Not so long ago, ATI was reputed for providing higher image quality than its competitor. With the rising popularity of DVI monitors and the improved filtering algorithms of Nvidia's GeForce 8 series, though, differences seem to have largely been ironed out. Or have they? To find out, the folks at Maximum PC have run an elaborate test to compare the image quality of an AMD Radeon HD 3870 CrossFire rig with that of an Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT SLI rig in gaming, high-definition video watching, and photo viewing.
The test involved 18 participants, for whom Maximum PC largely obscured the nature of the test and the underlying hardware. Participants were simply asked to say whether they thought system A or system B had the best image quality or whether they were the same, and Maximum PC created a control group to make sure the results were valid.
All in all, users' preferences were mixed. AMD had a slight lead overall, with eight votes to six for gaming, seven to five for HD video watching, and six to four for photo viewing. Nonetheless, some users said they could see no differences between the two systems, and others mistakenly stated a preference for one particular system when they were shown two SLI rigs or two CrossFire rigs.