Computer hardware is getting more powerful but not everyone has access to the latest and greatest technologies. High-end graphics cards are, of course, expensive and are now even harder to find, thanks to a global chip shortage. Unlike consoles with fixed hardware, PC gamers have a variety of combinations to try out, both in hardware and game settings, to find the best compromise between quality and performance. AMD’s new FidelityFX Super Resolution tech, thankfully abbreviated to FSR, claims you don’t have to choose between performance and high resolutions. In fact, you don’t even have to choose between AMD and NVIDIA cards if it comes down to it.
FSR is pretty much AMD’s answer to NVIDIA DLSS, short for Deep Learning Super Sampling. Both technologies are focused on what is called “upscaling,” displaying an image at a higher resolution than it was originally made for. Upscaling is at work in 4K or even 2K TVs that are playing HD and 1080p content but these graphics tech giants are applying it to the more dynamic and sometimes unpredictable content of video games.
AMD FSR is so different from DLSS that they can almost be considered as very different technologies. Whereas NVIDIA boasts a lot about its AI-based upscaling, AMD uses an “advanced edge reconstruction algorithm” instead. FSR is also spatial in that it applies that algorithm on a single frame at a time without using information from previous frames the way DLSS does.
This has important implications in how and where AMD FSR is supported, which is to say in a lot more platforms and on a lot more hardware than NVIDIA DLSS does. It doesn’t require specialized machine learning hardware and can even work on older GPUs. Perhaps the most mind-boggling demonstration of that is FSR’s support for some NVIDIA cards, including GeForce GTX GPUs that NVIDIA’s DLSS itself doesn’t support.
AMD is also releasing FSR as open source technology to make it easier for developers and studios to adopt it. As impressive as the technology may sound, the starting roster of games that support it might not be. That list only includes 22 Racing Series, Anno 1800, Evil Genius 2, Godfall, Kingshunt, Terminator: Resistance, and The Riftbreaker for now, with DOTA 2, Far Cry 6, and Resident Evil Village coming later this year. AMD does say that more than 40 game developers have voiced support for FSR, so we’ll have to wait for a while to see how it fares in the long run.