AMD FSR vs Nvidia DLSS

What is the difference between AMD's FSR technology and Nvidia's DLSS technology? Here's the ultimate guide to help you understand.

AMD’s FSR and Nvidia’s DLSS dominate this era of upscaling technologies, making it even harder for PC enthusiasts to decide which GPU they should buy. So should you go with AMD for FSR or Nvidia because of DLSS?

Well, to help you make that decision, we will have a look at all the advantages and disadvantages of these two technologies.

Let’s head right into it!

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Nvidia DLSS

DLSS on and off comparison in Fortnite
DLSS on and off comparison in Fortnite

Deep Learning Super Sampling or DLSS is Nvidia’s strongest upscaling feature. With this deep learning technology and Tensor Cores in RTX graphics cards, Nvidia’s can provide native-like image quality while considerably boosting in-game performance numbers.

This upscaling method has proved to be very effective in games like Death Stranding, Cyberpunk 2077, Red Dead Redemption 2, Call of Duty Warzone, Watch Dogs Legion, Fortnite, Rust, and many others.

DLSS in your favorite games

DLSS minimal image quality reduction compared to native resolution is its most substantial advantage. In some cases, Nvidia’s AI delivers better quality for minor details compared to native resolution.

Nvidia believes in this new technology and continuously updates it to improve performance and image quality. The jump from DLSS 1.0 to DLSS 2.0 was especially impressive.

However, the downside with DLSS is that it is not open-source, which makes the already tricky implementation process even more complicated. Indie game developers can’t really implement DLSS in their games without Nvidia’s approval/help.

Also, DLSS can only be used with RTX cards (2000, 3000, and future GPU series). Any GTX-labeled or AMD GPU cannot utilize DLSS.

AMD FSR

FSR 2.0 in Deathloop
FSR 2.0 in Deathloop

FidelityFX Super Resolution or FSR is AMD’s best upscaling feature, but its concept is slightly different from Nvidia. Instead of assigning the upscaling method to dedicated hardware (like Tensor Cores), AMD uses software-based spacial upscaling.

With this method, FSR does not always output an image quality as sharp as DLSS, but it definitely comes close. Still, DLSS comes out on top in terms of quality because it relies on powerful hardware.

But, here’s the catch!

Since FSR is software-based, it can be used on various graphics card series from AMD, Nvidia, and even Intel. So, as long as the GPU supports DX 11, it will be able to utilize FSR. Even if you do get an Nvidia card, you can still enjoy the benefits of FSR.

Additionally, FSR is open-source, allowing developers to implement this technology into any game. It’s also easier to add to a game.

Thanks to that, you’ll find FSR in many games, including God of War, Far Cry 6, Deathloop, Godfall, Dota 2, Dying Light 2 Stay Human, Cyberpunk 2077, Resident Evil: Village, and more.

AMD FSR game support
AMD FSR game support

Soon, we’ll also see FSR 2.0 in games that will use temporal upscaling to improve the final quality of the image compared to spacial upscaling.

Here’s a timestamped video to see motion quality/performance with FSR 2.0:

AMD FSR or Nvidia DLSS?

Native 4K vs. DLSS vs. AMD FSR in Marvels Avengers
Native 4K, vs. DLSS, vs. AMD FSR in Marvel’s Avengers (Source: Jeff Grubb’s Game Mess)

The ongoing battle between AMD and Nvidia has been going on for decades at a hardware level. Now, features like FSR and DLSS significantly impact a user’s GPU purchase. So, as a user, which one is better for you?

Well, let’s have a look at some factors to determine a winner!

  • Image Quality – Nvidia’s Tensor Cores and deep learning network process a lot more data to deliver high-quality image, outperforming FSR. But, FSR 2.0 may have the potential to surpass DLSS.
  • Performance – Both DLSS and FSR deliver similar levels of extra performance. It all depends on which settings you set the upscaling (Performance, Balanced, and Quality.)
  • Game Support – FSR is open-source and supposedly takes only a few days to be integrated. DLSS is more complicated to integrate, and developers don’t have access to the source code.
  • Hardware Support – FSR wins a point here since it is supported on many graphics cards. Both old and new AMD cards can use FSR. RTX GPUs and the last couple GTX generations work with FSR too. DLSS, on other hand, works only with RTX 2000 and 3000 series GPUs.

In short, IT’S A TIE!

AMD came out with more wins than Nvidia here, but the better image quality in some games is definitely worth it.

So, if you already have an RTX card, you should stick with DLSS if it is available in-game. In the cases it isn’t, use FSR. The people that have an AMD card should use FSR when needed.

However, if your graphics card is fast enough to provide a smooth gaming experience, for now, it might be best to play without any upscaling technology. Why? Well, neither DLSS nor FSR is perfectat the moment, so native resolution is still the best.

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Branko Gapo
Branko Gapo

Keeping up with the incredibly fast evolution of computer technology is impossible. That is why Branko will be using his knowledge on this matter to share news and information on all the latest essential technological innovations and advancements.