It’s the launch day of AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), and that means AMD has finally launched its new gaming technology. Using a new "advanced edge rebuild" and sharpening, the red team hopes to offer some alternative to Nvidia's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), but what's more important is to give older GPU owners a little final game performance.
At its core, FSR is a large-scale technology. It takes a low-resolution image, for example, 1440p, and enhances it to 4K using a fantasy algorithm created by AMD itself.
AMD is divided into two stages. First, the game is rendered at a lower resolution, which means an increase in online performance with what you might expect to have fewer pixels. After that, FSR increases the frame size to 4K by spatial zoom, and in doing so uses an advanced edge reconstruction algorithm and further fine-tunes to improve the quality of this image.
The result: an image that has a performance of 1440p (plus some marginal FSR extra costs, a few percentage points in our own tests), but that looks more like a native 4K image than I would expect.
The devil is in the details, though, and the degree of closeness that native 4K can bring is the real challenge for AMD. If you want to see how close it really is, see our full document Testing AMD FSR, where you can also see how it faces its current main competitor, Nvidia's DLSS.
FSR and DLSS are functionally similar to the surface, but are actually two very different approaches to solving the same problem. The main differentiator, as we know from both AMD and Nvidia, is the lack of machine learning or AI with Super Resolution FidelityFX.
This could be a blessing or a curse, but it immediately has the advantage of allowing AMD to run FSR on a wide range of graphics cards, even those from Nvidia. AMD cites that it has tested FSR on all Radeon GPUs from the latest 6000 series (including mobile) to the RX 480/470/460 and Nvidia RTX GPUs from the 30 series to the 10 series.
AMD says you could run FSR on a low-end device, although the overhead and the relationship between the cost of FSR and the total cost of the frame could reduce profitability. At least it won’t tax older CPUs, as AMD says this shouldn’t have a big impact on FSR performance. What you need to watch out for, however, are the bottlenecks in other parts of your system; if your CPU limits your fps, FSR won't do much to improve your performance.
But you can only find out by trying it. AMD FSR will arrive at a handful of games at launch: Anno 1800, Evil Genius 2, Godfall, Kingshunt, 22 Racing Series, Terminator: Resistance and The Riftbreaker, where you can find the on / off switch in the options menu . You can also decide a quality default for FSR, which will determine whether FSR favors maximizing frames or fidelity.
Other games will support FSR later this year, including AMD, DOTA 2, Far Cry 6 and Resident Evil Village. This could also bode well for future games from these same developers