GPU-based upscaling has confirmed to be one of the vital helpful additions to gaming PC tech in years. Big efficiency enhancements in change for solely a minor drop in visible high quality, if any in any respect? Yes please and thanks. Nvidia’s DLSS has established itself because the gold normal of upscalers, outperforming AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), however the Radeon makers are actually readying two new choices: FSR 2.0 and Radeon Super Resolution (RSR).
FSR 2.0 appears to be a straight improve on the present 1.0 model, promising sharper image high quality with “optimised anti-aliasing” to higher compete with the built-in, AI-assisted edge smoothing of DLSS. It will nonetheless must be applied in video games by their builders, although – not like RSR, which goals to work with nearly any game by making use of its upscaling algorithm on the GPU driver degree.
If RSR’s premise sounds acquainted, it’s in all probability due to Nvidia Image Scaling (NIS), which launched just a few months again and performs almost precisely the identical function: forgoing extra high-tech upscaling strategies in favour of a common strategy that bypasses the necessity for native game assist. Of course, NIS nonetheless wants a GeForce GPU to work, so RSR does have its personal function to fill in case you’ve handed over Nvidia’s greatest graphics playing cards in favour of an AMD mannequin. It additionally deviates farther from FSR by particularly requiring a Radeon RX 5000 collection GPU or newer.
RSR is out proper now through a giant Radeon Software replace, whereas FSR 2.0 is coming Q2 2022: that is someday between April and the top of June. I’ve been testing a preview construct of Radeon Super Resolution, and though it in all probability gained’t match FSR 2.0 on total high quality, it appears like a worthy different for when your AMD GPU might use some assist.
The Radeon RX 6500 XT I used definitely might, what with its meagre 4GB of RAM. Despite this I set about seeing the way it might deal with each 4K and 1440p, whereas put in in our take a look at PC together with an Intel Core i5-11600K and 16GB of RAM. Like Nvidia Image Scaling, RSR is enabled first by toggling it on within the GPU’s software program utility (Radeon Software, on this case) then decreasing the in-game show decision of no matter game you need to upscale. For video games that lack an unique fullscreen mode, you’ll additionally want to enter Windows’ show settings and drop the monitor decision there as nicely. That’s much more faff than simply slapping on FSR or DLSS, although arguably not the worst worth to extract for RSR’s a lot wider compatibility.
First up was Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, by which I abused the Radeon RX 6500 XT by performing a take a look at run at native 4K with Medium graphics settings. That produced a median of simply 18fps, however with RSR set to upscale from 1440p, this climbed all the way in which to a playable 34fps. And with respectable picture high quality too – as you possibly can see from the screenshots above, there’s subsequent to nothing in the way in which of muddiness or overzealous sharpening within the upscaled picture. You’d actually should zoom in to see any element variations. Y’know, like this:
Even so, that tiny element drop is no nice shakes subsequent to the benefit of (very practically) doubling the common body charge over native decision. A great begin for RSR.
In Hitman 3, the standard distinction between native 4K and upscaled 1440p is starker, primarily because of a extra pronounced haziness; the upscaled picture undoubtedly appears extra closely processed. It’s a tad darker, too.
Again, although, all that comes with a dramatic efficiency enhance. With Ultra high quality settings, the Dubai benchmark averaged 22fps at 4K and 43fps when upscaled from 1440p.
RSR may do good work when upscaling from 1080p to native 1440p; you don’t want top-of-the-line 4K screens to make the most of it. It gave Shadow of the Tomb Raider a giant enhance on its Highest high quality setting, leaping from 35fps at 1440p to a a lot smoother 53fps when upscaling from 1080p.
A better look reveals there is a loss in sharpness seen on distant objects, although up shut the distinction is tougher to note.
Watch Dogs Legion will get lots of worth out of RSR as nicely. First there’s the efficiency achieve: 47fps on 1440p, utilizing the Medium high quality preset, turns into 67fps when upscaling from 1080p. And the overall high quality distinction is barely there:
There’s maybe a tiny contact extra seen aliasing within the upscaled picture, however to not the extent that I seen it a lot in movement.
Total War: Three Kingdoms has some extra conspicuous jaggies when upping the dimensions from 1080p to 1440p. Native 1440p isn’t hyper-smooth both, however as a result of RSR maintains the identical AA with out introducing its personal (as DLSS does), it’s by no means going to be 100% as sharp.
There’s additionally a grainy impact that’s current in native decision, however turns into extra pronounced after upscaling is utilized. Still, that may be price accepting when RSR boosts efficiency as a lot because it does: on Medium high quality, Three Kingdoms’ Battle benchmark pushed out 78fps after upscaling, in comparison with 47fps at native 1440p.
Perennial efficiency downside little one Elden Ring can profit too. On Medium high quality, I averaged 46fps with the decision at native 1440p; dropping this to 1080p, with RSR doing the remainder, introduced the body charge as much as 59fps.
It didn’t assist with Elden Ring’s stuttering – not like the Steam Deck – and there is some fairly noticeable sharpening with RSR, nevertheless it’s nothing ruinous.
God of War additionally supplied the means to see how RSR matches up in opposition to its smarter brother, FSR. As it seems, RSR lands someplace between FSR’s ‘Quality’ and ‘Ultra Quality’ settings, at the least when upscaling from 1080p to 1440p. The Original high quality preset and native 1440p averaged 42fps in my benchmark run, rising to 57fps with FSR on Ultra Quality, 60fps with RSR, and 66fps with FSR on Quality.
To my eyes, Ultra Quality FSR is higher than RSR at preserving the standard of native res: sharpness is about the identical on purely anti-aliasing phrases, however there’s slight smudginess to sure textures with RSR that Ultra Quality FSR avoids. That mentioned, RSR does beat Quality FSR, which doesn’t look all that near 1440p in any respect. It’s certainly no coincidence that this upscaling hierarchy displays the rendering decision every one makes use of when concentrating on 1440p: Ultra Quality FSR makes use of 1970×1108, RSR makes use of 1920×1080, and Quality FSR makes use of 1708×960.
Radeon GPU homeowners ought to subsequently persist with the highest FSR setting wherever it’s accessible, although in equity, the entire level of RSR is to step in when it isn’t. And this driver-level tech can do a relatively tremendous job, even when it normally finally ends up “shut sufficient” to native res high quality versus matching it 1:1.
It’s additionally price noting that whereas RSR labored as anticipated in many of the video games I attempted, it wasn’t 100% suitable with 100% of video games. For the lifetime of me, I couldn’t get upscaling from 1080p to 1440p to work in AssCreed Valhalla and Hitman 3, even because it carried out admirably with 1440p to 4K. It didn’t seem like a borderless vs. fullscreen challenge, however the one ‘assist’ I bought from AMD’s software program was an incorrect assertion that I used to be trying to run the game at native res.
I additionally tried RSR in Horizon Zero Dawn, and Radeon Software didn’t even acknowledge that I used to be trying to upscale – efficiently or in any other case. So far these issues seem particular to sure video games, and a small quantity at that, so hopefully AMD can get them fastened.
For probably the most half, Radeon Super Resolution is price preserving in thoughts for when your Radeon card struggles to maintain up with a high-res monitor. With some extra polish, it’ll be the perfect understudy for FSR.