AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution is said to accelerate games even on older PCs

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AMD unveils its FidelityFX Super Resolution technology, FSR for short, after a long period of preparation. FSR combines an advanced edge detection with a sharpness filter, as it is known from Radeon Contrast Adaptive Sharpening. This is supposed to make pictures so beautiful that demanding games can be rendered in a reduced resolution and then scaled up to the screen resolution. This means that even slower graphics cards from the older middle class should be sufficient for smooth gaming fun in visually demanding games.

AMD’s FSR competes with Nvidia’s Deep Learning Supersampling (DLSS), but, unlike this, works as a computer shader program on the normal shader cores of the graphics processors. FSR is therefore also compatible with older graphics cards and integrated graphics, even with GeForce graphics cards, even if AMD does not provide support for the latter.

You can read a more detailed consideration including the performance and quality analysis of FSR in one of the upcoming issues of c’t.

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For a first brief performance review with AMD’s mobile Radeon RX 6800M in the Asus ROG Strix G15 notebook, we have selected the survial game “The Riftbreaker”, which has a lush 239 frames per second in the GPU benchmark with native Full HD resolution and maximum details reached. With ray tracing effects (shadows and ambient shading), the fps dropped to almost 150.

FSR increased the frame rate in balanced mode almost to the initial value, so it was able to compensate for the extra load through ray tracing. With Ultra Quality, the system managed 189 fps, Quality reached 214 fps and the Performance mode even 255 frames per second – the latter, however, made the image appear quite blurred.

AMD measures the following values ​​in Ultra HD resolution with the faster Radeon RX 6800 XT desktop graphics card:

FSR performance measurement from AMD in the game The Riftbreaker

(Image: AMD)

Support goes back to the Radeon RX 400 series and also includes all Ryzen processors with integrated graphics. So you don’t need the brand new graphics cards with ray tracing hardware or even tensor cores, which are currently only available at inflated prices anyway.

That should have been AMD’s calculation, since a large FSR target group also makes it more attractive for developers to integrate FSR into their games. Because even if AMD wants to make the source code freely accessible via GPUOpen soon, a game patch for FSR is still necessary. AMD also works with various developers for this. It starts with the games “Anno 1800”, “Godfall”, “Riftbreaker”, “Evil Genius 2”, “Terminator Restance”, “Kingshunt” and “22nd Century Racing Series”. For exact dates, AMD refers to the respective developers.

“Far Cry 6”, “Resident Evil: Village”, “DOTA 2”, “Baldur’s Gate III”, “Farming Simulator 22”, “Myst”, “Vampires: The Masquerade Blood Hunt” and “Edge of” are to follow soon Eternity “.

In addition, according to AMD, a large number of studios and publishers are also on the FSR boat, including EA with the Frostbite engine, Unity, Valve, Gearbox, Ubisoft, Larian Studios, Avalanche / Warner Bros. and well-known AMD partners such as Nixxes / Crystal Dynamics, Rebellion or Oxide.

On AMD’s website allows gamers to make suggestions themselveswhich games should be equipped with FSR. AMD will then approach the developers.

With its combination of edge detection and sharpness filter, FSR is supposed to pep up game graphics. So far so good. The reason, however, is that many graphics cards – especially older ones – are not fast enough to smoothly display modern games in full detail at Full HD, WQHD or Ultra HD resolution.

The two mentioned FSR steps edge detection and sharpness filter are only the final stage, the actual heart of FSR is the upscaler. The game is initially rendered in reduced resolution – how much less depends on the levels Ultra Quality, Quality, Balanced and Performance as well as the desired output resolution:

Fidelity FX Super Resolution

Axis resolution

Render resolution for WQHD

Render resolution for Ultra HD

Render resolution for Full HD

Performance

50 % (1/2,0)

1280 x 720

1920 x 1080

960 x 540

Balanced

59 % (1/1,7)

1506 x 847

2259 x 1270

1129 x 635

Quality

66 % (1/1,5)

1706 x 960

2560 x 1440

1280 x 720

Ultra Quality

77% (1/1,3)

1970 x 1108

2954 x 1662

1477 x 831

[Update, 22.06.2021, 17:15 Uhr:] Full HD column added.[/Update]

FSR primarily lowers the resolution in order to increase the frame rate. With edge detection and the sharpness filter, AMD tries to compensate for the inevitable loss of image quality, which at least works well in the Quality and Ultra Quality settings after a first inspection.

FSR integration into the game engine

(Image: AMD)

FSR is used in the game after tone mapping and anti-aliasing, so it is basically compatible with both techniques. AMD uses FP16 accuracy, which on the one hand has enough reserves for HDR image quality, on the other hand runs very quickly on modern Radeon graphics units. Even lower precision levels such as INT8 or INT4, which are often used in the machine learning sector, are not used.

An integration as a pure post-processing shader would theoretically be possible, but would not show optimal results, because sharpening results without artifacts require some fine-tuning, which can vary depending on the content of the game. For example, if the graphic style is comic-like with a few fine details within single-colored areas, you don’t need such complex filter kernels for tiny structures. Particularly detailed surface structures, on the other hand, can both require more complex filtering in the kernel of the compute shader and also make it necessary to shift the MipMap bias so that fewer details are lost compared to the native resolution.


(csp)

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