AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution Game Upscaling: Can It Really Make Games Run Faster on Any GPU?

Until the launch of the Radeon RX 6000 {series} earlier this yr, AMD’s Radeon GPUs weren’t precisely aggressive with Nvidia’s top-end GeForce RTX {series}. Performance was typically not pretty much as good, and there was no assist for ray tracing, the recent new know-how that everybody’s speaking about. It takes a mixture of {hardware} and software program to not solely carry out ray tracing, but in addition compensate for the pressure it places on a GPU. Now that the purple crew has lastly delivered the sort of {hardware} that followers need, it is time to fill within the lacking items of the technique – and AMD is asking it FidelityFX Super Resolution, or FSR.

AMD FSR upscaling: Two opponents, two methods

Ray tracing in PC video games has been round for a couple of years now, with Nvidia taking a decisive lead over AMD with the discharge of its GeForce RTX 20 {series} graphics playing cards in late 2018. While adoption has been gradual and restricted in scope, the distinction it could make in graphics high quality is de facto beginning to change into a purpose for folks to need to improve from older {hardware}. You can now get rather more realistic-looking lighting results, shadows, reflections, explosions, and extra in video games.

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This does come at an enormous price to efficiency – enabling ray tracing could cause body charges to plummet. Nvidia addressed this challenge by launching DLSS, or Deep Learning Super Sampling, on the similar time that it rolled out ray tracing. What this does is enable video games to be rendered at decrease resolutions within the background, which reduces the burden on the GPU. That output is then upscaled in realtime utilizing devoted machine studying {hardware} and algorithms to match the unique goal decision. To the gamer, there needs to be little to no drop in visible high quality, which you’d in any other case need to reside with after decreasing the decision.

By decreasing the load on the GPU this manner, its energy could be diverted to issues like ray tracing, and even with out that, these with lower-end {hardware} can expertise higher efficiency on bigger screens. DLSS is Nvidia’s proprietary know-how and works solely with GeForce RTX GPUs, which have to this point been comparatively costly.

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AMD lastly carried out ray tracing with its Radeon RX 6000 {series} earlier this yr, however with out an equal function, which meant there has to this point been no method to compensate for the efficiency drop. FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) is now right here to fill that hole. It’s a brand new function that builders can implement of their video games to realize the identical goal as DLSS. However, it does not require machine studying, particular coaching routines for every sport, or special-purpose logic inside the GPU. FSR as an alternative makes use of easy spatial picture upscaling, and for that purpose it really works on all kinds of {hardware}.

amd fsr pipeline amd

AMD says it is extraordinarily straightforward for sport builders to implement FSR

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FSR vs DLSS: Supported {hardware} and video games

While DLSS solely works with Nvidia’s premium GeForce RTX 20- and 30-series GPUs, FSR could be enabled on a variety of {hardware}, from Radeon GPUs going again so far as the Radeon RX 400 {series} to all Ryzen desktop and cell processors with onboard graphics – and sure, even Nvidia’s GeForce RTX in addition to GeForce GTX 16- and 10-series fashions. There’s even point out of the older GTX 900 {series} in some AMD documentation, indicating that it’d work. Intel’s built-in GPUs usually are not formally supported but, however ought to work, and its upcoming discrete gaming GPU will doubtless match into this panorama too.

There are at present dozens of video games that assist DLSS, together with a lot of at the moment’s most high-profile PC titles – Cyberpunk 2077, Crysis Remastered, Metro: Exodus, CoD: Black Ops Cold War, Watch Dogs: Legion, Control, Death Stranding, No Man’s Sky, Rainbox Six Siege, and even Fortnite. Support has very not too long ago been added to Doom Eternal and Red Dead Redemption 2, with extra new and previous video games added to the listing recurrently. There’s additionally integration with well-liked content material creation software program and sport engines. Clearly, DLSS has established a foothold.

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On the opposite hand, AMD launched FSR with solely seven video games– Godfall may be probably the most high-profile instance. The relaxation are Anno 1800, Terminator: Resistance, Kingshunt, 22 Racing Series, The Riftbreaker, and Evil Genius 2. Dota 2, Arcadegetton, and Necromunda: Hired Gun not too long ago acquired patches enabling FSR, bringing the whole as much as 10. A couple of extra are confirmed to launch or add assist quickly, together with Far Cry 6, Resident Evil Village, Myst, Baldur’s Gate 3, and Farming Simulator 22.

