If you are a gamer or technology fanatic, you certainly heard of TAA and FXAA graphic enhancements. Both have a significant impact on modern video game graphics, so today, we are going to touch on the subject of TAA vs. FXAA and talk about which one is better.
TAA refers to Temporal Anti-Aliasing and is an algorithm that applies anti-aliasing methods in a way that reduces visual noise. On the other hand, we have FXAA, which stands for Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing, and it uses bloom filters to approximate anti-aliased textures, and it generally offers faster performance than its TAA counterpart. However, there is much more to this subject than just a raw definition, and we are going to go in-depth about it in this article. There is a lot to cover, so let us start without further delay.
Information About TAA and FXAA
In order to determine which anti-aliasing method is better, we need to first introduce both and explain thoroughly what each represents and does. In the section below, you will find an in-depth analysis of both anti-aliasing methods.
Temporal Anti-Aliasing Explained
TAA is an anti-aliasing method that uses information from the framebuffer’s prior frames to analyze the aliasing and apply anti-aliasing techniques in order to remove the “ruggedness” of the image.
Although it offers various advantages over the FXAA method, it takes quite a lot of your GPU’s memory to store the data from prior frames, which, overall, makes it a much more resource-heavy process.
This technology uses multiple samples it receives per pixel from different frames and uses these bits of information to create an anti-aliased version of the pixel. Even though TAA exerts more processing power than FXAA, it takes up significantly fewer resources than some other anti-aliasing methods that are available.
When TAA is enabled, you will be much less susceptible to artifacts than with FXAA since it uses data from multiple frames. For those that do not know, artifacts are caused by a corruption in the spatial encoding of objects outside the FOV which cannot be distinguished from objects inside the FOV.
The only downsides are that if you are using a cheaper, low-end graphics card, you should expect performance hits with TAA, and it will produce slight blurriness, so we recommend turning it down either in the game or your GPU’s software settings to get the best results.
Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing Explained
Unlike some conventional anti-aliasing methods, FXAA applies aliasing to the on-screen pixels after your GPU renders the scene rather than smoothing out the edges of each line or polygon from the scene. All of this provides two important advantages.
The first one is that pixel-by-pixel anti-aliasing considers jaggies inside of the render polygons that typically get overlooked by other methods that smoothen them before the rendering process.
The second is that being a simple pass filter, it has a low memory consumption, which significantly frees up that precious space that can provide you with better performance. This is particularly significant for lower-end graphic cards with lower amounts of video RAM.
However, FXAA is not without flaws. Applying a filter throughout the screen can be done for excessive blurring in areas like the text and HUD if the game does not support it. You will probably also notice a reduction in sharpness which is a result of the filter causing a higher blur concentration in order to reduce the jaggies.
It is also important to note that FXAA’s method, in which it applies the anti-aliasing filter, is independent of the prior scenes, which creates issues such as crawling and artifacts slipping past to create the final image.
In comparison, TAA manages to correct this by comparing the current frame to the prior before it finally applies the anti-aliasing effect. FXAA also often overlooks a good number of jaggies that form parts of very complex shades, which is an expected result, seeing that it does not analyze the actual model.
Generally speaking, FXAA is a fast and intelligent method for getting anti-aliasing without overburdening your graphics card. Most modern games pack it as a default setting, considering the negligible amount of resources required to run it. Same as TAA, FXAA can be controlled through the game and through your graphics card’s software in the settings section.
Benefits and Drawbacks That Both Bring to the Table
Both of these anti-aliasing methods come with lots of benefits, and what typically makes the difference when opting for either is the PC rig one possesses.
TAA is a great choice if you are looking for a high-quality anti-aliasing solution. This effectively reduces aliasing without making sacrifices in terms of performance and the overall quality of the image.
On the other hand, we have FXAA, which is a fantastic choice if you are looking for fast and efficient anti-aliasing. Although it is not the same in terms of quality as TAA, it will be much quicker.
As far as the drawbacks go, TAA will do a better job at smoothing out edges, but this will sometimes result in a blurring effect. On the other hand, FXAA offers weaker performance in terms of smoothing out edges, but it will not cause as much blurring as TAA.
TAA vs. FXAA: Which One to Pick for My Gaming?
The answer to this question will often depend on the game you want to play. For instance, if you plan to play a fast-paced game with a lot of movement, TAA might be the right option for you to choose.
