Up For Debate - Favourite Type Of Antialiasing

Written by Jon Sutton on Sun, Nov 29, 2015 4:00 PM

For a large chunk of PC games these days, the antialiasing options on offer are far more complex than a simple binary choice. Whether it’s FSAA, SSAA, MSAA, MLAA, FXAA, or a myriad of others, the choices can be bewildering. In general, you can expect the more demanding antialiasing solutions to provide the better results. It’s not always as simple as that, and some forms of antialiasing are just too expensive for the image quality improvements they provide - as anyone who’s tried to lurch through with 8xSSAA and attest.

Just wrapping your head around what they do is a task in itself, and it seems as if the likes of Nvidia and AMD keep finding newer and more efficient ways of handling the task. At a base level antialiasing is a means of making the images rendered by your GPU sharper without increasing the resolution. All forms of AA use various techniques to blur edges and reduce the appearance of jagged lines.

For a more detailed breakdown of antialiasing in its various forms, we’ve got our Gamers Guide To Antialiasing. It details everything from FSAA and SSAA, which are total brute force methods, all the way to post-processing techniques like SMAA - or Enhanced Subpixel Morphological Anti-Aliasing if you want a bit of a tongue twister.

One of the newest kids on the block is Nvidia’s TXAA. Nvidia reckons this creates a smoother, clearer image than any other form of anti-aliasing. It achieves this by using a combination of MSAA, post processing and Nvidia’s own temporal filters.

With all these choices on offer, it can be a little mystifying to know which to plump for. So what antialiasing do you usually look for? Do you prefer to push your graphics card to the limit with the more demanding AA or are there some cheaper choices you think do the job just as well?

Which is your favourite type of antialiasing?

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15:02 Dec-04-2015

I never even heard of EQAA and MLAA

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16:25 Dec-04-2015

It only appeared in a few nVidia titles I think.

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16:38 Dec-04-2015

MLAA is by AMD.

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20:10 Dec-04-2015

Yeah I know, I was talking about EQAA, that's why I said "it". :P

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14:51 Dec-04-2015

Go msaa all the way. If your graphics card is decent, you can afford to use msaa and results in a much more clear picture overall.

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16:08 Dec-04-2015

wrong, because it only anti aliases geometrical particles and no transparent textures like leaves, fences etc. but it does OK with the geometrical part

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16:54 Dec-04-2015

Yep, geometry only. Textures remain unfiltered. That's why I prefer FSAA/SSAA/DSR if my system can run it...

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17:12 Dec-04-2015

Best is having a 2k or 4k monitor..
Those who don't posses one like me will have to work with dsr and vsr :D
Tried Starwar Battlefront on my friend's 4K monitor with Fury X CF.
The game looked damn awesome..

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09:39 Dec-01-2015

DSR is the best of them all... though it isn't technically AA and it uses up more power than all those combined xD but it gives the best results

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10:44 Dec-01-2015

Well, it IS technically AA at its truest form, actually. From what I learned during MIT at uni - aliasing is caused by the lack of sufficient sampling. Anti-aliasing techniques are essentially OVERsampling, which DSR is :)
So DSR/SSAA/FSAA/Downsampling are the purest forms of AA, technically speaking. And they obviously also look the best because of it.

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08:43 Dec-01-2015

FXAA all the way. Less taxing on resources

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17:23 Nov-30-2015

i generally use 2XMSAA, sometimes FXAA when game is too demanding

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12:58 Nov-30-2015

DSR is my first choice on my 720p TV. Look betters than 1080p with 8x MSAA IMHO.

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14:19 Nov-30-2015

I'm with ya! That's because it's the good old FSAA/Downsampling, which affects EVERYTHING :)

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11:00 Nov-30-2015

I was going to make a joke about FXAA but it looks quite popular somehow o.O

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10:29 Nov-30-2015

I really can't stand jaggies so I tend to use whatever AA a game has (even if it's FXAA).
Made an exception with Batman Arkham Knight. The inbuilt "high quality" AA blurred up the and still left plenty of pixel crawl. No thanks.

