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Tessellation, ​Anti-Aliasing, And Other PC Graphics Terms, Explained

You've successfully made a new gaming PC. Congrats! It was the best, and it was also the worst. (But in general, it was the best.) Now, it's time to play some games. What's the first thing you do?


Well, the first thing you do is probably download a few games. But once you fire one of those games up, you almost certainly go into the graphics settings and begin tweaking.

GameSpot's Reality Check has run the first of two videos helpfully explaining what all those various settings—MLAA, FXAA, Vsync, Tessellation—actually mean for your games, using visual aids to help explain each concept. I'm looking forward to part 2.


Also worth checking out: This Lifehacker article that breaks down a whole bunch more PC graphics stuff.

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It still weirds me out on some graphic settings they don't all come with warnings of their performance impacts. Just something like (light) (heavy) or (very heavy) would be helpful to quicken the process of someone knowing if any feature is making the game run significantly worse. Would go a long way toward people who turn everything down, when just knocking down some high AA setting would solve the problem. Also, it would take one guy like an hour to figure out, and then add in the text.

The video does highlight my favorite aspect of 4k gaming, where AA isn't even really needed anymore, or in greatly diminished capacity if you care alot.

Even though I prefer Nvidia GPUs, I hope adaptive-sync does take over, as everyone could benefit from that versus just a sector of monitors that will include nvidia's closed standard g-sync. Anything to make the gameplay more seamless is a win in my book.