An enormous variety of sport builders and studios are additionally on board and have launched statements praising FSR, together with EA, Ubisoft, Capcom, Warner Bros Games, Valve, Nixxes, and Crystal Dynamics. On high of that, AMD’s current-gen RDNA2 Radeon structure can be utilized in current-gen sport consoles, the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5, the Google Stadia cloud service, the just-announced Steam Deck, and upcoming flagship-class Samsung Exynos SoCs with Radeon graphics as nicely. There are loads of conditions through which players will profit from improved efficiency, even when it is not compensating for ray tracing.

So regardless of a gradual begin, AMD has two huge benefits already – first, FSR is open supply, and second, a broad base of present {hardware} will work with it. Developers have little or no purpose to not implement it, contemplating that just about everybody can profit. FSR might very nicely find yourself being one thing we simply count on to see in each sport’s graphics choices panel.

Of course, what actually issues is how nicely all this works. There aren’t any video games that assist each DLSS and FSR in the mean time, so it is not attainable to pit these two options in opposition to one another. What we’re taking a look at at the moment is simply how a lot of a distinction FSR makes to efficiency, and whether or not the picture high quality tradeoffs are value it.

amd fsr support amd

Plenty of massive names within the gaming business have indicated that they are going to quickly assist FSR


AMD FSR: How it really works

AMD’s method to upscaling works solely inside the GPU shader pipeline, which suggests no devoted {hardware} is required. No AI coaching is required and no data from earlier frames is used to anticipate what wants to come back subsequent. Geometry does not should be rendered individually. FSR works primarily by figuring out the perimeters of objects in every body, reconstructing the body based mostly on these coordinates and intensities, after which sharpening the output. This merely turns into an additional step inserted partway by means of the rendering course of. AMD recommends that builders implement FSR after the tone mapping stage and earlier than making use of visible results.

Gamers needn’t do something particular to arrange FSR – no new drivers are wanted and there aren’t any GPU settings to be tweaked. It’s open supply, so there is no licensing barrier, and it’ll work throughout DirectX 11, DirectX 12, and Vulkan APIs. Unity and Unreal Engine will quickly have built-in assist. AMD formally says it ought to take lower than a day to implement FSR in a sport, relying on sport engine.

Developers can select the right way to current FSR choices to players inside their video games’ video high quality settings menus. The really helpful method is to supply 5 high quality settings: Native (FSR disabled), Ultra Quality, Quality, Balanced, and Performance. These decide the distinction between the render and goal resolutions, or in different phrases, the extent of scaling that will likely be required based mostly on how a lot you scale back the render decision. At Ultra Quality, scaling is just one.3X per axis, so in order for you 4K (3840×2160) output, the sport will truly be rendered at and upscaled from 2954×1662. If you slide all the way down to Performance mode, the sport will likely be rendered at 1920×1080 which suggests it is going to be upscaled 2X on every axis to get again to 4K on your display.

If your output decision is lower than 1080p, FSR may not make sense in any respect. It additionally requires Antialiasing to be set as excessive as attainable, because it depends on edge detection – you may see degraded picture high quality if this is not attainable. As for downsides, AMD says there’s just about no efficiency overhead – between 0.2ms and 1ms relying on your GPU’s energy and the settings you select. Still, extraordinarily delicate professional players may not need to use FSR. AMD additionally recommends disabling Radeon Image Sharpening and another customized sharpening filters, which could be overkill if the 2 are mixed.

Of course none of this issues if a sport seems to be a lot worse with FSR enabled than with out. We’re now going to check the varied settings on quite a lot of totally different GPUs, utilizing a few of the video games that assist it at launch time.

amd fsr resolutions amd

Each FSR mode corresponds to a set of enter and output resolutions, and the dimensions between them will have an effect on picture high quality


AMD FSR: Testing and impressions

We’ll be utilizing two video games all through our take a look at course of – Anno 1800 and Godfall. AMD offered pre-release codes for these video games for the aim of evaluating FSR. Resolutions differ between checks and GPUs, and the best sport high quality settings had been used for all discrete GPUs. Both of those video games are resource-intensive and might pose a problem to even probably the most trendy GPUs when operating at 4K with all the standard settings turned up. Both supply artificial benchmarks that run by means of precisely the identical eventualities every time, making it a lot simpler to check efficiency throughout platforms and periods. Godfall even helps ray tracing. In the tables under, you may see efficiency scores for each video games operating with FSR disabled in addition to in any case and most aggressive settings, Ultra Quality and Performance respectively.

