Last Updated on September 14, 2020 by Scott Krager
With PC gaming, along with the hardware used for the gaming, evolving at breakneck speed, it is only fair to say that new and improved options are making their way into the market.
One such option is called the supersampling and for those who do not know, it has stirred up a lot of responses.
And while not all of them have been positive, supersampling is certainly a huge step in the right direction.
But the most important question is, what exactly is supersampling?
What is Super Sampling and How Does it Work?
Considering just how powerful even the affordable lineup of graphics cards is becoming, supersampling is a technique that has amassed massive popularity. The good thing about this technology is that it works to the best of hardware’s capacity.
However, what exactly is it?
Well, let’s suppose that you have a monitor that has a max native resolution of 1080p. Let’s suppose that you cannot go above that but you have a graphics card that is powerful enough to achieve higher resolution.
What supersampling does is that it renders the game at a higher resolution, let’s suppose that it does so at 1440p or at 4K, and once that is done, it scales the rendered game down to the monitor’s native resolution.
In the hindsight, it might sound like a waste of resources, but through supersampling, you get a lot of good things out of it.
Before the GPU hardware was powerful enough, this was achieved through the means of software. However, with the hardware now being powerful, it does not require anything like that at all.
What Are the Benefits of Supersampling?
Now you know what it actually is, the next part is understanding the benefits. Sure, your GPU will now have to work harder than it did before, but what are the advantages that you are getting out of it? Well, there are a number of them, to begin with.
To make things clearer, we should have a look at them below.
- Higher Detail: The first benefit that cannot be ignored is higher detailing in the games. Do not get me wrong, 1080p is a good and mainstream resolution. But despite that, it is showing its age, and people are realizing that they want a taste of higher resolutions. While supersampling does not give you the same taste, it makes the experience better by increasing the details.
- Reduced Aliasing: Another benefit here is that by using supersampling, the aliasing is drastically reduced. However, it largely depends on how games react to supersampling. You see, with some games, the supersampling might end up being too aggressive, which smoothens down the edges a bit too much. However, games and hardware are both improving.
- Fewer Artifacts: At lower resolutions, there are chances of artifacts when it comes to lighting and another general rendering. Do not worry, there is nothing wrong with the graphics card, it is just the way the games are built. However, with supersampling, you get a lot fewer artifacts, especially when it comes to lighting artifacts.
The Downsides of Super Sampling
Obviously, the benefits of supersampling are certainly there. However, let’s not forget that there are some downsides as well. These downsides exist on both the hardware and software side of things, so it is not something that we can blame on just one factor.
With that said, we are going to mention some of the downsides below.
- Performance Impact: Unless you have a graphics card that can handle the impact of supersampling, using this technology is only going to make the performance drop. The reason behind that is simple. Instead of rendering the game at a native resolution, the game gets rendered at a higher resolution, increasing the impact on performance as well.
- Support: While the feature is built right into the Nvidia and AMD graphic cards, the issue mainly arises in the form of how games support it. Sure, you can pretty much super sample your way through every game but based on the game’s engine, there can be some discrepancies. For instance, some games might have a blurred image or over-sharpening.
So, there you have it, the downsides of technology known as supersampling. Now the thing here is that if you have the graphics card powerful enough to handle it, you should definitely turn on the feature. However, do make sure that the game does not deter away from the actual quality and fidelity of the graphics.
In conclusion, the one thing that can be said about supersampling is that it certainly is a nice technology that requires more maturing. It works great at the moment, and the performance impact is slowly diminishing thanks to the graphics card is more and more powerful.
However, there is still room for improvements that are required from both the hardware and software side of things. Rest assured, you can turn on supersampling in both Nvidia, and AMD graphic cards, and you would be good to go.
If you have an RTX series GPU, you might get the chance to use DLSS, which is deep learning supersampling that uses even more advanced technology to render the game at a higher resolution, and apparently, improve performance in some areas as well.