AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution: Proof of upscaling technology that challenges NVIDIA DLSS

AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution: Proof of upscaling technology that challenges NVIDIA DLSS

AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution

A few months after the announcement, AMD's new upscaling technology is finally available to everyone in the latest release of Radeon Software and finally offers AMD Radeon video cards an important weapon to counter NVIDIA's DLSS.

The two technologies, mind you, are profoundly different, as is also evident from our dedicated in-depth analysis, but as you will see during this long test of the FidelityFX technology, the AMD upscaling technique is more sophisticated than those already available on the market. Of course, there are limits, as it is not based on dedicated hardware or artificial intelligence but, let's say it right away, it is an important addition to the Radeon ecosystem.

How does the AMD upscaling?

The FidelityFX Super Resolution pipeline FidelityFX Super Resolution, also called FSR, is an upscaling technique that has the same goal as NVIDIA's DLSS: it aims to increase the definition of an image rendered at a higher resolution. lower than that intended to appear on the screen. In this way it guarantees a performance increase proportional to the lowering of the effective rendering resolution, promising a high image yield. But in terms of function it differs radically from NVIDIA technology.

While NVIDIA's DLSS leverages deep learning and Tensor Core, working on multiple images at the same time to increase the amount of data to be interpolated and therefore to realize the output image, FSR is a spatial type that works exclusively on the image it receives from the GPU. It then takes the frame in question, to which the anti-aliasing effects have already been applied, and reconstructs it by raising the resolution, then applying a second step of sharpening to further increase the detail. This is why it is incompatible with FidelityFX Contrast Adaptive Sharpening, also known as CAS, but guarantees a much higher ratio between performance benefits and visual quality.

The AMD approach, unfortunately, involves an inevitable loss of detail, even with the Super Resolution at the highest quality. But the visibility of the compromise depends on the size of the screen and we are still talking about a yield that is still higher than that of the classic uspcalers already available for a long time in the GPU software. The FSR is in fact more sophisticated, working partly in a linear way and partly in a non-linear way in order to minimize the deterioration of visual quality. Furthermore, like DLSS, it is able to work at different rendering resolutions, guaranteeing the user the possibility to focus on the massive performance increase, at the cost of image quality, or on a more modest performance increase combined with a higher final image rendering. ! function () {"use strict"; window.addEventListener ("message", (function (e) {if (void 0! == ["datawrapper-height"]) {var t = document.querySelectorAll ( "iframe"); for (var a in ["datawrapper-height"]) for (var r = 0; r

Compatibility and support

The main advantages of FSR While limiting the prospects of evolution compared to a more advanced technology such as DLSS, the nature of FidelityFX Super Resolution, similar to that of traditional upscalers although more sophisticated, has advantages that should not be overlooked. It does not need training or core phases. dedicated, it is easier to implement in games, while still requiring specific work from the developer. It can also be used with a huge number of GPUs, aiming for maximum compatibility, including Ryzen mobile APUs, PS5 and Xbox GPUs. Series X | S and even NVIDIA GeForce 10X to 30X series. A thrust that AMD probably wanted to allow itself to emphasize the advantages of their approach.

Supported GPUs

AMD Radeon RX 6000 / 6000M Series AMD Radeon RX 5000 / 5000M Series AMD Radeon RX Vega Series (Ryzen APU included) AMD Radeon RX 400, 500 and 600 Series AMD Radeon RX 3000G / 5000G (integrated) NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20X and 30X series NVIDIA GeForce GTX 16X and 10X series

Unfortunately the games supported at launch are only 7 and in general they are rather modest for hardware requirements. But with FidelityFX Super Resolution we don't necessarily talk about high-end configurations. The wide diffusion of the technology makes it more transversal and useful with a large number of configurations and devices, even quite dated.

In addition to keeping the technology flag high is Godfall, able to put the GPU under pressure in 4K, and there's the promise of rollout in new titles including big hits like Far Cry 6, Baldur's Gate 3, Resident Evil Village, and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt. AMD has confirmed that more than 40 developers are working on a technology that, at least on PC, should be able to aspire to a very wide diffusion, given the relative simplicity of implementation.

