Why do large fonts appear choppy in non-IE browsers?

This is something I’ve wondered for awhile. IE is a pain in the butt usually, but it does a much better job of rendering large fonts. Any particular reason for this?

Also, I am trying to create a basic horizontal navigation bar with a dark charcoal background and white text. I tried 20px ariel and it looks pretty bad in all the browsers I tried except IE. Can anyone recommend another sans-serif font that renders better in other browsers?

Thanks in advance.

I have the same issue in my Virtual Box Windows, and I always assume that those users with jaggy fonts want it that way, for the same reason they choose their Desktop background image. Even though I know there are many who don’t know this.

Using Ubuntu, like ralph I get to enjoy smooth fonts on all my browsers : )

Cleartype / font smoothing:-
-XP: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/294851
-Vista/7: My Computer > Properties > Advanced > Performance > Settings > check smooth screen fonts

Interesting. Of course the problem is still that I have to rely on users to have that setting, which I’m sure many will not. I really don’t want to resort to graphics or sIFR either. I guess I will have to play around with different fonts and see how the results look.

I can’t help but think something’s wrong here, as fonts enlarge beautifully for me on all non-IE browsers (on Mac, at least).

I’ve got a vague memory that there’s a preference setting on PCs that allows for better font rendering, but I can’t remember what it is. Someone else will, no doubt.