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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti, Carl Nelson [02.24.03]
Card Manufacturer: Powercolor
GPU Manufacturer: SiS
MSRP: $125

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Image Quality

Once again, we used the HardOCP Unreal Tournament 2003 benchmarking utility v2, this time, running a custom test at 1280x1024/MaxDetail.  We selected we the Anubis map because it has no flyby mode, and then ran it in flyby mode so we could get an image that would hold still for us to get a shot of.  Then we grabbed a part of the scene and blew it up 200%, so we can see fine detail quality on each.  To help compare image quality details, the images were saved as an animated GIF.  Note that there is some color loss using this method, but you'll see that you can still draw a conclusion from the images.

What you are about to see is the most confusing image you'll find in a video card review:


As you can see, "Quality" mode filters the textures to a point that almost no detail is shown.  We double checked and triple checked the screenshots, and indeed, "quality" mode actually REDUCES the quality of the textures.

You might think that with lower texture quality, the frame rates in quality mode SHOULD be higher, right? Wrong:

Quality mode actually lowers the quality and the frame rate.

In addition, "Balanced" mode is pixel-for-pixel identical to quality mode (which is why we left it out of this screenshot).  Yet it performs like it should, theoretically.  This brings us to the conclusion that: The drivers are SHIT.


For FSAA performance, we returned to 3DMark2001SE, and used the Lobby game to test FSAA performance at 1024x768x32 resolution.

We also (once again) made use of the HardOCP UT2003 utility, this time to get close-in screenshots of the Xabre600's AA processes, so we could see exactly what is going on in each mode.

2X AA                                            3X AA


Compared to regular rendering, 2X barely appears to be doing anything, which would explain why there's very little frame rate loss.  All of a sudden, when 3x mode is selected, you can see visible evidence of an antialiasing algorithm getting involved, but there's no real noticeable difference between 4x and 3x.  One thing to keep in mind though, is that the Xabre's performance is already substandard compared to other cards at the same price point, and it can't really afford the loss of performance that AA entails at all.

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