What Is The Best Anti-Aliasing Mode? [Simple] - DisplayNinja (2023)


The best way to figure out which type of AA (Anti-Aliasing) works the best for you is to simply try every AA available untilyou find the sweet spot between the image enhancement and tolerable performance hit.

We’ll go into detail about all popular anti-aliasing types to give you a better idea of what each of them does.

Are the graphics in your video games jaggy or suffer from the staircase effect? Can you see the rough edges instead of a round shape? Don’t worry, there are ways to improve this.

The prominent jaggies appear due to the low resolution, so the most effective way to get rid of it is by getting a higher resolution monitor.

In fact, on a 27″ 4K monitor, for instance, the image is so crisp and sharp that you most likely won’t even need any sort of AA.

However, if you can’t afford a new monitor or the PC gear required to run higher resolutions, you can use one of many anti-aliasing techniques available to improve the image quality.

Some are more efficient than others but usually come at a higher performance cost resulting in FPS (Frames Per Second) drop.

Different Anti-Aliasing Types

What Is The Best Anti-Aliasing Mode? [Simple] - DisplayNinja (1)

There are two main groups of anti-aliasing.

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The first group we’ll get into increases the sample rate by rendering more pixels than the screen actually needs and then down-samples it to your resolution.

Alternatively, the second group of AA types blurs the rough edges on the screen after the rendering process. Since this version of AA is post-processing, there’s only a tiny impact on your performance, but the image quality improvement is also less noticeable and can appear too blurry, especially with fast motion.

So, if you can afford to sacrifice performance for the picture quality, you will likely opt for some sort of sampling anti-aliasing.

If every frame per second is precious to you, then you will have to settle for a post-processing AA, which may slightly blur the image, but at least it will eliminate the unpleasant staircase effect.


First off, we have the SSAA (Super-Sampling Anti-Aliasing) or FSAA (Full-Scene Anti-Aliasing), which were the first forms of AA to be available and still deliver the arguably best image quality enhancement but with a substantial performance cost.

A more popular AA is the MSAA (Multi-SampleAnti-Aliasing), which only applies the sampling to the edges, where it is most needed, and will thus save you the performance cost while still noticeably improving the image quality.

Moreover, NVIDIA and AMD have their own propriety versions of MSAA. Both Nvidia’s CSAA (Coverage-Sample AA) and AMD’s EQAA (Enhanced QualityAnti-Aliasing) are derivates of MSAA and function pretty much the same way.



The most common post-processing AA is FXAA (Fast-Approximate Anti-Aliasing). As previously described, enabling this will blur out the annoying jaggies with a minimal performance cost.

Overall, this peculiar anti-aliasing algorithm may repulse many gamers due to the blurry image. Still, if you have limited system horsepower, it is likely your only choice as it’s thebest anti-aliasing method for performance.

AMD’s MLAA (Morphological Anti-Aliasing) is similar to FXAA, you get a blurry picture at a tiny performance cost, but it smoothes out the rough edges.

Combined Anti-Aliasing

What Is The Best Anti-Aliasing Mode? [Simple] - DisplayNinja (2)

NVIDIA’s TXAA or TAA (Temporal Anti-Aliasing) combines MSAA (down-sampling) and post-processing (blurring) with temporal filters for an overall better outcome. However, you will need a graphics card based on NVIDIA’s Kepler GPU, a GTX 600-series or higher, for this technology.

Naturally, TXAA also requires more power than the standard FXAA as it handles fast in-game motion much more efficiently.

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Another in-between solution is SMAA (Sub-Pixel Morphological Anti-Aliasing), which is the middle ground between FXAA and MSAA regarding both image quality and performance cost. Basically, it works like FXAA but also detects the edges to smooth them out specifically.

Then we have CMAA (Conservative Morphological Anti-Aliasing), which is a combination of FXAA again and SMAA. So, you get less blurring than with FXAA, but a softer image than SMAA while the performance cost is in-between the two.

Super Resolution

Lastly, depending on your graphics card, you may also want to try out NVIDIA’s DSR (Dynamic Super Resolution) or AMD’s VSR (Virtual Super Resolution).