Games supported at launch

Godfall Evil Genius 2 22 Racing Series Anno 1800 Kingshunt Terminator: Resistance The Riftbreaker

Performance and visual quality

! function () {"use strict"; window.addEventListener ("message ", (function (e) {if (void 0! == [" datawrapper-height "]) {var t = document.querySelectorAll (" iframe "); for (var a in [" datawrapper -height "]) for (var r = 0; r To test the FidelityFX Super Resolution we used a Radeon RX 5700X, a card with 8 GB of memory useful to verify the benefits of AMD technology on the last generation GPUs, precisely whereas such an option can increase the intrinsic value of configurations assembled when GPU prices were still within the norm. As a CPU, however, we have p greased at the top of the AMD range with the Ryzen 9 5950X, flanked by 16 GB of memory at 3600 MHz, in order to eliminate or otherwise minimize any bottlenecks.

Moving on to the performance tests, the FidelityFX CAS technology is automatically deactivated while we turned off Radeon Boost and Radeon Chill, in addition to always selecting the highest graphic profile, in order to have the guarantee of the best quality visual possible with the internal benchmarks of Godfall and Evil Genius 2, designed to put the respective graphics engines under pressure, and playing the first part of the second mission of Terminator: Resistance. We were surprised at a net performance increase demonstrating the advanced nature of AMD upscaling. We speak, as soon as the technology in Ultra Quality mode is activated, of an average gain of 30% which increases up to double in performance mode.

Godfall in 4K has an excellent yield, but enlarging the image you notice the blur In terms of detail, image deterioration is constant and on a 27-inch monitor it is visible in 1080p. But the quality of the final image is still quite good and the visibility of the decrease in definition becomes less evident in 1440p to become almost invisible in 4K. In Ultra HD it is in fact necessary to pay attention to vegetation and grainy materials to notice the slight blur that while exposing the limits of FidelityFX Super Resolution compared to the NVIDIA DLSS, guarantees a net performance boost in the face of an excellent image yield. br>
In lower resolution, we have said it, the blur is more evident and becomes more marked by selecting more marked levels of FSR but, always speaking of a 27-inch desktop gaming screen, once the compromise is accepted of light dirt, the yield is decent even in Quality mode and Balanced mode, two settings that make Godfall playable in 4K at 60fps per second on a mid-range card of the last generation. In performance, the qualitative leap downwards is marked compared to the quality of the native rendering, but generally the filter performs well and, even at the highest quality FidelityFX Super Resolution guarantees a net increase in performance.

To the setting higher results in an increase in framerate starting from a minimum of about 20% in 1080p, in titles subject to CPU bottlenecks such as Godfall, to more than 50% in 4K with Terminator: Resistance.

The trade-off becomes more visible by lowering the resolution, but it can still be acceptable to push a modest configuration to reach higher framerates, often more important than defining the level contours even in a shooter that includes ranged combat. But in a title with a high visual impact, the loss of detail, even if minimized by increasing the resolution, could be indigestible to those who demand the highest image quality. Furthermore, it is necessary to consider the size of the screen since, increasing the diagonal, the blur of the image becomes more and more evident.

This is why we expect to see FidelityFX Super Resolution always implemented at the highest level on the next generation consoles, designed for large Ultra HD Smart TVs, provided that the developers decide to use it. AMD itself has got its hands on it, anticipating a real possibility. But we are still talking about one more eventuality that under certain conditions can guarantee considerable advantages.


Godfall in 4K with FSR in Ultra Quality Among the first 7 games with support for FSR, Godfall is undoubtedly the most spectacular from the point of view of graphics. But it is also well optimized, so much so that with the graphics settings on Epico, it reaches high framerates even on mid-range GPUs. In 4K, however, it becomes challenging for an AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT and this is where AMD technology comes in, which guarantees a performance boost of over 40 percentage points in ultra quality. All this in the face of a very minimal loss of detail, at least on a 27-inch monitor.