For this demonstration, I pulled out a bunch of {hardware} each previous and new, to see how nicely FSR works in several conditions. First, we start with a regular PC take a look at bench, consisting of an an AMD Ryzen 2700 CPU, ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate motherboard, 2x8GB of G.Skill F4-3400C16D-16GSXW DDR4 RAM, a 1TB Samsung 860 Evo SSD, and a Corsair RM650 energy provide. The monitor was a 4K Asus PB287Q. All Windows and driver updates had been utilized earlier than testing started.

  AMD Radeon RX 590 AMD Radeon RX 6800 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
Godfall, 4K, Epic, Ray Tracing enabled
FSR off 46.2fps
Ultra Quality mode 65.5fps
Performance mode 78.5fps
Godfall, 4K, Epic
FSR off 17.4fps 55.5fps 18.8fps
Ultra Quality mode 24.7fps 75.6fps 27.2fps
Performance mode 37.1fps 85.2fps 43.9fps
Godfall, 2560×1440, Epic
FSR off 31.3fps 81.3fps 35.9fps
Ultra Quality mode 39.1fps 85.7fps 46.2fps
Performance mode 49.3fps 83.6fps 61.3fps
Anno 1800, 4K, Ultra High
FSR off 16.96fps 50.95fps 22.69fps
Ultra Quality mode 23.9fps 68.99fps 31.73fps
Performance mode 39.22fps 101.23fps 52.15fps
Anno 1800, 2560×1440, Ultra High
FSR off 31.36fps 85.96fps 42.59fps
Ultra Quality mode 42.42fps 104.42fps 55.88fps
Performance mode 62.57fps 121.17fps 80.08fps


On this take a look at bench, we’ll first pop in our Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 590 graphics card. The RX 500 {series} is among the oldest generations of AMD GPUs that FSR helps formally, so it should make for an fascinating examine. We see that each video games battle at 4K. FSR is ready to elevate body charges dramatically, however we’re nonetheless under the perfect threshold for clean gameplay. At 1440p, you may see that body charges rise to the purpose that you could truly play Anno 1800 very comfortably, though Godfall did not see fairly as a lot of an enchancment. As for visible high quality, there are positively rougher edges and fuzzier textures. Anno 1800 did not look too totally different at any of the standard settings, however the decline was extra evident in Godfall.

Jumping all the way in which to AMD’s newest GPU {series}, we even have a reference Radeon RX 6800 card on the identical take a look at rig. Here we see an unlimited generational distinction – base body charges with FSR disabled usually are not unhealthy, however there’s nonetheless room for enhancements. Godfall appeared to hit a wall at round 85fps, not bettering at any settings, which may be because of a bottleneck with the remainder of our {hardware}. With ray tracing enabled, there is not an enormous dip within the non-FSR body fee, however even that may be negated with minimal upscaling utilizing the Ultra Quality setting. Anno 1800 on the opposite hand posted vital body fee enhancements.

Of course we needed to take a look at a couple of Nvidia GPUs as nicely. It appeared like a good suggestion to go together with a GeForce GTX 1070, which doesn’t assist DLSS or RTX ray tracing, and may very well be thought of at or close to the tip of its helpful life when you’re a demanding gamer. You needn’t even replace drivers or do something to allow FSR – it is merely an possibility in every sport’s settings menu, so you may simply flip it on and select your most popular mode. Five years after its launch, this GPU will get a brand new lease of life. Neither Godfall nor Anno 1800 are playable at 4K at their highest settings with out FSR, however you possibly can truly pull that off utilizing the Performance mode. 1440p is extra real looking, and the soar in body charges may be very spectacular.

  Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 (cell)
Godfall, 1920×1080, Epic, Ray Tracing enabled
FSR off 26.1fps
Ultra Quality mode 33.4fps
Performance mode 52.2fps
Godfall, 1920×1080, Epic
FSR off 46.2fps
Ultra Quality mode 53.1fps
Performance mode 59.7fps
Anno 1800, 1920×1080, Ultra High
FSR off 54.41fps
Ultra Quality mode 64.30fps
Performance mode 72.11fps


Switching issues up a bit, we transfer to a two-year-old Asus ROG Strix Scar II (GL504GV) laptop computer, which has a cell GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 15.6-inch 1920×1080 display with a 144Hz refresh fee. Obviously, we take a look at solely at this decision, which is decrease than the targets we had set for our desktop rig. What’s most fascinating right here is that you could actually begin to see variations in visible high quality at 1080p. Godfall specifically seemed terrible when operating within the Performance mode – with such a low render decision, there simply is not a lot to work with. Frame charges additionally solely improved barely, so it is a tradeoff that I personally would not make. Both Godfall and Anno 1800 confirmed comparatively conservative efficiency enhancements – making FSR good to have, however not as a lot of a game-changer.

