AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution Includes Broad Cross-Family GPU Support

AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution Includes Broad Cross-Family GPU Support

When AMD launched RDNA2, it promised it would unveil a new GPU rendering solution that could match Nvidia’s DLSS. The company has now shared some additional details on the technology, with more coming on June 22.

FidelityFX Super Resolution is not the same as DLSS. The technology will be part of AMD’s GPUOpen program, and AMD is promising support for a much wider range of GPUs than currently support DLSS 1.0 or 2.0. Currently, AMD expects to support FSR on RDNA2, RDNA, and Vega GPUs. While it won’t be supported to the same extent on Nvidia hardware, AMD does plan to offer support for Pascal, Ampere, and Turing. We don’t know exactly which games will support FSR, but it sounds as though the feature requires at least some degree of developer collaboration. Intel is reportedly considering FSR support as well.

AMD has said that it expects over 10 games and engines to add support for FSR in 2021, but the only one we know of is Godfall. While details from the company are light so far, it’s claiming to deliver four different quality modes (Ultra Quality, Quality, Balanced, and Performance).

AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution Includes Broad Cross-Family GPU Support

On paper, the performance boosts AMD is claiming are huge, with the 6800 XT starting at 49fps for native 4K and hitting 150fps in Performance mode. These gains are nothing to sneeze at. But the early data around quality is not encouraging. As much as I want to stress that this is early data, companies typically put their best foot forward in these kinds of demos.

AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution Includes Broad Cross-Family GPU Support

I cannot link to the full-size image that Anandtech posted due to limitations in our backend file upload size, so I’ve zoomed into just one section of it.

AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution Includes Broad Cross-Family GPU Support

We’re zoomed in tightly here, so nothing is going to look great. The amount of blur on the right-hand side of the image is quite noticeable, however. This may be caused by AMD’s decision to rely strictly on spatial upscaling for FSR, with no information included from motion vectors. This sounds similar to how DLSS 1.0 worked for Nvidia. Problem there is, DLSS 1.0 for Nvidia didn’t work very well.

AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution Includes Broad Cross-Family GPU Support

Another tight zoom, cropped from the bottom of the same image. There’s a fair bit of detail being lost here. This is not to lose sight of AMD’s larger point — the company is showing the GTX 1060 running at 1.41x faster, and yes, that kind of performance gain is obviously going to come with a quality tradeoff. It’s just not clear that FSR will be superior to simply accepting a lower resolution target in the first place.

A game running in 2560×1440 is drawing far more pixels than a game running in 1080p. It is not clear, based on this screenshot, that our hypothetical gamer wouldn’t benefit more from 1080p and slightly less aggressive detail settings.

It took Nvidia a little while to get DLSS banged into shape, and AMD may need some time to work on FSR as well. We’ll see what the company unveils a few weeks from now. The backward compatibility, at least, is a very nice touch.

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AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution Boosts Performance Across All GPUs, but Quality Can Take a Hit
AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution Boosts Performance Across All GPUs, but Quality Can Take a Hit

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AMD’s Fidelity FX Super Resolution Based on Lanczos Filter, Which is Pretty Fine
AMD’s Fidelity FX Super Resolution Based on Lanczos Filter, Which is Pretty Fine

AMD's FSR is based on Lanczos scaling. The company should have been more up-front about that at unveil, but the approach itself is fine.