Searching for a new graphics card used to be much more straightforward. You could simply select the resolution you wanted to play at and see how the competition stacked up. Native resolution remains the golden standard for performance and image quality, but image upscaling and upsampling is all the rage these days. Nvidia ignited the modern trend with its Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology, but now AMD, Intel, and even the Unreal Engine are getting into the action, rendering games at lower resolution (and thus at higher frame rates) before using software tricks to upscale the final image to your screen's resolution. But how do you measure the subjective quality of each competing option?
As promised (and after months of teasers), AMD is unleashing FidelityFX Super Resolution upon the world on Tuesday, promising substantial frame rate boosts in PC games that support the image upscaling technology. AMD's answer to Nvidia's killer DLSS differs from the GeForce feature in some crucial ways, however, and that's driven home by how FidelityFX Super Resolution is hitting the streets. Zero games supported DLSS when Nvidia kicked off the RTX 20-series generation in September 2018. In contrast, FidelityFX Super Resolution is launching with not one, not two, but seven compatible games today, with many more slated to launch by the end of the year. Also, DLSS remains limited to pricey RTX-branded GeForce cards with dedicated tensor cores inside.
AMD finally took the wraps off its FidelityFX Super Resolution feature during its Computex 2021 keynote on Monday night. The company promised up to twice your GPU's native performance when you need extra gaming firepower (like when you activate ray tracing, for example) and the ability to make most recent graphics cards even faster in supported games--even if you're running a GeForce GPU. The feature's open nature makes it a huge deal to all PC gamers--not just Radeon owners--during a time when nobody can buy graphics cards at sane prices. Free extra performance when you're struggling to make do with an older GPU will certainly prove welcome indeed. It also drives home AMD's ongoing commitment to more open standards that benefit the wider PC community, following in the footsteps of other AMD initiatives like FreeSync monitors and GPU Open.
In the war to prove who's better at high-resolution gaming performance, Nvidia on Monday added three more allies: Rust, Doom Eternal and Lego Builder's Journey are joining the more than 55 other games to support its DLSS technology. The company also said Linux gamers would soon get access to DLSS through Proton for Vulkan. DLSS, or Deep Learning Super Sampling, taps the AI Tensor cores on Nvidia's 2000- and 3000-series GPUs to render games at a lower resolution, with comparable visual quality when increased to a higher resolution. We've tried DLSS, and it's like black magic. The company said that starting June 22, Linux gamers can download the Nvidia Linux Driver and enable Proton by going into steam to get DLSS in such games as Doom Eternal, No Man's Sky and Wolfenstein Youngblood.