AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution May Still Be a Long Way Off

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AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution is poised to counter Nvidia’s Deep Learning Supersampling (DLSS) technology, finally giving Team Red a way to run games with ray tracing at playable frame rates. Whenever it arrives, that is.

AMD has been silent on when Super Resolution will show up, and a recent FAQ from the upcoming Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition suggests that wide adoption may be a long way off.

The removed FAQ — spotted by @Locuza on Twitter — responds specifically to Super Resolution. Apparently, AMD’s technology is “not compatible” with the rendering techniques used by Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition, and developer 4A Games says its own temporal-based reconstruction tech offers “the same or better image quality benefits for all hardware.” That doesn’t bode well for Super Resolution, suggesting it may be more difficult to implement than AMD has implied.

AMD's Super Resolution feature is likely many months away and we already have a first Ray Tracing game which according to 4A Games is not compatible with its rendering pipeline.
Their own method is claimed to be similar or even better in terms of quality.https://t.co/bOMyWwCubu pic.twitter.com/a2zTZRQjl7

— Locuza (@Locuza_) April 29, 2021

In a talk with PCWorld, Scott Herkelman, AMD vice president of graphics, said that “you don’t need machine learning to do it,” referencing Nvidia’s reconstruction technique and how Super Resolution could improve on it. Herkelman said there are “many different ways” to go about reconstructing an image, and that AMD is focused on one core question: “What do game developers want to use?”

Clearly, 4A Games didn’t want to use whatever AMD is offering, or simply couldn’t. Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition is one of a small number of games that require hardware ray tracing support. The latest AMD RX 6000 graphics cards support ray tracing, but without a tool like DLSS to combat the massive performance loss it brings on, it’s a bit of a moot feature.

That puts AMD at a large disadvantage for ray tracing-only titles moving forward. The recommended system specs for the RT Extreme preset don’t even include an AMD card. Instead, AMD tops out with the Ultra preset, which targets 4K at 30 frames per second on an RX 6900 XT. It’s worth pointing out that 4A Games created its system specs matrix with DLSS turned off, and it says that players can expect far better performance with Nvidia’s reconstruction feature turned on.

However, Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition is just a single game. The RDNA 2 architecture behind the RX 6000 graphics cards is the same architecture inside the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Consoles still make up the majority of the gaming market, and AMD will, at some point, need an image-reconstruction method to keep games looking their best on consoles. The lack of support on Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition could point to problems with implementing Super Resolution. We won’t know for sure, though, until we hear something official from AMD.

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