There are currently two main technologies for supersampling in games. On the one hand we have NVIDIA DLSS o Deep Learning Super Sampling, based on AI acceleration to generate high resolution images from a lower resolution render, and on the other hand the most recent AMD FSR o AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution, which is based on different filtering techniques to achieve a similar result as we have already seen. In one way or another, both technologies start from an image rendered at a lower resolution to generate another with a higher resolution at a much lower computational cost than rendering it at the maximum resolution directly, thus achieving more FPS without reducing visual quality too much.
With the advent of dedicated graphics Intel ARC with Intel Alchemist architecture just around the corner, the company also wanted to announce its own rescaling technique called Intel Xe Super Sampling. With it, they promise to double the FPS while maintaining a level of quality similar to native 4K rendering.
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Intel Xe Super Sampling relies on Artificial Intelligence to increase performance with little loss of quality.
To do this, Xe SS uses a history of frames and speed (motion vectors) of each scene and introduces them into a trained Neural Network to generate high-quality, high-resolution images. The GPU then performs inference starting from each frame rendered at a lower resolution and obtaining a high-quality rescaled image based on that history of frames and motion vectors.
It is a system with certain similarities to NVIDIA DLSS, although in the case of the demo they have taught the neural network training it was generic and not adapted for a specific game.
At the moment we do not have more details on whether Xe SS will use, in addition to the generic training, a specific training for each game, or if with the generic training it is already capable of adapting to all the games.
Intel ensures that Xe Super Sampling achieves the perfect balance between image quality and rendering time of each frame. In 4K ll Xe SS with DP4a instructions they suppose higher rendering times than Xe SS with XMX instructions (Xe Matrix Extensions) and in turn somewhat higher than rendering the frame at 1080p and doing traditional 4K upscaling, however, it is still significantly less render time, roughly half, of what it would take to render a high-quality image in native 4K.
Xe Super Sampling will also be compatible with graphics from AMD and NVIDIA
The system Intel Xe Super Sampling will be compatible with graphics from all manufacturers, including NVIDIA and AMD, as with FSR. The only requirement is that the GPUs that run it are compatible with the DP4a instructions, something that AMD has fulfilled since the Vega 20 and NVIDIA since its Pascal architecture. Also, game developers will have to implement it as well to support it.
The arrival of Intel Xe SS will leave us with a somewhat chaotic situation in terms of supersampling systems. Although Xe SS is compatible with all manufacturers and AMD FSR as well, it will be up to developers to support these technologies in their games, having to choose (or implement several) between NVIDIA DLSS, AMD FSR and Intel Xe SuperSampling.
Perhaps in the not too distant future we will see a common standardized technology, meanwhile, we will have to wait for the arrival of Intel ARC graphics, scheduled for early 2022, to know how Xe SS performs compared to its competitors. The Intel Xe Super Sampling SDK will be available this August for developers.
Intel’s Xe Super Sampling technology is the company’s answer to the problems presented by FSR and DLSS. It is a set of algorithms that up-samples lower resolution images to match the higher resolution of a display. The result is a sharper, more detailed image without the need for extra processing power from the GPU.
The main advantage of Xe Super Sampling over its competitors is that it does not require any extra hardware or software to be installed. It is built into the drivers and works with any Intel GPU, making it much easier to implement. In addition, it is claimed to provide better image quality than either FSR or DLSS. So far, Xe Super Sampling has been well received by the few who have tried it.