AMD FSR: an option in the NVIDIA drivers allows for similar results, here's how to activate it

AMD FSR: an option in the NVIDIA drivers allows for similar results, here's how to activate it


When AMD originally announced it was working on FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) technology, an image upscaling and enhancement algorithm that would work on all the best video cards and allow the company to compete with NVIDIA's DLSS, it raised several doubts. Although AMD claimed that the algorithm was built "entirely in-house", several people have examined the source code and determined that it is largely based on the existing Lanczos resampling algorithm, which has been around for several decades and is already used by NVIDIA for its image sharpening filter that is easily activated from the control panel.

To be honest, AMD has done more than just reuse the Lanczos resampling algorithm. Specifically, FSR includes some optimizations that allow it to run faster, along with some other filters that help remove any invasive halos. But perhaps most importantly, AMD helped create an open source solution that game developers, or anyone else, could incorporate into their applications.

A key point of FSR is its need to be built into a game, so it only applies to 3D rendered content and not other things like UI elements or text. Of course, there's nothing stopping people from using FSR to upscale everything - and indeed there are several projects that aim to do just that - but it's best to leave some elements to render at their native resolution. Working to optimize and standardize the FSR algorithm, AMD has already managed to persuade developers to include it in at least two dozen games, along with Unreal Engine and Unity Engine.

Ironically, NVIDIA has been using Lanczos as a filter in its drivers for several years already. Could it have worked hard to convince developers to use Lanczos upscaling instead of temporal upscaling - or in addition to it - in the Pascal generation of GPUs? Absolutely. But, instead, it was left as a simple filter, while NVIDIA took pains to create DLSS, an AI-based upscaling and enhancement algorithm that only runs on RTX GPUs.

Having a generic algorithm that works on any modern GPU, from Intel UHD 630 to NVIDIA RTX 3090 or AMD RX 6900 XT, it has many benefits. For example, if we take a look at the current Steam Hardware Survey (focused on DirectX 11 GPUs), we find that only 17.6% of all users have an RTX card. This means that over 80% of the market currently cannot use DLSS. However, any PC with a DirectX 11 or later GPU should be able to use FSR.

If one of the companies responsible for building the current graphics API, namely Microsoft and DirectX or Khronos and Vulkan / OpenGL, had integrated Lanczos upscaling and promoting it as a useful feature for game developers five or ten years ago, we could have benefited from this technology all this time. Either way, FSR is pretty useful, even if it's just a modified version of a decades-old algorithm.

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This unofficial tool claims it can enable AMD FSR in any game

AMD FSR various quality presets Godfall comparison

AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) was announced back on June 1 as a more accessible alternative to Nvidia's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) image upscaling technique. That's because the technology utilizes a method different from AI upscaling implemented in DLSS and hence doesn't require the specialized tensor cores that are only present on GeForce RTX graphics cards. As a result, FSR can run on non-RTX GPUs as well, and it even runs on integrated graphics. You can find more details about AMD's FSR here.

The tech is also more accessible to developers too as it is open-source, much like a lot of Radeon's other technologies, and the source code for FSR was made available on GitHub last month. Using that perhaps, a modder claims to have been able to integrate this image upscaling technology into a software called 'Magpie'. The latest release version 0.5.2 of this software mentions in its changelog that AMD's FSR support has now been added to it.

However, the developer has noted a few caveats too:

  • He has stated that users may not see much improvement by enabling FSR from Magpie.
  • FSR here in Magpie has been implemented as a post-processing technique and may worsen the noise, and such, when it is enabled. It has also been mentioned that missing pixel details in an image from lowering the screen resolution cannot fully be supplemented by FSR.
  • The dev hasn't tested this game at 1440p and 4K resolutions and so it might not work as intended.
  • Finally, it has been noted that running Magpie with FSR may prove resource intensive which actually sounds counter-productive considering FSR is actually meant to be less demanding.
  • A couple of comparison images from what appears to be a view from inside the cabin in the 2016 adventure title Firewatch have also been provided to demonstrate the technique. The left one (indicated by Before) is at 1080p native, while the right image (indicated by After) apparently is 720p upscaled to 1080p using FSR.

    If you'd like to try, the Magpie v0.5.2 application is available for you to download on this page here on GitHub. However, we must caution that this is a third-party tool that we haven't tested for ourselves.

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