We used the full retail version of Quake 4, the fourth game in the Quake series, based on the technically sound Doom 3 engine. However, unlike Doom 3, we found that the game benefits from at least 2x Anti-Aliasing, and the experience with Anti-Aliasing at a slightly lower resolution was better than increasing the resolution with no AA applied.
Both Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering were controlled from inside the game. When you select "High Quality" mode, 4xAF is automatically enabled, and when the "Ultra Quality" mode is enabled, 8xAF is automatically applied to the scene.
We did a manual run through from a five minute section of the Nexus Hub Tunnels level and found that a minimum of 15 frames per second and an average of 45 frames per second in our test section was deemed to be playable across the rest of the title.
We attempted to play Quake 4 at 1600x1200 4xTSS AA 8xAF with Ultra Quality textures and details, but found the frame rate to be a little choppy and averaging no more than 42 frames per second. However, when we dropped the Anti-Aliasing quality down to 2xTSS AA, we found that the GeForce 7800 GTX 512 was perfectly smooth through our manual run through.
In comparison to the Radeon X1800XT 512MB at 1600x1200 0xAA 8xAF Ultra Quality - the only setting where we found the Radeon X1800XT 512MB to be playable with Ultra Quality - we found that the GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB was around 35% faster than ATI's current flagship video card.
There are also sizeable performance gains over the two GeForce 7800 GTX 256MB video cards, too. We found that the additional clock speeds and frame buffer size enabled us to increase the quality from High Quality to Ultra Quality and still experience a smoother gaming experience than what was delivered by the XFX GeForce 7800 GTX Extreme Gamer Edition.
If you prefer to use a higher Anti-Aliasing setting like 4xTSS AA, we recommend dropping the texture quality from Ultra Quality down to High Quality. We found that the game was also very playable at 1600x1200 4xTSS AA 4xAF High Quality, too. Our personal preference, once we had at least 2xTSS AA applied at 1600x1200, was to increase the Anisotropic Filtering and texture quality by increasing the detail to Ultra Quality when playing Quake 4 on the GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB.