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ATI wasn't lying about the performance hit using AA in SC2

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 4, 2010 3:29:12 PM

So as some of you may or may not know, ATI recently released drivers 10.7a, which provides support for forcing antialiasing in StarCraft 2.

I downloaded it and ran 4xAA. The game played fine and certainly looked a bit better (mostly noticeable if zooming in), while the inter-mission parts on the Hyperion were noticeably cleaner looking - for example the TV in the Cantina has noticeable aliasing going on due to it's awkward angle, and it almost completely eliminates that.

However, after a mission I alt tabbed to Afterburner which I left the graph running in the background. The GPU usage was 99% on both my OCed 5850s, and my frame rates were between 25-35 FPS during gameplay! Compared to needing Vsync to cap at 60 so my cards don't go crazy, and then only using maybe 80% usage, that's a huge hit. I guess they'll work on optimizing it for that game but at the time being, I can't see anyone with even "good" midrange cards using AA in SC2.

Obviously it's not a "big deal" but at the same time, it's hard to imaging SC2 putting such a hurting on high end GPUs just by enabling AA.

I tried 8xAA but that just killed it, the game became stuttery. With the framerate I acheived the game is completely playable since it's an RTS, but seriously it's crazy how hard of a hit you take with AA on.
August 4, 2010 3:35:30 PM

Since both nVidia and ATI now have drivers out that can force AA, does that leave an option for blizzard to release an update to implement it in game via software which wont take as large of a performance hit? Im unsure if they would need to do who new models or if it would just be a minor engine tweak to enable AA, if they could that would be nice because i would love to try it on my 4850, but i know it would get destroyed by the performance hit.
August 4, 2010 5:10:00 PM

It would be nice. If AA only occured on unit models and such but not terrain it would probably greatly reduce the performance hit. In the ship parts, my FPS was fine I think mostly around 60fps, but it's just the gameplay itself that really suffers the big performance drop. It's hard to believe an RTS can kill performance so bad with 4xAA when playing other games I can easily do 4 or even 8xAA without problems.
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