This technology allows your GPU to render the screen up to 4K (depending on the max resolution of your monitor) and then down-sample it to your monitor’s native resolution.

Additionally, this isn’t only great for gaming as you can increase the resolution of your desktop as well, which will give you more screen real estate.

AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR)

Inversely to VSR, AMD’s FSR technology makes the GPU render at a lower resolution and then uses its upscaling algorithm in order to provide you with a higher frame rate.

The trade-off between how much extra FPS you get and how much the image quality is affected is up to you as you can choose between different presets (Ultra Quality, Quality, Balance and Performance). The ‘Performance’ mode offers the highest FPS gain at the biggest toll on image quality, while ‘Ultra Quality’ has the lowest FPS gain but also has the smallest impact on picture quality.

AMD’s FSR is open-source, but in order to use it, the game must support it and you will need a compatible GPU (GTX 10-series or AMD RX 460, or newer).

You can find a list of all games (including upcoming titles) that support FSR here.

Some modders have also succeeded in adding FSR support to games that don’t support it natively, for instance, GTA V.


AMD’s FSR 2.0 uses temporal upscaling instead of spatial (like FSR 1.0).

FSR 1.0 is most beneficial at high resolutions, such as 4K UHD, and when using the ‘Ultra Quality’ or ‘Quality’ presets, whereas FPS 2.0 offers better image quality and performance at 4K, but also great results at lower resolutions and with modes that favor performance.

For optimal performance, AMD recommends at least RX 5700 or RTX 2070 for 4K UHD, RX 5600 or GTX 1080 for 1440p, and RX 590 or GTX 1070 for 1080p. However, FSR 2.0 is still supported on all RX 500-series and GTX 10-series or newer GPUs.


The newer versions, AMD FSR 2.0 and 2.1 further improve the upscaling performance, mainly by reducing the amount of ghosting artifacts.

AMD Radeon Super Resolution (RSR)

AMD’s RSR technology uses the same algorithm as FSR 1.0, but it’s driver-based, allowing you to use it in any game in full-screen mode. However, it requires an AMD RDNA-based GPU (RX 5000 series or newer).


Just like AMD’s FSR, NVIDIA DLSS 2.0 (Deep Learning Super Sampling) makes your GPU render at a lower resolution, but it uses artificial intelligence for better upscaling. So, you get a higher frame rate with a lower impact on image quality in comparison to FSR.

However, DLSS 2.0 is not open-source. In order to use it, a game must support it and you need to have a compatible NVIDIA GPU with Tensor Cores (RTX 20-series, 30-series, or newer).

Newer versions of DLSS (2.1, 2.2, etc.) are also available. They work on the same principle, but offer improved performance and/or reduced visual artifacts.

You can still find the older DLSS 1.0 version in some games and while it can sometimes improve performance, the impact on the image quality is usually not worth it.

DLSS 3.0

With DLSS 3, 3/4 of the first frame is upscaled via AI, while the second frame is reconstructed via DLSS Frame Generation for an even higher gain in frame rates in comparison to DLSS 2.

Although you get higher FPS, frame generation actually increases the input lag as DLSS 3 requires data from the ‘next’ frame. So, as a result, you get smoother motion, but not as responsive gaming experience. The generated frames can also cause some visual artifacts.

If you have a high base frame rate (~120FPS), DLSS 3 can boost it up to ~200FPS. In this case, the visual artifacts and the added input latency aren’t that noticeable, but if your base FPS is below 100FPS, DLSS 3 isn’t very useful – you get a higher frame rate, but the responsiveness is noticeably worse and you get visual artifacts.

Furthermore, DLSS 3 cannot be used with V-Sync or capped frame rates, so it’s mostly suited for high refresh rate (240Hz+) displays with VRR. And due to the increased input lag, it’s not useful for competitive gaming.

In some games, you can use DLSS 3 with capped frame rates, allowing you to prevent your FPS from exceeding your monitor’s maximum refresh rate.


So, what is the best option for you?

There are many more types of AA, such as NVIDIA’s SGSSA and OGSSAA, which need more complexdriver editing and adjusting, but we will get to that in a dedicated article later on.


