NVIDIA Issue GeForce 344.75 WHQL Game Ready Drivers, Enabling MFAA

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅18.11.2014 10:13:17




Get the best possible out of your NVIDIA GPU in Far Cry 4


This morning NVIDIA are releasing their latest driver ahead of a trio of new titles from Ubisoft and EA, ensuring that your gameplay is as trouble-free as they can make it from day one. Featuring enhanced support in the GeForce 344.75 WHQL driver package are Far Cry 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition and The Crew - three major titles due for release in the coming weeks both here and Worldwide.

Those who have invested in the latest GTX 900-series Maxwell graphics architecture also get an added bonus however - NVIDIA's brand new Anti-Aliasing technique. Dubbed Multi-Frame Sampled Anti-Aliasing, or MFAA for short, it seeks to provide the image quality of MSAA but at a much lower performance cost.

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Multi-Frame Sampled Anti-Aliasing is the latest in a long line of optimised anti-aliasing techniques introduced by NVIDIA after graphics vendors collectively seemed to come to the conclusion that traditional techniques (MSAA among them) were insufficient to the task. The most well known is perhaps FXAA - Fast Approximate Anti Aliasing - which whilst 'good' isn't quite 'good enough' for many high-end gamers. More recently TXAA - an 'over time' technique - made a splash. Now something new takes its place in the sun.



As the name suggests MFAA is a post-processing anti-aliasing technique which operates by analysing a frame within the context of the previous frame, checking aliasing and rendering colours based on a proprietary algorithm in hardware. The algorithm's foundation is multi-pixel programmable sampling, a means by which the matrix of sampling positions can be randomised to reduce data processing artefacts caused by repeating the same sample position from frame-to-frame (a known weakness of MSAA).

Whilst MSAA increases rendering overhead quite dramatically MFAA makes use of work already done on the previous frame, shaving off some of the most intensive portions of anti-aliasing. Performance-wise it should in theory be a net win, but comes at a cost.



This feature is exclusive to Maxwell (i.e. the GTX 980, 970, 980M and 970M) due to some necessary underlying hardware adaptations. Typically (in previous generation GPUs) aliasing sampling patterns are fixed in ROM, and hence are pretty much immutable. By utilising RAM instead Maxwell can change up the sample positions on the fly, essential for MFAA and also potentially unlocking other new forms of anti-aliasing down the pipeline.

The performance improvements are of course pronounced, there would be no reason to do it otherwise. Based on quality parity between MFAA and MSAA at x2, x4 and x8, MFAA is anticipated to outperform MSAA by 10-30%. NVIDIA's internal benchmarks peg the figure at approximately 20% averaged across seven titles, exhibited on both the GTX 980 and GTX 970.

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Twenty titles, ranging from old favourites through to the newest blockbuster, support MFAA via the NVIDIA Control Panel, whilst it's hoped that additional titles will be supported over time. To enable MFAA simply open the 3D Setting option window in NVIDIA Control Panel, navigate down to Multi-Frame Sampled AA (MFAA) and set it to on. The driver will auto-detect a supported game and render accordingly.



Titles supporting MFAA with GeForce 344.75 WQHL drivers

- Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag
- DiRT Showdown
- Hitman: Absolution
- Assassin's Creed: Unity
- F1 2013
- Just Cause 2
- Battlefield 4
- F1 2014
- Saints Row IV
- Civilization V
- Far Cry 3
- Splinter Cell: Blacklist
- Civilization: Beyond Earth
- Far Cry: Blood Dragon
- Titanfall
- Crysis 3
- GRID 2
- Wargame: European Escalation
- DiRT 3
- GRID Autosport


The GeForce Experience app will support MFAA tweaking options soon. As usual you can download the drivers from http://www.geforce.com/drivers or perform an in-line installation with the GeForce Experience App (if installed).

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