AA not so important on laptop screens?


Feb 18, 2013
I heard this from Linus(NCIX) in one of his videos comparing 2 gaming laptops, where he basically said that AA didn't really matter that much on laptop screens since quote : "when gaming in a notebook, we're pretty much using a high density low size display".

Would u agree with this? & if so, how many more FPS will I gain by turning off AA?



Diamond Member
Jul 7, 2008
"when gaming in a notebook, we're pretty much using a high density low size display".

Would u agree with this?
This isn't the case for every laptop. If you're gaming on a cheap 15.6" unit with a meager 1366x768 resolution, I would not consider that a "high density low size display". 1920x1080, on the other hand, would be much higher density, and would validate NCIX's statement. So it really depends on the laptop.

how many more FPS will I gain by turning off AA?
This is a vague question with no definitive answer. It depends entirely on the game, and it also depends on the type of AA being used. The performance in some newer games is essentially cut in half when turning up AA, whereas in others, it has very little effect on the framerate (MSAA vs. FXAA).

If you ask about a specific game, I could give you a more detailed answer.


Diamond Member
Jul 7, 2008
^ Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3's built-in option for MSAA is quite detrimental to performance, yes; and cranking it up to 4x or 8x will cause your framerate to drop massively.

Have you played the game for yourself to see how it performs? If you're having performance problems in any game, AA should be the first thing you turn off (IMO). When I play Far Cry 3, I have MSAA turned off with everything else set to high-ultra, and it still looks great at 1080p. Runs very smoothly too.

One of the reasons it still looks good is because Far Cry 3 has a hard-coded implementation of FXAA, which is kind of a "lite" version of AA that isn't as intensive as MSAA, but still helps smooth out the jaggies.

Generally speaking, AA isn't worth the performance hit most of the time.
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Senior member
Oct 17, 2005
In a lot of modern games I find AA less and less useful. There's a lot less rectangular geometry where jaggies really jump out at you. Sure, it still helps even on curved geometry and wires, but it's nowhere near as prevalent. When we were gaming at 1280x720 on a 19" display back in the day, jaggies were awful. While pixel density hasn't improved as much as I'd hoped, it's pretty good on most gaming laptops nowadays.

Ultimately it's user/game dependent on whether AA is worth the performance hit for you. It's pretty easy to turn it on and off and just see whether you like it or not. For me, I turn it off on when I play any multiplayer games and might leave it on for a single player game, but to each his own.


Diamond Member
Mar 15, 2007
It really depends on how far away from the screen you are while gaming. While laptops might have smaller screens with higher PPI they also tend to be viewed from a lot closer. The grand majority of laptops actually have larger pixels as seen by the player in comparison to the average desktop gamer. You need to worry about PPD not PPI.

So I suspect its not true that AA isn't useful, its likely more necessary than with a desktop because the pixels are larger at the optimal viewing distance. Of course you don't have the performance in the mobile GPU to turn it on anyway so the point is mute. Laptops just aren't good high end gaming machines, the screens tend to be poor for games with lots of motion blur etc and its all made worse by all those low power parts.
Feb 4, 2009
In game, not game pictures. I can't really tell the difference between AA and no AA. personally I don't think it's important at all.

Red Hawk

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2011
It's arguably more important on laptop screens, as laptops screens tend to be lower resolution, like 1366x768 or 1600x900. Yes, pixel density may be higher than a larger desktop monitor, but you're also generally sitting closer to the screen.


Aug 23, 2007
What matters is the pixel density per unit of area on your retina. So if you sit closer to the laptop and it cancels out the density advantage, yes you still need AA
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