If you are a PC gamer, you have certainly found the Anti-Aliasing, or AA, options in your game settings. Turning it off can significantly improve your game performance. But you don’t always need to turn it off. You can simply just choose the right option to give you the best performance and graphics possible on your setup.
For the average PC, MSAA is the best anti-aliasing mode available because it isn’t very hardware-demanding. But, if you have a monster of a computer, TXAA or FXAA is a way to go.
What is anti-aliasing?
First, let’s explain what exactly is anti-aliasing.
When you look at the screen, you see a smooth image. In reality, you are looking at a group of pixels. We can compare the screen to a mosaic, and pixels are the little stone parts. Due to the low resolutions, the edges of the textures can look a little rough and pixel-like. AA uses different techniques to smooth that edges and make them into curves to look more natural.
Anti-aliasing drastically improves your graphics, but it can slow your game and cause a drop in FPS.
Types of anti-aliasing
When it comes to the types, this is where things get complicated. Every graphic card uses a specific type of anti-aliasing, and there are quite a few options.
Multisample Anti-Aliasing (MSAA)
MSAA is probably the most famous form of anti-aliasing on the market. It strikes the perfect balance with the performance and quality of the graphic output. What it does is blending the color of the edges of the pixels and creates the illusion of smooth edges.
It has three levels 2x, 4x, and 8x. Obviously, 8x is hardware more demanding than a 4x. If you have a middle-range monitor, this is the choice we would recommend.
Supersample Anti-Aliasing (SSAA)
SSAA is the first version of anti-aliasing to appear in the computer world. It renders your screen at a higher resolution then it displays a downsampled version.
We would not recommend turning on SSAA to an average PC gamer. SSAA can slow things drastically on your average PC. But, this is the most realistic looking version of AA.
Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing (FXAA)
From its name alone, you know that this is a faster form of anti-aliasing. However, this comes at a price. This thing will eat your memory.
FXAA smoothes the edges of all pixels on the screen, so it is clear why you need high-end monitor for FXAA. The payoff is worth it because even if you don’t know a thing about graphics, you will notice a big difference on your screen.
Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TXAA)
Temporal AA is probably the most hardware demanding version of anti-aliasing. It samples not just the edge of the pixel but the whole pixel and blurs the edges to make them more natural.
However, not all graphic cards have this option. Only NVIDIA’s GTX-600 series support temporal anti-aliasing.
Even the older games on the low resolution will look beautiful with the TXAA turned on. However, you must prepare yourself to make some compromises with the performance.
Anti-Aliasing won’t always improve your graphics. For example, if you have a 24 Inch 4K monitor, you won’t even need AA. The graphics will already be sharp on their own, rendering AA useless.
This article was last updated on December 17, 2022 .