• Steam recently changed the default privacy settings for all users. This may impact tracking. Ensure your profile has the correct settings by following the guide on our forums.

Morphological Anti-Aliasing; Super Cheap AA Coming to your AMD 5x and 6x series cards

Because when it comes to jaggy edges, MSAA, CFAA, CSAA and SSAA sometimes isn't enough.

MLAA is a new technique of full scene anti-aliasing which boasts exceptionally small performance costs for a large jump in image quality.

The process works on locating high-contrast edges, which is usually a sign of anti-aliasing, and blends the colours to smooth the overall image. This affects textures as well, like SSAA. This technique helps in reducing aliasing, while maintaining some of the crispness of the image with a low performance cost to boot.

This also requires no application modification to work; all DirectX 9 and above applications will work with MLAA. Meaning, titles which cannot use MSAA can now use this technique to improve image quality.

The low performance cost is the real gem of this technique, providing AA on lesser powered GPUs. The recent PS3 title, God of War 3 used MLAA, which allowed for both crisp and beautiful graphics on the limited hardware.

Quality wise, it isn't up to scratch as MSAA goes, but compared to CFAA and other EdgeAA techniques which work on blurring edges, it is a vast improvement. However, as not just polygons are subjected to this, it has a habit of deforming GUI elements, most noticeable on text.

It's a feature touted for the upcoming 6x series GPUs, but can be enabled in 5x series GPUs. You'll need to use some modified 10.10a drivers, check out the Geeks3D link below to see how.

Further Reading:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-6870-radeon-hd-6850-barts,2776-4.html
http://www.geeks3d.com/20101023/tips-what-is-the-morphological-anti-aliasing-mlaa/
http://www.iryokufx.com/mlaa/
http://www.realtimerendering.com/blog/morphological-antialiasing/

---------- Post added at 07:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:01 PM ----------

Here's hoping nVidia coughs up some competition to this, as apart from CSAA, nVidia pales in comparison the work AMD are putting into Anti-aliasing.

No doubt i'm contemplating a 6x series for an upcoming upgrade.
 

x3sphere

Administrator
Staff member
Enforcer Team
A recent driver update actually brought this to the 5 series as well. It's awesome stuff. It's like SSAA without the huge performance hit.
 

Adiuvo

Active Member
How much of a drop does it generally give when enabled? I was planning on going nVidia for my next card but this will probably change that.
 
It's apparently miniscule, 10x less than traditional MSAA.

The Tom's Hardware link showed a comparison with Starcraft 2, One frame was lost when MLAA was activated (Min 21 fps), whereas using 4x MSAA incurred a massive hit. (Min 12 fps).

That example shows the benefit for applications which aren't optimised to use MSAA, as it's a post-processing effect. So even deferred shader titles can still use this.

It can also be used alongside MSAA for ultimate smoothness.
 

LocutusEstBorg

Contributor
This is a big fat lie/rumor. Any legit review will tell you the performance hit is between 4x MSAA and 8xMSAA but with higher image quality then 8xMSAA. Basically its not usable on high resolution without Crossfire in newer games.

There are early graphs which show a 1-2FPS drop but they are WRONG. Something screwed up there at the time.
 

x3sphere

Administrator
Staff member
Enforcer Team
This is a big fat lie/rumor. Any legit review will tell you the performance hit is between 4x MSAA and 8xMSAA but with higher image quality then 8xMSAA. Basically its not usable on high resolution without Crossfire in newer games.

There are early graphs which show a 1-2FPS drop but they are WRONG. Something screwed up there at the time.
Yeah, between 4xMSAA and 8xMSAA is about right... I find it's quite useful in games with heavy shader aliasing. It's usable in any console port, even @ 2560x1600 on a single 6970. More demanding titles like Crysis, Metro, or STALKER are out of the question though. At least at max settings.
 
Top