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Why I think FXAA is awesome.

post #1 of 5
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Howdy. I just built my new rig about six months ago and recently upgraded the graphics in it to a MSI GTX 670 PE. My old PC had an Intel Q6600 and an EVGA 8800 Ultra SC Edition. So you can imagine how big of a difference my new build has made.

I've read a lot of stuff, good and bad, about Nvidia's FXAA. Some people say its no good and that its just a "blurring" effect while other people swear by it. Other folks say FXAA is only good when combined with MSAA. I would like to share my personal experience as someone who is very new to the current generation of GPUs.

Before I get started...lets get the obvious out of the way first. Most of todays games are console ports that are poorly optimized for PC, with a few exceptions. I am learning this the hard way as I feel that I finally have a system that should be able to come close to maxing out most games at 1920 x 1080. Keep in mind that my standard for smooth gameplay is maintaining at least 60 frames per second at all times. As far as the optimization issue is concerned, games like Battlefield 3 and Far Cry 3 run flawlessly on my system while games like Metro 2033 stutter constantly and Borderlands 2 suffers from the occasional random framerate drop. So, I've come to the conclusion that good hardware can only compensate for poor optimization to a certain degree. If the game developer didnt put a lot of TLC into the PC version of a game...you can almost certainly count on an inconsistent gaming experience.

So, being that my standard is a smooth 60+ fps...here comes FXAA to the rescue! That, and Adaptive Vsync. I love Adaptive Vsync btw! I've noticed that on poorly optimized games like Splinter Cell: Conviction, for example, that MSAA and CSAA can really take the steam out of my beloved 60fps. So, when I have this issue I simply turn off all AA in the in-game settings (unless the game in question natively supports FXAA) and enable FXAA via the Nvidia control panel. It makes all the difference in the world for me. I always sit with my face a healthy 3 feet away from my computer monitor wich seems to minimize the blurring effect that a lot of people seem to report and complain about. The only time I seem to notice the blurring effect is if a game displays very tiny text. Besides that, FXAA is a framerate saver! Combined with Adaptive Vsync I can maintain 60+ fps and almost eliminate screen tearing altogether.

At any rate, I just wanted to share my experience as a noob to this current generation of hardware. I'm sure some will disagree and thats fine. Everyone has their preferences.
Edited by TheAntiMartyr - 2/17/13 at 10:36am
 
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post #2 of 5
Well yes FXAA saves a lot of FPS as its not AA in the traditional sense but rather a post processing effect that combines edge detect and a blur filter. Personally I see it as an use full option but in no way a replacement for true AA. From what I have seen it actually works best in combination with supersampling.

However running just FXAA is kind a meh. Either you sill have aliasing or if you turn it way up you just get blurred up picture. It does not always play nice with other effects either as some bloom and glare effects can look much nicer with real AA. Really I rather have proper MSAA and turn down something else like ambien occlusion.

What's the point of first spending rendering resources on anisotropic filtering and high resolution textures if you are just going to blur away that detail in post.
Edited by Bit_reaper - 2/17/13 at 3:22pm
    
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post #3 of 5
i dont know if it's just me, but, when i had an amd card before mlaa looked better than fxaa, i switched to an nvidia card.....fxaa looks worse for me anyway.
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post #4 of 5
SMAA is awesome FXAA is meh.
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post #5 of 5
I quite like oversampling with FXAA, looks adequate to me.
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