  AMD Ryzen 5 2400G (Radeon Vega 11)
Godfall, 1920×1080, Low
FSR off 20.6fps
Ultra Quality mode 24.5ps
Performance mode 30.3fps
Anno 1800, 1920×1080, Medium
FSR off 29.66fps
Ultra Quality mode 32.55fps
Performance mode 49.15fps


Finally, we go all the way in which all the way down to a Ryzen 5 2400G APU with built-in Radeon Vega 11 graphics. Why? Because we are able to. It’s plugged right into a Gigabyte AB350N-Gaming WiFi motherboard with 16GB of DDR4 RAM. AMD’s Ryzen APUs already ship spectacular graphics efficiency and if that may be boosted even additional, loads of budget-constrained players will likely be joyful. I took the standard all the way down to the Medium preset in Anno 1800, which is extra applicable for this entry-level {hardware}. The sport did suggest overriding this and bumping antialiasing up from 2X to 4X when FSR was enabled. Godfall wanted to be dropped all the way down to Low high quality. As you may see from the scores, each video games confirmed solely marginal efficiency distinction with FSR set to Ultra Quality, however there is a noticeable enchancment in Performance mode. Visual high quality does endure, however possibly the tradeoff will likely be okay for you.

amd fsr comparison ndtv amd

Screen grabs from Anno 1800’s built-in benchmark operating on the Radeon RX 590 GPU.



Clearly, FSR works. It does assist video games run sooner, and it takes zero effort for players to allow. However, it is not a magic resolution that may drastically improve the efficiency of every kind of {hardware} in all conditions. As we are able to see, outcomes differ significantly throughout GPUs of various tiers and ages. There is a few seen degradation when it comes to textures and definition, and the extent of this additionally varies. It typically works nice at 4K, however the tradeoff could be extreme at 1080p.

It’s exhausting to quantify the extent to which FSR could make up for the efficiency penalty that ray tracing imposes- extra video games must roll out assist for this to be examined. What we are able to see is fewer stutters and dropped frames, which suggests greater common body charges and a smoother total expertise – which is nicely value buying and selling a bit visible constancy for. Looking on the scores, we are able to see roughly linear body fee enhancements in lots of (however not all) circumstances – 1.3X will increase in Ultra Quality mode and 2X in Performance mode.

With that mentioned, when you spend ages analysing frames facet by facet, you may actually discover seen variations. Rather than enabling FSR, you may merely scale back high quality settings to spice up body charges – you may need to experiment and see what works greatest for every sport on your PC. Low-end {hardware} does get a lift, however even that is not merely going to make an unplayable sport buttery clean.

There’s no method to immediately evaluate FSR in opposition to DLSS, not less than not but. If video games do assist each sooner or later, it is going to be fascinating to see how totally different they give the impression of being. Quite a few large names within the sport improvement business are on board, and so FSR might simply change into a de facto normal. Since it is open supply, corporations might use the underlying tech however name it one thing totally different and expose controls in several methods.

Could DLSS change into redundant? It’s extremely unlikely, however stays to be seen. Will builders hold supporting it if FSR is less complicated to implement and serves the identical objective? There’s a parallel in Nvidia’s proprietary G-Sync vs AMD’s cheekily named FreeSync variable refresh fee tech – Nvidia does have a marketplace for its extra premium implementation, however has additionally needed to embrace AMD’s open-standards method after it grew to become commonplace.

For players, FSR comes at a good time. New graphics playing cards proceed to promote for double their MSRPs or extra, due to cryptocurrency mining demand, world manufacturing constraints, and scalping. Anything that helps increase efficiency with out requiring a {hardware} improve is extraordinarily welcome. In India particularly, FSR will assist players with price range constraints prolong the helpful lives of their purchases, and expertise the sort of efficiency that merely hasn’t been attainable on low-end {hardware} earlier than. If FSR is adopted broadly, we’ll additionally see new prospects for gaming on the newly introduced Steam Deck and potential related consoles; upcoming Exynos-powered flagship telephones; and naturally low-cost laptops and PCs.

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