AMD’s Got Their Own Upscaling Tech to Compete With Nvidia’s DLSS

Sam Byford, for The Verge:

AMD has announced that FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), its super sampling technique that should boost performance and image quality in supported games, will launch on June 22nd. The company gave a presentation at Computex Taipei today with more information on the feature, though it’s still not clear just how effective it’ll be.

It’s good that AMD is aiming for feature parity for their cards, and even making this technology available to older Nvidia cards that don’t support DLSS is awesome.

More incredible to me is that both of these technologies, FSR and DLSS, are designed to work around a lack of processing power in the graphics cards and chipsets from Nvidia and AMD to provide a better graphical experience when the hardware couldn’t otherwise keep up at high resolutions. Consoles have been adding these upscaling technologies for a few years, so it makes sense for the original companies to focus on it, but it still just wild how much technology and work has gone into features that specifically accommodate the low horsepower of modern home computing and rendering. it’s not just DLSS and FSR, the entire variable refresh rate technology space of FreeSync and Nvidia’s G-Sync for monitors is also designed to assist with providing a more enjoyable experience when the computer just can’t keep up with high refresh rates.

When DLSS works well, it’s great. You get a great framerate and a great apparent resolution for the game while it runs internally at a lower resolution using anti-aliasing, sharpening, and scaling. Unfortunately, Nvidia’s scaling solution isn’t open-source, and so that could be a huge advantage for AMD’s FSR if it is truly not encumbered and any engine and game can use the FSR solution if the developers have the time, documentation, knowledge, and interest to implement it. There are a very limited number of games that support DLSS (about 40 by this list on Wikipedia), and there are a number of iterations to DLSS so the best version, the latest version, of DLSS, isn’t supported with all of those games. To be fair, that’s only 6 of those supported games that are still on the 1.0 version of DLSS. Even worse are the games that said they would add support and haven’t. PUBG is on that list, so is Red Dead Redemption 2. More games need support for these scaling technologies and if FSR can reach more of them and does a good job of upscaling, that’s good.

It’s just a little disappointing that rendering capabilities for gaming haven’t kept up with display technologies. 4K gaming is really here with these scaling technologies and display technologies, but it just isn’t as fun as knowing the game is really running natively at that resolution. Scaling and refresh rate technologies are a little dishonest, but they’re for the best for now and help extend the life of the computers and video cards we buy to last longer when they wouldn’t otherwise be able to run  newer games.

Notably, No Man’s Sky recently became the first VR game to support DLSS and VR seems like a fantastic use-case for that technology. The more frames you can get in VR the less likely you are to make the player sick.

Author: Jack Slater

A Philadelphian living in Hawaii. If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting me on Patreon or Ko-Fi. You can follow or contact me on Twitter where I'm @NuclearSlater, via the contact page, or via e-mail to zjs@zacharyjackslater.com. Find out more about Nuclear Monster here.

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