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10:26 Nov-30-2015

I really can't stand jaggies so I tend to use whatever AA a game has (even if it's FXAA).
Made an exception with Batman Arkham Knight. The inbuilt "high quality" AA blurred up the screen and still left plenty of pixel crawl. No thanks.

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10:09 Nov-30-2015

SMAA whenever it's available. Doesn't blur the image as much as FXAA and there's less pixel crawl as well.
Only use MSAA for older or very well optimized games like GTA V. TXAA is worth avoiding no matter what Nvidia says.

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07:34 Nov-30-2015

2xMSAA is what I use when I'm bored :)))

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21:24 Nov-30-2015

1440p master race? :-D

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07:25 Nov-30-2015

Shouldn't need it in the first place.

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14:31 Nov-30-2015

to this I agree, when I was gaming on my 15.6" 1080p lappy, actual pixel size is so small the jaggies were practically unnoticeable, if I calculate well then it would mean 30" 4K should be somewhat similar, and actually less demanding than 1080p with 4xMSAA :)

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14:38 Nov-30-2015

I'll have to check that theory, but I reckon the result will be that 4K will still bomb the framerate more :D

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14:43 Nov-30-2015

I am guessing, 2xSSAA at 1080p should basically equal to 3840x2160, and so 4xMSAA (which should be less demanding than 4xSSAA) should be more demanding than native 3840x2160 :)

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15:00 Nov-30-2015

Bloody hell, took me a while to understand what you mean by SSAA lol! It's the same old FSAA it seems, in which case year, 2x that should be 4K. But I wouldn't say MSAA is like that - it doesn't affect the whole frame or texmaps. Surely 4K will kill the fps more, at least judging from my Wolfenstein MSAA on single card performance. I'll do some tests.

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18:06 Nov-30-2015

Yeah I think I agree with xquatrox on this. 4k resolution decreases fps significantly less than 4xMSAA. MSAA isnt a blind method of bruther force supersampling if I am not mistaken. If it was its performance hit indeed would me similar to 4k res though.

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08:30 Dec-01-2015

Yep.. But when there are lots of edges in a frame, FPS drop will likely be similar :D

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10:46 Dec-01-2015

I've actually tested this theory yesterday. FarCry4 Ultra settings on my laptop:
MSAA x4 - 49-51fps
4K no AA - 28-30fps


My assumptions were correct.
And I guess we can all agree that FarCry4 has a LOT of edges in the frame (trees, grass, buildings, debris, etc)

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06:53 Nov-30-2015

Wow FXAA got so many votes.I'd go with FXAA too but if the game's generally well optimized I'll crank it upto 2xMSAA

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06:05 Nov-30-2015

1440p DSR/VSR combined with FXAA and there you have it, the perfect chicken steak &#603

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14:44 Nov-30-2015

1440p native, that's all I need :D

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17:44 Nov-30-2015

Agreed.. That PPI is enough for suitable gaming distance :D

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03:56 Nov-30-2015

I am surprised to see FXAA have so many votes...


I generally always see people complaining about how horrible they think it is.

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06:17 Nov-30-2015

I find FXAA to work great for me. Usually I use MSAA, but if it is too demanding then I switch to FXAA. On my resolution the difference between the two is very small and FXAA gives me a massive performance boost.

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07:29 Nov-30-2015

Are you using multiple monitors?

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17:46 Nov-30-2015

In my games, no. I only use my second monitor for extra tasks.

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03:38 Nov-30-2015

I usually just turn it off...

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02:20 Nov-30-2015

Easily MSAA, despite being demanding. Don't really like FXAA.

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01:40 Nov-30-2015

MSAA and SSAA for me,they are demanding but they dont ruin the image for me like TXAA and FXAA :D

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01:29 Nov-30-2015

60 FPS...

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01:25 Nov-30-2015

SMAA Was Nice for Farcry 4 and watch dogs.Providing better AA at low Fps cost.Overall FXAA

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