#1 Posted by Dacnomaniac (444 posts) -

Just as thread thread title says, I just ordered my new machine and am relatively new to PC gaming. So, I made this thread to find out the best Quality/Performance setting.

#2 Edited by mwng (956 posts) -

Uhh, as much as I can push before I start dropping too many frames?

This seems a little too game dependent for anyone to give you a useful answer. Throwing up your new specs may also help.

Also I'm not sure if "favorite" is the right word for this, like "what is your favorite method of paying tax". I'd go with "default" or "most used" maybe? (Not trying to be an ass here, just helps me understand the question).

#3 Edited by JJWeatherman (14570 posts) -

As mentioned, it really depends on quite a few variables. I'm not sure how anyone would answer this. Just mess around with settings for a bit until you find a sweet spot.

#4 Posted by development (2628 posts) -

Off, because my computer is shit.

#5 Posted by believer258 (12188 posts) -

Eh, you have to fiddle with it sometimes to make it look good without dropping frames. I mostly leave it on whatever it defaults to. Unless it defaults to something terrible or off, in which case I spend about half a minute fixing it.

#6 Edited by Ravenlight (8011 posts) -

Off, because my computer is shit.

Unfortunately, that's the boat I'm in for now too.

#7 Posted by Maajin (1088 posts) -

Off, because I like to feel the pixels.

#8 Edited by WilltheMagicAsian (1542 posts) -

SGSSAA x2, if it's not broken for that specific game and I can still have playable framerates

#9 Posted by tourgen (4542 posts) -

x2 or off for me. I only have a 560ti tho

#10 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4494 posts) -

I'll finally be able to play with MSAA stuff here soon once I grab that 780

#11 Posted by sagebirt (58 posts) -

I can't remember what it's called. They used it on Hitman: Absolution, SMAA? I just remember thinking, wow, not one jagged edge. I still need to finish that game, like most games I play.

#12 Edited by Korwin (3029 posts) -

SGSSAA is a real mans AA... it also takes ludicrous horse power. SMAA if i'm looking for a cheap shader based solution (the integrated build of it in Crysis 3 was fantastic, more of that please). MSAA is all well and good but I like my transparencies and effects done to please :P

#13 Edited by Rowr (5824 posts) -


#14 Posted by Xymox (2115 posts) -

Same, 2X or off while at the native resolution of the monitor. 2X clears up the worst of the jagged edges (the most visible) and from my experience, beyond that it's just not worth the drop in frame rate.



I barely see the difference.

#15 Edited by Fattony12000 (7564 posts) -


#16 Posted by Raven10 (1923 posts) -

Here are some of the AA types and how they differ:

In general there are two main types of AA. First is post-process AA which is essentially an intelligent blur filter that attempts to blur only the edges of objects. Some types of this AA work better than others.

FXAA - The original shader based AA developed by Nvidia and included in a fair number of modern games. It is the lowest quality method but also the cheapest from a computational standpoint. This method is used in most multi-platform or 360 exclusive console games.

MLAA - There are two forms of this AA. One was developed by AMD and is a slightly better but more taxing alternative to FXAA. The second method was developed by Sony to be used exclusively with the PS3. This feature is used by many PS3 exclusives.

SMAA - A newer post-process solution that is being included in more and more games. A free version can be "injected" into most games with varying results. Often it looks better than FXAA and you can play with individual settings to make it look how you want.

The second type of AA essentially increases the resolution of certain elements on-screen and then lowers their resolution back down. The most popular form of this is MSAA. MSAA can be run anywhere from 2x to over 32x. Generally no more than 4x is needed and MSAA can kill your framerate. SSAA is a brute force method that looks really great but will halve your performance or more on most games.

Those are the most common forms of AA although there are many others. Of note, Nvidia introduced its TXAA format with the 600 series that they claim gives 8x MSAA quality with only 2x MSAA performance hit. Also, some games let you use both a post process and an upscaling solution at the same time. So basically I've listed the most popular forms in order from lowest quality to highest quality with the performance hit rising with each one. FXAA may take off a frame or two at most while SSAA will take off 30+ frames in most games that support it.

#17 Posted by Tebbit (4485 posts) -

I have zero issue with jagged edges in games, so generally I just have it off. My computer is plenty capable of having them on, but I get an extra 20fps or so out of having them off, so I'd rather go from 50to 70 than have smooth edges.

#18 Posted by erhard (439 posts) -

I have a 7970 and if it's available I pick MSAA. I can't tell a difference between 4x and 8x, so I generally pick the former regardless of AA type.

