A recent demo by Epic Games at the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco suggests that Nvidia's upcoming Kepler GPU could be faster than three GeForce GTX 580 graphics cards. An Nvidia blog post notes that the graphics in the Unreal Engine 3 tech demo are so advanced that it was recently regarded as a fringe demo and required no fewer than three GTX 580 cards to run.
The Samaritan demo is no doubt impressive but Epic Games vice president Mark Rein said that the team is able to get so much more out of the card that what was shown in Samaritan. Behind closed doors, Epic showed off the Unreal Engine 4, reportedly powered by a single Kepler GPU.
Epic Games unveiled the Samaritan demo at last year's GDC. The tech demo impressed onlookers as advanced rendering techniques smoothly tessellated and morphed facial features and created realistic scenes using three GTX 580 cards.
Kepler includes Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing (FXAA), an anti-aliasing technique designed to improve upon Multisample Anti-Aliasing (MSAA) that's commonly found in many games today. 4x MSAA in Samaritan's lighting pass consumed close to 500MB of GPU memory. As a shader-based technique, FXAA doesn't require additional memory which makes it much more performance friendly in the demo. The extra memory allows developers the option to reinvest it in additional textures or other niceties.
FXAA is also noticeably smoother than MSAA, as shown in the demo embedded above.