NVIDIA Multi-Frame Sampled Anti-Aliasing (MFAA) Performance on GTX 970

Jump To:

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

We are glad to see that NVIDIA has finally releasaed MFAA (Multi-Frame Sampled Anti-Aliasing) as we first learned about it months ago when the GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 video cards were revealed to the world. The technology looks solid, but we were a bit dissapointed to learn that only 20 game titles are able to support MFAA.  It must be pretty time consuming to get the drivers optimized for MFAA as one would think that more games would have been supported especially NVIDIA game titles like Far Cry 4 that comes out today. That said, this is the first driver release to enable MFAA and we were able to see a significant improvement in performance and even graphics quality with MFAA when we compared to MSAA.


Across the three games we tested we saw double digit increase in performance on our ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 970 video card when running the games at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and MFAA.  Battlefield 4 received the highest boost in performance of 22%, while Far Cry 3 received around 18%.  Crysis 3, the most graphic intensive game of the three received a 15% FPS increase.  The only thing that changed on our system was the AA mode and getting that type of increase in performance without needing to update the games is pretty incredible. NVIDIA tells us that with a Maxwell enabled GPU, when games become CPU bound, MFAA will still increase the image quality beyond the maximum setting.

Legit Bottom Line:  MFAA looks to increase the graphics quality while reducing the system performance impact.  Receiving a boost to FPS by over 10% is almost like getting an updated graphics card just by updating your driver and changing the AA mode.  Hopefully NVIDIA can keep the driver updates coming to implement MFAA in more games quickly, making the Maxwell GPU even more appealing than it already is.

Jump To:
  • Zach B.

    While the screenshots are appreciated, they are kinda useless at 645×363. Would love uncompressed samples of at least 1920×1080 to better compare them in their more “natural” state.

    • Adrian Alberto Rojas Fortique

      Well in reality since this is pretty much the same as old AMD’s temporal AA a screenshot wouldn’t be helpful, you need a gif or animated png. The rate of change of the gif or png should be set to around the same as the average fps produced ingame so you can appreciate if it is good enough for an actual AA effect or if instead it produces the effect of shimmering borders.

      • Seth Hoke

        How is this the same as AMDs temporal AA? Its just a different method of MSAA, as in it doesn’t sample from a uniform predefined grid. Its more random, cheaper, and does a pretty good job.

        • Adrian Alberto Rojas Fortique

          It is the same because it moves through the same set of differently sample patterns, let’s say that all even frames go through sampling pattern A, all the odds go through sampling pattern B, the mix that our brains do of staring 1/60th of a second of sampling pattern A followed by a 1/60th of sampling pattern B is what gives the extra Antialiasing effect, you would do well reading very carefully how this works because yes it is the exact same thing, and look up all the negatives of this “new” MFAA and you will realize that it has the exact same negatives. Google some really old tom’s hardware articles if you are interested in the negatives.

        • Adrian Alberto Rojas Fortique

          Btw it isn’t more random, it is exactly the same as the other one, to do MFAA 4X you take your MSAA 4x sampling positions, and use it 2 and 2, a set is used for odd frames the other for even frames, you need a minimum framerate for the effect to work, you need vsynch, and can’t screenshot it since it is a dynamic effect.

          Also just as in the old version you have to directly program it game to game.