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Archive for December, 2006

HDR broken at 6xAA on X1950XTX Crossfire in Oblivion?

Posted by briandh on December 27, 2006

Update: 16 Jan 07 – downloaded latest Catalyst Drivers and this problem has been resolved – also noticed performance gains in this and other games

I know that earlier versions of the ATI Catalyst drivers did not allow anti-aliasing and HDR at the same time in Oblivion on the X1950XTX cards. Actually it is only by forcing the settings in Catalyst that it is now possible at all.

However, I have come across a slight glitch when you move from 4xAA to 6xAA and then on to 8xAA.

See the following shots and pay attention to 2 things:

  1. The lighting bloom around the edge of the sword at 6xAA just does not exist.
  2. There is an overal fogginess to the entire scene at 6xAA.

First, here is the 4xAA shot:

Oblivion X1950XTX Crossfire 4xAAOblivion X1950XTX Crossfire 4xAA Hosted on Zooomr

Next the 6xAA:

Oblivion X1950XTX Crossfire 6xAAOblivion X1950XTX Crossfire 6xAA Hosted on Zooomr

Finally the 8xAA:

Oblivion X1950XTX Crossfire 8xAAOblivion X1950XTX Crossfire 8xAA Hosted on Zooomr

I should point out that the 4x and 6x shots were with temporal anti-aliasing turn on although it actually makes no difference to the effect. Also, AF was at 8x with HQ turned ON and all other settings were at ON/Max – with max settings in Oblivion too.

The interesting thing is that between 6x and 8x is the point at which the second card kicks in and starts doing its thing with boosting AA.

With everything else almost maxed out 8xAA slows things down just a fraction too much, so I’m sticking with 4x as I can’t really tell the difference during the game anyway.

Posted in ATI, computer, computers, Crossfire, hands-on, Oblivion, problems, X1950XTX | 9 Comments »

23% Performance Boost – No overclocking

Posted by briandh on December 24, 2006

It has taken a while but I have finally got this system nailed, Oblivion is running like a dream my 3DMark06 score has jump from 8686 to 10686 and I am one happy bunny. I also managed to claw back 600Mb+ of system RAM that was swallowed up (still 1.4Gb missing in action).

I haven’t even had to overclock a single component.

How was this masterful feat accomplished? Simple – just don’t trust a PC manufacturer to be able to set up a system optimally.

Since I have been working and playing with PC’s for more than 20 years, I am not afraid to get my hands dirty and wade into the BIOS – I’ve even been known (shock-horror) to open the case now and then. Those that don’t have the experience or confidence to do this could be wasting a significant amount of their systems true capabilities.

In my particular case there were several factors which contributed to the boost. I did not keep track of specifically how much each one influenced the final result, sorry, but they included:

  1. I needed a BIOS update. This gave me my memory back by allowing me to turn off the option which was attempting to be helpful by remapping my memory above 4Gb thus leaving space for the PCI bus to use the bit in between. Unfortunately I was not using a 64bit operating system so the bit above 4Gb vanished. Now I lose a large chunk to PCI but get some of it back. If and when I switch to 64bit I can turn it back on.
  2. I turned off every physical device that I was not using via the BIOS. The motherboard comes with about 4 networks and I use none, plus an on-board sound card and a couple of other things. Speeds up the boot time and claws back a fraction of the above memory. Might reduce overlapping / conflicting IRQ’s and boost performance a wee bit too.
  3. I researched the part number for my RAM chips and found the optimal timings and set them explcitly in the BIOS. For some reasson the auto-cofig in the BIOS was not getting these right. Note that I am not overclocking these – just setting them up as per the manufacturers specifications. I believe that this was the largest factor in my performance boost.

I did play around with some other settings, none of which had any significant impact and so were returned to their default settings.

I’m off to play some more super-smooth Oblivion …


… and it is super smooth. An easy 40fps out in the grassy open with all settings almost maxed out and at 1600×1200, HDR, 2x AA, 8x HQ AF.

I ran some Half Life 2 benchmarks (the HardwareOC ones – not just the stress tests) and I have to max out absolutely everything (HDR, 14x AA, 16x HQ AF) to get the frame rate to drop just below 60fps in Lost Coast. All other tests are well into the silly figures.

[Even more added]

I have spent parts of tonight (when not wrapping presents) running more tests.  The net effect of my changes are far more than I had originally thought.  I must have cleared a major system bottleneck.  Half Life 2 and every game I have tried that pre-dates it now runs easily with maximum AA & AF settings at frames rates usually easily exceeding 60fps.  This is far more than the 23% suggested by the raw 3DMark06 score – based on previous tests.  The whole system also feels much more responsive.  I’m downloading th x3-reunion demo and we will see how that fares.

Posted in ATI, BIOS, computer, computers, Crossfire, games, hands-on, Oblivion, overclocking, problems, X1950XTX | 2 Comments »

Disillusioned by a horse’s ass in Oblivion

Posted by briandh on December 21, 2006

Note: I have resolved this issue – see “23% Performance Boost – no overclocking

If you have read any of my previous posts you might know that I have bought myself a nice new kick-ass computer. This, and the fact that I have been busy with other “real life” stuff, has been why I have not posted anything for a while. What time I have had to play with my new computer has been dedicated to doing just that – playing with it. Not posting blogs, not uploading images to Zooomr, just setting up and playing with my new toy.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in ATI, computer, computers, Crossfire, game, games, hands-on, Oblivion, Uncategorized, whinge, X1950XTX | 3 Comments »