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What are all these Anti-Aliasing methods, and which is best?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm going to finally be able to build my gaming PC in about two or three months time and before then wanted to get to know about all those Anti Aliasing methods. There are so many, the ones I've heard of are FXAA,MSAA that's all.

Could someone maybe give me a kind of list of them from best to worst or a link that explains what each one does? I'm asking because know some methods can blur the image and rob a game of all the fine details, I just want to know what ones to look out for and the ones to be wary of.
post #2 of 5
First, go read the MSAA, SSAA and FXAA wikis.

FXAA/MLAA are basically the same thing. They are shader-based and therefore really cheap to implement in terms of processing time. Good FXAA will give you 90% of the image enhancement of 4x MSAA, at a much lower bandwidth cost.

SSAA basically renders the image at a multiple of the display resolution then samples down from this. Excellent quality, but super-expensive to implement.

MSAA is more brute-force than FXAA, but it's effect is also more accurate. It's less accurate than SSAA, but cheaper. It also has the negative of not having any effect in the case of deferred shaders, as the MSAA pass happens before the post-processing pass. So, best? There isn't a best. Both have there negatives.

In PC gaming, here's my recommendation: Aim for 60fps. Once you've achieved that with your settings, then think about AA. If you are running something like a Geforce 650 at 1080p, then take FXAA when you can, otherwise forget about AA except on older games. A 660 or higher lets you run 4xMSAA or higher, usually with some FXAA on top of that. Moving from 30 to 60fps screen update will have a greater effect on your experience than any AA style will, so target that first.

On my Radeon 6870, I hit 60fps pretty regularly. In older games I tend to slap 2xMSAA on top of that. I can't recall anything that I've played that offers FXAA. Maybe Deus Ex, in which case I went ahead and used FXAA instead of MSAA.
post #3 of 5
Right, there is no best, since the various methods do different things at different costs. FXAA/MLAA are attractive because they produce good results for cheap. MSAA produces great images but eats up fill rate.

The best thing to do is just check out the methods and see what you can live with and what gets you good frame rates.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Well I'm going to go for a Nvidia GTX 680 graphics card, and see if I can find one with 3GB VRAM, just to be sure. Thanks for the info Darklord, I'll take a look at the WIKIS.

So it's FXAA,MLAA,MSAA and SSAA, that's all the methods that would be used in video games?
post #5 of 5
No there's a new one called TXAA, but all the ones developed after MLAA are conceptually similar.
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