At the early days of PC 3D gaming and the evolution of 3D graphics applications, video cards are powerful enough to process graphics at good speeds. Then as technology improved over the years, anti-aliasing started to become a staple in terms of increasing the graphics quality of a 3D image. This is mostly associated with 3D gaming graphics since playing games with very good quality is one of the top preferences of most PC gamers. More video cards feature the ability to perform anti-aliasing, and now, majority of the pc graphics cards in the market have anti-aliasing capabilities.
Well, what is anti-aliasing anyway? Basically, it smoothens the images, most specifically the outlines. This is what we see when we turn anti-alias on. Let’s say you have a 3D sphere on your screen. Without anti-aliasing, the outline of the sphere will look jagged (hence, the term jaggies) and it doesn’t really look like a circle when you take a closer look since you see broken lines instead of an actual curve. But with anti-aliasing on, you’ll notice that the outline becomes a lot smoother and it will really look like a curve rather than just broken lines. Take a look at the 2 pictures I attached. The anti-aliased image looks much smoother and the curves look more like a curve than the other.
Well, anti-aliasing takes its toll on your system especially if you play newer pc games. Although you can turn it on, the graphics will look finer but it may slow down your gaming speed. If you have a high-end system (let’s say at the time of writing, an Intel i7 processor, NVIDIA GTX295, 4GB DDR3 Memory or more, top of the line motherboard, well you get the picture), you can turn everything on and you will most likely experience excellent frame rates even if the graphics quality is at its highest possible setting. But of course, if you have a slower PC, you could turn down the resolution, image quality, and turn off anti-aliasing altogether. As for me, I can turn on anti-aliasing for some games but for most, they run slowly even without it.
Just remember that your PC’s 3D graphics performance will mostly rely on your graphics card. If you have a fast system but a low end video card, the graphics will most likely slow down a lot. On the other hand, if you have a low end system but a very good video card, you may experience better frame rates and good image quality. But again, I would suggest that you get a system that is powerful enough (in all aspects: processor, motherboard/platform, memory, video card, etc) or at least in the mid-range performance.
Another question would be do you need anti-aliasing? Well, it depends. As for me, I don’t really need it. As long as I could play the games smoothly, that’s fine. I’ll probably try it with anti-aliasing on and if the frame rates are still high, I’ll probably leave it on. But for hardcore gamers, most of the time, they won’t settle for anything less than optimal performance, excellent image quality and anti-aliasing at the highest possible setting. That’s all for the basic information about anti-aliasing.
Anti-aliasing – Wikipedia