#19 Posted by audioBusting (1672 posts) -

FXAA because I don't give a shit / can't tell the difference most of the time. Otherwise MSAA 2x or whatever is available and is cheapest.

#20 Posted by zenmastah (989 posts) -

Downsampling + SMAA is quite nice-

#21 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

None or 2x AA (whatever method) - at least with my card (HD 5870), higher settings just look a little too washed out and blurry. I can deal with jaggies, if the image is crisp and pops.

#22 Posted by SomeJerk (3389 posts) -

I leave AA to my opponents in online action games, they turn a corner and drop to 15fps, I turn the same corner and maintain my steady 60.

#23 Posted by jArmAhead (341 posts) -


MLAA is not better than FXAA. At best it is equal, and often worse. It's pretty dreadful. I just about laughed when the only AA options in Dishonored were FXAA and MLAA. And MLAA was NOT the superior option.

Luckily nVidia inspector is awesome so I had it with MSAA and SSAA :3

@xymox said:

Same, 2X or off while at the native resolution of the monitor. 2X clears up the worst of the jagged edges (the most visible) and from my experience, beyond that it's just not worth the drop in frame rate.



I barely see the difference.

A) that's not a very aliased scene anyway, so it's a bad example. B) aliasing becomes more noticeable with movement, causing the crawling effect. C) this doesn't really show foliage, which is where MSAA falls on its face unfortunately. Skyrim's geometry doesn't have a lot of contrast and as a result, doesn't need a done of anti-aliasing. It's a poor example of what AA you should use. I'm not saying 2x isn't a good "just enough" option, just that it's a little more complex than that.

For me, it's often 8xMSAA. I have a very potent PC and haaaaaate jagged edges. I'll also throw 2x SGSSAA or downsample if there is a lotof transparency jaggedness, ie any Bethesda game.

Never use FXAA. Especially in a game with a lot of small details (like latticework) in the distance. Far Cry 3's radio towers are a great example of what is wrong with FXAA. It's better than jagged I suppose, but 2xMSAA is almost always possible and ALWAYS better.

I avoid "destructive" AA unless I'm downsampling. For example I don't mind Post AA in BF3 because I down sample and have deferred 4x on, so it doesn't have nearly the horrible impact it normally would. The problem with FXAA and other PP based AA is that rather than simple "blurring" it tries to smooth edges. Unfortunately that means you loose any hard angles and it turns details into a mess. TXAA is on the blurring side of things. You lose a bit of clarity and sharpness, but a lot less than you lose angles and details in FXAA.

Depending on your rig, and the game, there are a lot of options. My advice would be to stick to MSAA unless you're using a high end rig. If that's the case, and you have frames to spare in a game, turn on some light SGSSAA.

It also depends on your display. What is the resolution/size? If you have a large 27" 1920x1080 monitor, you're going to notice aliasing a lot more than someone with a 22" monitor. And even how close you are to it makes a pretty big difference. If you're running a higher or lower resolution, AA will be less or more needed.

And then there are the weird cases like Left 4 Dead 2 which is incredibly easy to make very, very clean looking. 8xMSAA looks flawless, including on transparencies. Or ArmA 2 which never seems to stop being aliased, even with everything jacked up.

Keep in mind also that some games are starting to use "deferred" rendering, which is good for dynamic, lighting heavy scenes but very tough to anti-alias. Battlefield 3 for example is actually easier to downsample (running at a much higher resolution than your native resolution and letting your GPU scale that down) than run with anti-aliasing. And the nice benefit there is that you get the huge UI to shrink a bit and sharpness increased on textures.

My personal favorite right now is TXAA because it gives great performance and excellent anti-aliasing. It does blur things a bit, but it's not really bothersome. I actually think it looks more "filmic" as a result, and the lack of sharpness is pretty subtle especially when you're playing. TXAA also handles movement a lot better which is a nice bonus. Combined with downsampling, it's perfect because you gain that detail back.

The problem is that it's an nVidia method and there's no way to just force it so only a handful of games use it. In fact, I can only think of three; Crysis 3, Black Ops 2, and Assassin's Creed 3. Plus everyone whines that it's way too blurry. It's really not that blurry. When you play and don't look for it it just looks like CGI AA which is generally a little blurry. And I'd rather have a touch of blur over jagged lines personally, but it's definitely a preference.

#24 Posted by Capum15 (4996 posts) -

Honestly I can barely tell AA off from AA max. I usually go with max unless it interferes, but it normally doesn't. It's that Antisotropic or whatever filtering that kills me. I can run most games at max, but not with that stuff.

