Intel XeSS in action: this is what the alternative to DLSS is like

Intel XeSS in action: this is what the alternative to DLSS is like

Intel XeSS in action

At its recent InnovatiON 2021 event, Intel announced a new partnership with Hitman 3 developer IO Interactive and The Riftbreaker Exor Studios. For the first time, it was possible to see XeSS (Xe Super Sampling) technology in action on games actually available on the market, most notably Hitman 3 and The Riftbreaker.

For some reason, Intel has chosen to load the video only in 1080p quality. However, the company has made efforts to update the footage to 4K resolution, which should make it easier to see the impact on image quality in more detail. However, some comparisons can still be made on image quality, and it's clear that XeSS upscaling from 1080p to 4K offers much better detail than just rendering to 1080p.

Credit: Intel Interesting also the choice of games. Hitman 3 is quite understandable, considering it's an AAA title with a recognizable market presence - it serves as a good example and to push the technology. The Riftbreaker, however, is a product developed in close collaboration with AMD and which already implements Fidelity FX Super Resolution (FSR) technology as a supersampling algorithm to improve performance. Perhaps Intel is setting the stage for comparisons between FSR and XeSS - and if that is indeed its strategy, that means it is sure to win. The fact that Intel is already rolling out games with working implementations of XeSS bodes well for future adoption of the technology. Intel knows it has plenty of time to strengthen relationships with developers and increase the attractiveness of its graphics technologies pending the launch of the Arc Alchemist GPU in 2022.

Credit: Intel Credit: Intel It is also good news regarding the current state of development of XeSS that Intel has unveiled its XeSS DevMesh program, which allows for testing and implementing supersampling technology in advance , allowing developers to submit any game they are currently making as a candidate for XeSS integration. This is a clear way to attract more interest from software houses and expand the number of compatible games ahead of the launch of the mainstream GPU. Its open nature (more like AMD's FSR than NVIDIA's DLSS) means that any AMD or NVIDIA GPU will be able to leverage the technology until Intel's cards hit the market.

Intel already has five gaming graphics card generations in the works

Intel is gearing up to release its first generation of discrete gaming graphics cards in 2022, but the road map for Intel Arc goes far beyond a single generation. We’ve heard about four generations of Intel Arc graphics cards, and the company is already teasing a distant fifth generation.

Intel Graphics tweeted an image revealing that the fifth generation starts with an “E” — following Alchemist, Battlemage, Celestial, and Druid — and the ideas from the replies are fantastic.

You’ve heard the codenames Alchemist, Battlemage, Celestial, and Druid, but what about E? What do YOU think it could be? #IntelArc

— Intel Graphics (@IntelGraphics) October 19, 2021

Intel’s own Raja Koduri holds the top reply with “E=mc2,” which could be Energy or Einstein — both of which break with Intel’s theme. Intel engineer Moshe Dolejsi threw out “Eldritch” as an idea, which is actually a solid option, while @IsoscelesGaming came up with such gems as “Evanescence” and “Eddie Vedder.” Maybe we’ll get a “Pearl Jam” generation when Intel makes it to further in the alphabet.

For our part, we could see Intel going with something like “Enchantress/Enchanter” or “Elemental,” keeping with the fantasy theme the code names have held so far. One idea we didn’t spot in the comments was “Elysium,” or if Intel wants to lean into a Destiny 2 theme, “Europa.”

The name doesn’t matter — though, you should go leave Intel some creative inspiration in the replies. More important is that Intel already have five generations of graphics cards in the works, so we probably won’t see the Intel Arc division disbanded any time soon. It looks like Intel is in for the long haul with its enthusiast graphics cards.

Nvidia and AMD have established a launch cadence of about two years for new graphics card generations, so five generations represents as long as a decade of discrete gaming graphics cards at Intel. Right now, the only details we have are centered on the first generation: Intel Arc Alchemist.

These cards are built to take on the best from Nvidia and AMD. Rumors suggest the flagship Alchemist card will perform about as well as an RTX 3070, which is seriously impressive for Intel’s first outing in gaming graphics. The first-generation cards come with hardware-accelerated ray tracing and a feature that’s similar to Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS).

XeSS, as it’s called, is one of the most exciting features in the upcoming range. Although we haven’t seen the upscaling feature in action yet, and Intel hasn’t announced any games that will support it, XeSS looks like it has the features and capabilities to put some pressure on Nvidia.

For now, though, all we can do is wait. Intel is set to launch Alchemist cards in the first few months of 2022, so we’re looking toward CES 2022. We know about four generations are coming after, too. Hopefully Intel can make it to 26.

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