Enlarging the images, we have seen it, the blur becomes evident, underlining the intrinsic limit of the FSR, but in relation to the glance the compromise is undoubtedly acceptable and at lower resolutions it makes the title playable on very modest configurations without any compromise in graphics settings, removed the inability to activate ray tracing which is only available on the AMD Radeon RX 6000. By lowering the resolution, however, the gain drops up to almost 20 percentage points in 1080p, where the processor, regardless of its power, is a drag in many games. ! function () {"use strict"; window.addEventListener ("message", (function (e) {if (void 0! == ["datawrapper-height"]) {var t = document.querySelectorAll ( "iframe"); for (var a in ["datawrapper-height"]) for (var r = 0; r

Evil Genius 2: World Domination

Evil Genius 2 in 1080p with FSR in Ultra Quality still performs well The second title we tested is Evil Genius 2: World Domination, obviously with the graphics settings on Ultra. We chose to use this game to check the effect of the FidelityFX Super Resolution on the graphics clean and sharp outlines of a title that, among other things, reaches very high framerates and feels less the bottleneck effect of Godfall. It reaches 273 FPS in 1080, with FSR active at maximum quality, and approaches the 400 FPS by lowering the settings to medium, with a gain of 30% in Full HD.

The increase in performance, however, still increases by raising the resolution reaching about 40% in 1 440p and up to 44% in 4K, where the combination of FSR in ultra quality and high resolution guarantees an excellent image. By zooming in on the image, or by lowering the resolution to 1080p, the blur can be seen on details such as the stars of the evil Red Ivan's shoulder pads and on some edges, but playing on a 27-inch, the compromise is invisible and is enough to make the title playable in 4K even on an AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT and with AMD cards of similar power of previous generations. ! function () {"use strict"; window.addEventListener ("message", (function (e) {if (void 0! == ["datawrapper-height"]) {var t = document.querySelectorAll ( "iframe"); for (var a in ["datawrapper-height"]) for (var r = 0; r

Terminator: Resistance

With Terminator: Resistance in 1080p with FSR in Ultra Quality the blur is more evident Among the 7 games with launch support for AMD technology there is also Terminator Resistance, a tie-in not particularly successful and less able than Godfall to exploit the Unreal Engine, but characterized by rather defined human faces and useful to see the effect of FidelityFX Super Resolution on elements such as pores of the skin, mustache, wrinkles and so on. All details that in 4K, with FSR in Ultra Quality, remain well defined, always on one 4K screen.

The quality, among other things, remains good even with a little zoom, always talking about a 27-inch monitor, and the blur is barely visible in the background and especially with vegetation and grainy materials. Instead it becomes more evident in 1440p and is clearly visible in 1080p, but the glance without zoom remains good and in any case we are talking about another title that thanks to AMD technology is able to increase the performance by 36% in 1080p, by 42 % in 1440p and even 50% in 4K. ! function () {"use strict"; window.addEventListener ("message", (function (e) {if (void 0! == ["datawrapper-height"]) {var t = document.querySelectorAll ( "iframe"); for (var a in ["datawrapper-height"]) for (var r = 0; r


The most surprising thing about FidelityFX Super Resolution is that the performance improvement grows further as the resolution increases. In fact, it comes to give us, in 4K, 50% more performance peaks with FSR in Ultra Quality mode. The latter guarantees among other things the most important leap in performance terms, making it preferable also in consideration of the fact that as the technology setting increases, the intensity of the blur also increases.

In 4K, however, the compromise is not very visible even down to balanced mode, still talking about our 27-inch monitor, but in 1440p and 1080p it becomes more and more evident, making the lower levels of the FSR more suitable for screens very small or with titles that largely prefer fluidity to definition.

Let's be clear, moving on to consoles and large TVs we should make a different kind of speech, taking into consideration the size of the screen, intended to highlight the compromise, but also a different visual distance. In fact, with a monitor we are talking about a screen that you look at a few centimeters, which makes the achievement of AMD technology remarkable, which effectively guarantees an advantageous exchange between definition and performance, becoming more and more useful, like DLSS, with the increase of resolution. There are limits, but it is an extra option that is added to the Radeon ecosystem by also touching the GPUs of other manufacturers, given the compatibility with NVIDIA's GeForces and, theoretically, with any other graphics chip.

We then take for granted that the use of machine learning in graphics is destined to become a standard practice, given the margins of evolution inevitably precluded to a good technology but with traditional roots such as FidelityFX Super Resolution. And we are curious to find out what this may mean with the FSR.

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