they have posted some videos that purport to show the problem in motion.

I've not yet been able to download and watch them all myself, because their server looks to be taking a beating. I will say, though, that I haven't noticed grievous problems with texture filtering on G70 cards in my experience with them, but they are indeed less than perfect at their default settings—so are Radeons, because both camps use angle-dependent aniso and other filtering shortcuts. Believe it or not, one place where I really noticed something like texture "shimmering" on the G70 was in Serious Sam SE, where the mountains in the background in a large, outdoor area tended to show problems. Cranking up the NVIDIA drivers' quality from the default to the highest settings pretty much fixed the problem in that particular case, though.

Finely honed debates about the intricacies of texture filtering routines tend to get very tedious, but we will keep an eye on this one and adjust our graphics testing methods for future reviews if we believe it's warranted.

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