We tested the AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution technology - article

We tested the AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution technology - article

AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution is finally with us and we have been able to test this new technology on a number of titles. The idea behind this technology is quite simple: drastically increase performance without tangibly impacting image quality. So the question that arises is: how does the FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) work? And how does it compare to the best temporal upscaling solutions like the excellent one built into Unreal Engine 4? Today we can answer these questions, but what we can't do yet is a comparison with Nvidia's equivalent technique, namely DLSS. This is because the test material is not yet available.

So how does the FSR work? To give credit to AMD, the company has been open to reporters on this topic in the approach to launch. FSR is essentially a single spatial frame image enhancement technique that searches for edges and brilliantly integrates them into a higher resolution grid. Shimmering artifacts are typical of standard upscaling techniques and the FSR aims to solve this problem. But all the upscaler has to do is work with the standard image, it doesn't get any additional information from the previous frames, nor does it rely on isolated buffers or higher resolution renders. By default, it 'inherits' whatever anti-aliasing solution is in action, typically the TAA. So the FSR does not replace the TAA and is unable to solve its flaws. The lack of a temporal component implies that the surface detail, i.e. the image 'inside' the edges, does not get any other additional information, so it resolves in a different way. AMD uses its Contrast Adaptive Sharpening (CAS) technique here, but this can't fix the extra detail.

Our video review of the FSR. We recommend viewing it on a high resolution screen.

Watch on YouTube. So, having learned this information, we started with Godfall, one of AMD's flagship titles for its FSR press material. At native 4K resolution, there is a very sharp image, and ground and foliage texture details are updated at a high frequency. Ultra quality FSR runs internally at 1662p, and even with the best possible FSR preset, the same crystal-clear quality as native 4K is not achieved. Areas of the image composed of sub-pixel details, such as hair strands, also show visible corruption. These side effects are inevitable when lower resolution upscaling does not make use of time accumulation. One area where we think ultra-quality FSR performs very well in comparison to the native 4K image is the edges of geometric objects. If we look at their ends and not at the internal surface details, we can see a similar result. And this is the greatest strength of the FSR.

However, not including any time components in the FSR causes graphical discontinuities. The FSR analyzes a single frame at a time, so the way it handles aspects such as shimmering on highly reflective materials, or small objects like leaves and hair, changes from frame to frame. Anyway, check out the numerous comparison shots on this page, even if it's the video that demonstrates exactly how this all comes together in the actual video game experience.

Ultra quality mode is the highest fidelity mode available with FSR and reconstructs a 4K image starting from an internal resolution of 1662p. The lower presets use internal resolutions of 1440p and 1270p respectively. Performance mode (recommended by AMD only in case the frame-rate is insufficient) operates at a resolution of 1080p. Going further down the quality scale, all the burrs we have described for scaling the FSR become much more conspicuous. That said, corner smoothing doesn't degrade as quickly as other aspects of image quality. All of these observations were made at 4K, a resolution at which the ultra quality and quality modes give the FSR many pixels to work with for upscaling. But those using 1440p displays have far less internal data available, and this means that the side effects of this technology are more evident.

FSR Ultra Quality Mode at 4K is the profile that comes closest to native presentation for as for the quality of the edges, but the internal detail degrades. At 1440p the Ultra Quality mode also exhibits large discrepancies in image quality. Once again, the Ultra Quality mode at 4K provides the best result for the extremities, but there are big differences in the internal detail. FSR cuts a good figure when compared to simple upscaling, but TAA upsamplers solve more detail and anti-aliasing at a similar performance cost. The only situation where the FSR shows different characteristics is in another of the titles we had for testing, namely Terminator Resistance, in which even at lower FSR presets, the game held up well in terms of visual quality. This happens for several reasons. For starters, it's a very dark game with little contrast and little texture detail. This implies that DSR differences in interior surfaces are mitigated by the game's color palette and texture setting. Another reason is that Terminator Resistance is a game that makes extensive use of post-processing and motion blur, as well as chromatic aberration and depth of field. All this makes images of different resolution very similar to the eyes. As always, details like hair exhibit more artifacts compared to native presentation and make a stand of other dull edges, but overall the FSR algorithm does a good job.

