A Closer Look At AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution Open Source Answer To DLSS

scott herkelman exploring fidelityfx super resolution amds open source answer to dlss
Over the weekend, AMD made several big announcements at Computex 2021, including information about upcoming Ryzen 5000G Zen 3 APUs and new Radeon RX 6000M mobile GPUs for AMD Advantage gaming laptops. The company also announced its impressive answer to NVIDIA's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology. AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution is a new, open-source technology for upscaling game content from lower resolutions, to produce higher resolution frames, with similar fidelity to the higher native resolution. And because a lower resolution input is being rendered by the GPU, FSR can also improve frame rate performance dramatically.

What is FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR)?

FidelityFX Super Resolution, or FSR for short, is a “spatial upscaling technique” that is used to create a "super resolution” image from game engine input frames. To accomplish this, FSR uses a library of “cutting-edge algorithms with a particular emphasis on creating high-quality edges” to improve performance compared to natively rendering frames. In contrast to NVIDIA DLSS 2.0, AMD explains that FSR does not rely on history buffers, motion vectors, or require training on a per-game basis. AMD's Scott Herkelman stepped through the technology at yesterday's Computex keynote.

In addition, as we mentioned, FSR is open-source under AMD's GPUOpen license, which is a plus in more ways than one. First and most importantly, being open-source should make FSR easy to implement in game engines for us with not only AMD GPUs and APUs, but also GPUs from its competitors. AMD claims that FSR is highly optimized for a wide range of GPUs; however, the company will not provide technical or warranty support for this third-party hardware. Be that as it may, having an open ecosystem should be better than NVIDIA’s proprietary DLSS technology that only runs on NVIDIA hardware. This theoretically should make the technology more appealing to game devs as well, due to its intrinsically larger install base of hardware that it can run on. Regardless, without further ado, let us look at what FSR can do for games in the future…

FSR Image Quality And Performance For AMD GPUs, Or Any GPU

super resolution single godfall

AMD used Godfall as its FSR example, and it was pretty impressive. Godfall is an action-RPG that released in November of 2020 for both PC and PS5. The game takes players “across exotic vistas, from the above-ground reefs of the Water Realm to the subterranean crimson forests of the Earth Realm,” all of which look gorgeous in the screenshots. It is the sort of game one would want to enjoy in as high of a resolution as possible with all graphical goodies enabled. However, that would typically result in a significant performance hit.

fidelityfx super resolution performance

When running the game at native 4K resolution with raytracing enabled on the Epic preset, gamers could expect 49 FPS using a Radeon RX 6800 XT. However, the game kicks up to an impressive 78 FPS with a nearly identical appearance when running the game with FSR at Ultra Quality. There are also Quality, Balanced, and Performance settings that can bring framerates up to 150 FPS in the same scenario. Of course, some of visuals may not be quite as impressive as the Ultra Quality setting, but these FSR results are still pretty great.

super resolution godfall

As FSR is open source and can run on competing GPUs, we also saw Godfall with FSR enabled running on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. At 1440p with the Epic preset, the GTX 1060 only hit 27 FPS. With FSR enabled, framerates increased by 41 percent to 38 FPS. Talk about turning the tables on your competition. This part of the Herkelman's presentation was a refreshing twist on the traditional apple's to apple's competitive comparisons we're so used to seeing.

super resolution benefits

Hopefully, we will get to see more of FSR this year, as AMD reports that it has the support currenlty of over ten game studios and engines, with many more planned. Moreover, AMD wants to get this feature out there to as many gamers as possible, so it is taking suggestions for games that players want to see with FSR enabled. Then, the company will try to work with the suggested games and game studios to implement FSR in the future.

AMD finally has come out swinging with its much-anticipated FidelityFX Super Resolution, and no doubt NVIDIA will be positioning with DLSS moving forward as a result. In any event, having an open-source and easy-to-implement solution for turning low-resolution game engine input into high-resolution frames sounds like a recipe for success, and we cannot wait to try it out for ourselves. Let us know what you think of AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution announcement in the comments below.