#25 Posted by HS_Alpha_Wolf (104 posts) -

I have an Asus ROG laptop with an i7 and GTX 460m Cuda card, and even with that, I can get pretty damn good performance out of recent stuff like Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, and even Metro: Last Light. I find that I can set FXAA to 4x or sometimes 8x with recent driver updates, but MSAA and SGSSA I usually keep off. Also, SSAO or Ambient Occlusion tends to really dog the framerate, and the hell if I can really tell the difference with it on. I would imagine if you just got a PC it should easily trounce the two-year old laptop in performance, but if you are stepping up from consoles you will definitely see an increase in fidelity. Also, if you have an NVidia card, they have a program you can download that does a pretty decent job of maximizing performance in major games.

#26 Posted by Svenzon (729 posts) -

As high as I can go without wrecking the framerate.

#27 Posted by stubbleman (292 posts) -

QxAA, but only because the word 'quincunx' sounds really awesome.

#28 Posted by phrosnite (3518 posts) -

x4 AA. You don't need more than that.

#29 Posted by s10129107 (1211 posts) -

I can't ever tell the difference with it on or off honestly, so I just turn it off.

#30 Edited by cloudymusic (1230 posts) -

FXAA x2 for most things, just to smooth out the most obvious jagged edges. x4 if my computer can handle it. My computer's not good enough to do any more than that.

#31 Edited by Nivash (241 posts) -

It's a bit of a silly question really, it's like asking what your favorite resolution is: the answer is as high as possibly considering the trade off in performance. I prioritize it this way:

1) ALWAYS native resolution.

2) FPS. 60 is always the target. Occasional drops are acceptable, but never below 30 at any time.

2) Texture quality.

3) Effects/lighting/post-processing.

4) AA/antisotropic filtering (although with the 7950 maxing out antisotropic filtering doesn't really seem hit back anymore, so that usually stays up anyway)

So with a game like Chivalry that runs at 60 FPS with everything maxed the AA will end up at 16X FXAA or whatever the max settings are (they aren't specified) while a more demanding game like Arma 3 ends up with a more humble 4X FXAA, to provide headroom for texture quality, draw distance and lighting.

#32 Posted by phampire (289 posts) -

FXAA, I have a pretty old rig (4+ years).

#33 Posted by ajamafalous (12154 posts) -


#34 Posted by fox01313 (5089 posts) -

Depends on the game & what it supports, some just have an on/off button for it. As with any pc games, if it's an older game & your pretty comfy that your pc can handle it easy, crank the settings up all the way. Otherwise just play with the settings & see what you can turn on to the higher settings without the game slowing down. GLHB!

#35 Posted by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

Interesting topic to say the least.... Going to be pretty plain and simple here, its either X2 or x4 AA or if there is an option for FXAA I'll use that... Depends on on the performance hit on the game, some games take nothing in performance hit with maxed out AA, some are just completely terrible with it just being enabled, for the most part I like to hit a middle ground, so long as I done have jagged lines, dont give a crap :D

#36 Posted by Demoskinos (15148 posts) -

I like to cut my wrists on sharp pixels. ITS THE ONLY WAY I CAN FEEL ALIVE.

#37 Posted by joshthebear (2700 posts) -


#38 Edited by Beforet (2934 posts) -


*I don't know the difference once they start throwing letters at the end, so I just go with whatever's at the bottom of the list. I've stopped thinking about Anti-Aliasing once I specced past Oblivion.

#39 Posted by Dolphin_Butter (1917 posts) -

Downsample, and off.

#40 Posted by Samael2138 (233 posts) -

I'm fortunate enough to have a rig that can almost always handle it completely maxed, and very rarely lose frames. Although, if I had to choose, I'd rather have some jaggies than a lower frame rate. 60 fps or gtfo!!!

i7-3820 @3.60 GHz/ 16 Gigs RAM/ GTX 690

#41 Posted by tourgen (4542 posts) -

I don't give a FUCK about AA. I want 60fps I will live with jagged edges. If it's a natural looking environment I almost prefer it off anyway. Especially at 1080p and higher at the distances I sit from the monitor.

If it's a very clean geometric game with high contrast edges... I'll cry a little and maybe alt-tab over to newegg.com to video card shop for a few minutes. Then I'll just deal with it.

#42 Posted by Teoball (640 posts) -

As high at it can go without running like shit. Been playing through Saint's Row 3 again with everything at max on a 55" TV and it's beatiful.
Downloaded the PS3 version that came with PS+ just to see the difference and wow. That thing runs so bad and has aliasing everywhere.