So based on the tested titles initially, the effectiveness of the FSR varies according to the game but through an overview of our tests we can say that AMD has provided a technique that can give benefits to the quality of the edges of opaque surfaces, but on the other hand we have less quality in the internal surfaces, in the transparent ends or in small moving objects. In practice, the best scenarios for FSR seem to be dark, low-contrast scenes with lots of post-process effects.

Obviously, the biggest advantage of FSR is in the performance achieved by upscaling from lower resolutions. . And the boosts we get are very consistent. Using the Riftbreakers GPU benchmark, the ultra quality mode provided a 42% performance increase, which rises to 75% with preset quality. With the balanced profile you literally double the performance, while with the performance mode you get an astonishing + 145%. The tests were carried out on an RX 6800 XT paired with a Core i9 10900K operating at 5.0GHz on all cores. But remember that FSR is an open technology. In fact it achieved similar visual results and big performance gains on an Nvidia RTX 3080.

These performance gains are important but are they worth the loss of quality they require? In our opinion, apart from a few cases in titles like Terminator, we feel that the quality changes introduced by the FSR are a little too pronounced compared to the native 4K image. We are not entirely convinced, and these doubts increase when comparing the results with other techniques to increase image quality.

Terminator Resistance does not emphasize high frequency details and works well with the FSR in all areas. its modalities. Sub-pixel details, like the hair in this photo, have minor problems in motion. Terminator Resistance does not emphasize high-frequency detail and works well with all FSR modes, although it increases noise in busy scenes and reduces quality presets. Aside from small gradual increases in blur, this content holds up well with the FSR as well. Riftbreakers' intra-surface details are more blurry than native resolution rendering, but edge reconstruction is good. Riftbreakers' intra-surface details are more blurry than native resolution rendering, but edge reconstruction is good. Riftbreakers' intra-surface details are more blurry than native resolution rendering, but edge reconstruction is good. Most Read Now

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We tested this with Kingshunt, a game based on Unreal Engine 4. We compared the native 1080p rendering (with a simple blinear upscaling to 4K) with the performance mode of the AMD FSR, which also works with a framebuffer. 1080p. Looking at the in-surface details, there isn't much difference and the sub-pixeI details don't scale particularly well. The result on the detail of the edges is much better. And that's exactly what the FSR is meant for, which performs better than a standard upscaler. But the thing is, games don't just use basic upscalers: Unreal Engine 4 has a temporal AA upscaler built in. Transparency details offer a better result, while internal surface quality, texture detail, is also elevated beyond 1080p standards. This is because the TAAU is sampling previous frames in the 4K presentation, adding detail. And basically, edge enhancement undergoes the same algorithm.

And this is the highest obstacle to overcome for the FSR: the solutions already existing on the market are not perfect but cause fewer problems than the FSR and the performance advantages are comparable. The performance cost of the FSR is roughly equivalent to that of Unreal Engine 4's TAAU and we cannot deny that Epic's solution produces better resolutives.

Ultimately, we believe that the FSR is more useful at 4K with its ultra quality profile, and that its usefulness diminishes as it goes down tier in the quality presets. Conceptually, we also believe that it is an uncompetitive technology in the market for technologies dedicated to image enhancement. If a game offers a basic upscaling technique, the FSR will certainly do a better job, but why should a game have a simple upscaling algorithm? Every proven engine on the market, whether from Ubisoft, Epic, Capcom or Square-Enix, has integrated some temporal reconstruction algorithm. And because they accumulate and rebuild from a larger amount of data, they provide better results than a single frame-based upscaling. AMD has stated that its technology could evolve, but the conclusion is as follows: at the moment, there is no question that the FSR delivers stratospheric performance, but the higher the gains go up the more the trade-offs in image quality are evident. .

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