Nvidia’s MFAA closer look




Nvidia on Tuesday its new driver, with the number 344.75, released. Except improved performance in new games like Far Cry 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition, the driver gives the possibility to switch MFAA. MFAA stands for multi-frame sampled anti-aliasing, a feature of NVIDIA’s new graphics cards Maxwell: the GTX 970 and 980. The purpose of MFAA is a high quality anti-aliasing, without thereby providing too much in the frame rate game.

Anti-aliasing is used, to the jagged edges of objects in games a smoother finish. The cartels arise because objects are made up of pixels and the pixels on the screen are square. To nevertheless ensure that an object looks around, takes MSAA on some points of the pixel sample, or sample, and examines what color should have the pixel in that spot.


No AA (left) and 2x MSAA

In the right image, it can be seen that there are two samples taken per pixel, wherein two pixels to the results of the samples of color differences. Then, the color of that pixel is averaged to the two colors of the samples, so that the pixel is gray. In the above example, MSAA applied using two samples, but the more samples, the better the color of the intermediate pixel can be calculated, so that there is even less jagged your game will look like.


A disadvantage of MSAA is that it takes a lot of GPU power, to the detriment of the frame rate in the game. Nvidia’s solution is MFAA that largely does the same as MSAA. The difference is that the situation is not being viewed per frame, but also that the previous frame is taken into consideration. That way you can theoretically achieve the quality of 4x MSAA, while the frame rate keeps you’d expect at 2x MSAA.

A second opportunity provided by the Maxwell GPU, flexible sample patterns. At 2x or 4x MSAA are the locations where the samples in the pixel are taken normally fixed, but it does at Maxwell not to be the case. The driver or the application can change the positions per frame and even within the frame.

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