NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Review – GIGABYTE G1 Gaming
Boy, does Nvidia like to play with AA… It seems that once every two launches they also introduce a new AA mode, and this time it is the case of Multi-frame Sampled AA. What does it do? Well, first of all we all know what AA does and how it works. But we also know that 4x MSAA or 8x MSAA can really give a performance hit in some games even with the most powerful graphic cards. So Nvidia went on and developed a new way of AA in order to get a similar image quality with MSAA but for a much less performance cost.
How does that work? Well, it is not that complicated. Instead of multi sampling each frame, MFAA is a temporal effect, that takes into consideration what is happening in two consecutive frames. For instance, we have an example bellow which shows how MSAA 4x works and looks, and how MFAA 4x works and looks. MSAA 4x takes 4 samples for each pixel in order to properly define edges. According to the number and position of samples, a pixel can be black, white or grey. MFAA does the same but it uses only 2 samples per pixel, but it changes their position from one frame to the other. That means that in theory you will get a similar effect with MSAA 4x but with a performance hit comparable with that of MSAA 2x. This looked pretty convincing in Nvidia’s presentation, now I am curious how it will look in most games in real-life.
VXGI, or Voxel Global Illumination, is a bit more complicated but the final implications could drastically improve the way computer graphics is done. In laymen terms, VXGI uses a comnibation of voxels, pathtracing, ambient occlusion and diffuse and specular effects in order to simulate real time global illumination with dynamic geometry and lights. Basically, this is achieved by overlaying a voxel map over the scene, and using each voxel as a container for light intensity, color and direction. Again, we’ll see how this will work in new game engines.