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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [03.09.03]
Edited by: Carl Nelson

Card manufacturer: Powercolor
GPU Manufacturer: ATI

MSRP: $370
Street: $240-290

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And finally, we have the obligatory FSAA tests and analysis, which everyone has come to expect.  The 9700 Pro's AA engine is so good, that they made it an integral part of the standard quality settings at certain levels, but we want to see how it runs solo.

Well, it appears that most of the drop in the Quality tests was due to the AA engine, and not the Ansio engine.  There's a monster of a drop just when invoking 2x multisampling in UT2003.  However, once you've taken that drop, I guess you may as well go for it all, since performance loss after the initial hit is comparatively minimal. But is it worth the FPS loss?  Seeing is believing:

Yes, yes, and YES!  ATI really has something going as far as their image quality goes.  It appears that their quality enhancers run very efficiently and produce stunning output, whether on their own or combined together in the Quality settings slider.  Despite the OpenGL performance, this card has a LOT going for it. However, ATI packed in one more quality enhancer that we haven't completely looked at yet:

TRUFORM testing

This DOES come within the "Image Quality" sphere after all, so we're putting it here. After all, we know what it's supposed to do, and how it's supposed to do it, but we don't know what effect it has on quality and performance in actual game engines.

Both Serious Sam 2 and Unreal Tournament 2003 support TRUFORM according to ATI, as well as Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Jedi Knight 2, among a few others.  The first tough job we had was to get identical screenshots of objects being TRUFORMed. We ended up using the demo version of Serious Sam: Second Encounter for this task, as well as for checking for any performance loss (even though taking multiple screen grabs in Sam is a REAL pain).  Though Unreal Tournament 2003 supports TRUFORM as well, Serious Sam was better suited for the sample screens we wanted to take, offering multiples levels of tessellation.  The Serious engine also offers the option of only TRUFORMing models that are designed for the process, or applying it to all models, which should be a VERY interesting test, which was run under OpenGL.

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