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ECTS 2004: The Filtering War Will Be No More?

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 2 September 2004, 00:00

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The Filtering War Will Be No More?

One of the biggest topics of discussion in consumer graphics in the last two of three years has concerned texture and geometry filtering quality. From Quake/Quack, right the way through to today and discussion about ATI's filtering quality in Doom3, with NVIDIA's struggle with quality in 3DMarks 2001 and 03, all the major IHVs have had some issues with filtering quality in their hardware and drivers.

That looks set to change with Windows Graphics Foundation, the new graphics core Microsoft initially were developing for Longhorn but are now going to pull back into Windows XP in an interim upgrade before Longhorn arrives in 2006.

Windows Graphics Foundation clearly defines, with literally no wiggle room, what the hardware and driver should do with regards to basic texture filtering, anisotropic filtering and texture and geometry antialiasing.

The result, after discussion with ATI and NVIDIA yesterday? Turn on trilinear anisotropic filtering at 16X and apply multi-sample anti-aliasing and both ATI and NVIDIA's hardware and driver will, via WGF's strict notions of what comprises correct filtering, render identical images, with only the smallest of mathematical differences tolerated.

If that truly does happen, and both companies seem to be keen for that to be the case, one of the major points of contention between the IHVs will forcibly disappear, leaving good old performance and features and the proper battleground.