For games that don’t have any AA or not the ones you need, you can download software such as Reshade, which can inject certain anti-aliasing methods, including SMAA, among others. Or simply use NVIDIA’s or AMD’s super-resolution feature if your GPU supports it.

Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll have a better idea of what to do in the anti-aliasing section of the video settings in your games.

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What is the best anti-aliasing mode? ›

Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA) and Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing (FXAA) Also developed by AMD and NVIDIA, both techniques work in the same manner as mentioned above. MLAA and FXAA are the most popular anti-aliasing methods in the market due to their ability to sharpen graphics using less computing power.

Which anti-aliasing is best FXAA or TAA? ›

Which is better TAA, SMAA or FXAA? Among these three techniques, TAA generally provides the best image quality, as it effectively smooths out jagged edges and flickering pixels while also reducing temporal aliasing (which occurs when objects appear to be moving too quickly).

Which is better MSAA or TAA? ›

MSAA samples (renders) each pixel multiple times at different locations within the frame and averages the samples to produce the final pixel value. In contrast, TAA samples each pixel only once per frame, but it samples the pixels at a different locations in different frames. This makes TAA faster than MSAA.

Which anti-aliasing is fastest? ›

Fast Approximate Anti-aliasing (FXAA)

FXAA is the most efficient anti-aliasing technique. It's ideal for mobile and other platforms that don't support motion vectors, which are required for Temporal Anti-aliasing.

Do you want anti-aliasing high or low? ›

You should be able to run SSAA and TXAA at their lowest settings (2x and 4x). You might be able to run them on their highest settings if you sacrifice certain minor graphics details. But know that there is little difference in quality between supersampling at 4x compared to 8x.

Is anti-aliasing laggy? ›

Not at all. Anti-Aliasing isn't responsible for any input lag or delay. If your graphics card isn't powerful enough to handle, you may notice lagging and a dip in FPS while using this feature.

Should I use SMAA or FXAA? ›

SMAA is a higher quality anti-aliasing effect than FXAA but it's also slower. Depending on the art-style of your game it can work as well as Temporal Anti-aliasing while avoiding some of the shortcomings of this technique.

Is TAA or SMAA better for FPS? ›

TAA might look good at first glance but it's actually pretty bad especially if you look at it IN MOTION. Supersampling with fxaa or smaa is the best for now but it causes a bug with zoom scope since the update as well. Yeah TAA is very blurry. Especially on longer ranges when compared to the others.

Does TAA increase FPS? ›

Generally yes, either positively or negatively depending on how you look at it (it increases the FPS compared to doing raytracing in software, but it reduces the FPS compared to doing no raytracing at all).

Does MSAA increase FPS? ›

MSAA (Multisample Anti-Aliasing) usually looks a bit better than FXAA (Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing). Turn off FXAA and try turning on MSAA at either 2x or 4x to improve low FPS.

Is MSAA 2x or 4x better? ›

What do the numbers mean? Anti-aliasing settings almost always include a series of values: 2x, 4x, 8x, and so on. The numbers refer to the number of color samples being taken, and in general, the higher the number, the more accurate (and computationally expensive) the anti-aliasing will be.

Is 4x MSAA better than 8x MSAA? ›

While it looks nice, it's not for everyone. MSAA - The most effective and cleanest image. At 4x MSAA you get the best balance between performance and image quality. Of course, 8x presents the best image quality, and almost completely removes all traces of aliasing.

Which is better FXAA or MSAA? ›

The results show, as expected, that FXAA is the least resource intensive, while MSAA and TXAA cause a significant drop in average framerate over no anti-aliasing.

Is 4x anti-aliasing good? ›

As it turns out, 2x MSAA is good, 4x MSAA is great, and 8x MSAA is superlative when it comes to removing aliasing artifacts from the edges of polygons.

What is Ssaa vs MSAA? ›

The key difference between MSAA and SSAA arises in the latter half of the pipeline. While SSAA applies the pixel shader to each pixel 2x or 4x, MSAA only executes the pixel shader once every pixel.

Is anti-aliasing good for FPS? ›

Is anti-aliasing good for FPS? Anti- aliasing will improve graphics at the cost of fps. U get smoother edges and less jagged edges.


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