On the flip side, for games that are slow in pace and do not have many dynamic movements, FXAA might be the right choice. Ultimately, you will have to decide on your own what works better for the particular game you are playing.
If you want to play fast-paced FPS titles like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Counter-Strike Global Offensive, or PUBG, you should definitely opt for FXAA over TAA. It is a better option, considering the minimal load on the GPU, and it will provide faster performance, which FPS gamers constantly chase.
Games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 or Cyberpunk 2077, with huge open worlds and tons of tiny details and visuals, will benefit more from the TAA setup. This is, of course, only the case if you have an excellent GPU that can take a punch from these types of modern games.
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). However, TAA can also introduce some blurring and ghosting effects, which can be noticeable in certain situations.
SMAA is also effective at reducing aliasing artifacts and can provide a crisper image than TAA, but it can be more computationally expensive and may not work as well in certain situations.
FXAA is the fastest of the three techniques and requires less computational power, but it can also produce some blurring and may not be as effective at reducing aliasing as TAA or SMAA.
Does TAA increase FPS?
While TAA can provide a significant improvement in image quality, it typically comes at a cost of decreased performance, which can result in a lower frame rate (FPS).
The computational power required to implement TAA can be significant, as it involves analyzing multiple frames and blending them together to create a smoother image. As a result, enabling TAA can often lead to a reduction in FPS, especially on lower-end hardware.
However, the actual impact on FPS can vary depending on the specific implementation of TAA and the hardware being used. In some cases, TAA may have a minimal impact on performance, while in others, it may result in a significant decrease in FPS.
Should I keep FXAA on?
If you have lower-end hardware or are struggling to maintain a high frame rate (FPS) in a particular game, disabling FXAA may help improve performance. On the other hand, if you prioritize image quality and have more powerful hardware, you may prefer to keep FXAA on or experiment with other anti-aliasing techniques.
Is TAA anti-aliasing CPU or GPU?
The GPU is responsible for rendering the graphics in video games and other graphics-intensive applications. TAA involves analyzing multiple frames and blending them together to create a smoother image, which is a computationally intensive process. The GPU is better suited to handle these types of tasks, as it is optimized for parallel processing and can perform many calculations simultaneously.
While the CPU is involved in some aspects of graphics processing, such as managing the overall game logic and handling physics calculations, it is not typically involved in the implementation of anti-aliasing techniques like TAA.
In summary, TAA is a GPU-based anti-aliasing technique that is implemented on the graphics card rather than the CPU.
How Do I Turn Off Nvidia FXAA?
To turn off Nvidia FXAA, you can follow these steps:
- Open the Nvidia Control Panel. You can usually find it by right-clicking on your desktop and selecting “Nvidia Control Panel” from the context menu.
- Click on “Manage 3D settings” in the left-hand pane.
- In the right-hand pane, scroll down until you see the “Antialiasing – FXAA” option.
- Click on the drop-down menu next to “Antialiasing – FXAA” and select “Off”.
- Click on “Apply” in the bottom right-hand corner of the window to save your changes.
After completing these steps, Nvidia FXAA should be turned off and your graphics should appear without any FXAA anti-aliasing. It’s important to note that this option may not be available in all games or applications, as it depends on the specific implementation of anti-aliasing in each one.
What Is Anisotropic FXAA?
Anisotropic FXAA (Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing) is a graphics technique that combines two different anti-aliasing methods: anisotropic filtering and FXAA.
Anisotropic filtering is a technique used to improve the texture quality of distant objects in 3D graphics. It works by enhancing the clarity and sharpness of textures when viewed at an angle, reducing blur and visual artifacts. However, anisotropic filtering can also create aliasing artifacts, such as jagged edges, which is where FXAA comes in.
By combining anisotropic filtering and FXAA, Anisotropic FXAA can provide both the texture sharpness of anisotropic filtering and the anti-aliasing benefits of FXAA. This results in a smoother, clearer image with reduced aliasing artifacts.
This is a popular anti-aliasing technique in video games and is often used as an alternative to other anti-aliasing methods, such as MSAA (Multisample Anti-Aliasing) and TAA (Temporal Anti-Aliasing). However, it may not be supported in all games or applications and may not provide the same level of image quality as other techniques in certain situations.
Can I Use The Four Types Of Antialiasing Together?
It is not possible to use all four types of anti-aliasing (TAA, SMAA, FXAA, and MSAA) together at the same time, as each technique operates in a different way and may conflict with each other.