Final Words & Conclusion
So where does it end ?
If you wonder why I wonder about it ... hear me out. There are just too many AA modes and custom AA standards. Yeah, I am not kidding, MSAA, SSAA and custom modes like EQAA and CSAA and then CFAA, FSAA, SSAA, OGSSAA, TMAA, TXAA, FXAA and now MFAA. Ehm, shared in-between brands there are even more and all the AA modes do tend to get confusing for the end users, so they simply stick to they know best. Typically FXAA (cheap AA) or MSAA (quality AA) are used. The interesting thing about MFAA is that it is close MSAA quality wise, and that does make it interesting.
Nvidia's new MFAA mode is interesting as it offers a rather superior AA mode that doesn't blur like FXAA, there are very few compromises made with Multi-Frame Antialiasing. The benefit is that AA stays very close in terms of quality towards MSAA whilst giving you the benefit of better performance. And yeah, as such another AA mode been born. Worst case you will not see huge perf benefits like 10%, but with some titles it can run up-to 30% over say 4xMSAA, and at such perf increases, the differences are definitely substantial enough. It might bring good AA on a hefty title at little extra cost in your framerate budget - or you simply get the quality benefit of a higher AA level at little cost in your framerate budget. MFAA as such is also very interesting for Ultra HD gamers where say 20% extra performance could be the difference from annoyance to making a game playable with say nice AA at 4x MFAA.
Today Nvidia will release its new driver that allows you to fool around with MFAA. Give it a try and let us know what you think about it in our forums. And sure there are downsides with MFAA, currently broad wide spread game support is lacking, only a dozen or so triple A titles will work with this new AA mode. As such it is also profile dependant and last but not least, I have to state it; it is very close but not as good as the actual MSAA equivalent. Would you ever notice the difference visually in-between MSAA and MFAA ? We doubt it and as such MFAA is the logical way to go.
This AA mode is done clever, Multi Frame Sampled AA gives roughly the same quality as 4x MSAA but has roughly the performance costs of 2x MSAA (though that varies per title). A temporal synthesis filter with coverage samples per frame and per pixel is what it is all about. It is a promising new AA mode alright, but with so many AA modes available, I'd be interested in hearing if you guys are going to use it. That said, it runs on selected Maxwell based products only, and right now only a handful of games work. Good news is that the latest iteration of Far Cry will also run MFAA as well as Assassin's Creed: Unity, Civilization V, Civilization: Beyond Earth and games like Crysis 3, Grid and Titanfall.
The 344.75 or incremental driver will be released today by Nvidia. Update - download here