A few days ago I was able to attend a virtual event “behind closed doors” where AMD presented two key innovations: FSR 2.0 and RSR. Both technologies have the same basis and the same objective, although they differ in one very important aspect, since the technology FSR 2.0 is implemented directly in gameswhile RSR is implemented at the driver level.
Our more advanced readers will already be clear about what this means, but for those who still have doubts, I will explain how this differentiation affects the user. AMD RSR can be considered as the answer to NIS (NVIDIA Image Scaling) that NVIDIA presented taking advantage of the release of DLSS 2.3, and since it is implemented at the driver level it can be used in thousands of games. On the contrary, the FSR can only be activated in those games that integrate it, and therefore its compatibility is much more limited. On the official AMD website we can find a complete list of compatible games.
This type of rescaling technology implemented at the driver level, both NIS and RSR, make sense in some cases, but we must be clear that start from a basic rescaling algorithm and that their results will not be up to the task of what we can expect from an AI-supported upscaler like NVIDIA’s DLSS or Intel’s XeSS. However, they can be a very useful resource if we play at high resolutions and our graphics card begins to fall short.
How AMD’s RSR works
Both technologies start from a lower resolution than the native or target resolution, and use an algorithm-based rescaling process. RSR technology works at the driver level, which means that first we have to activate it in the control panel of the Radeon Adrenalin software, then we reduce the resolution of the game and that’s it, it will take care of rescaling to the native resolution of our monitor. So, for example, we can downscale from 1440p to 2160p.
AMD has confirmed that no dedicated hardware will be required to enjoy RSR, but has also made it clear that this technology It will only be compatible with Radeon RX 5000 and RX 6000 graphics cards, which means that it will only work with the latest graphics cards based on the RDNA and RDNA 2 architectures. In this sense, it represents a step back from NVIDIA’s NIS, as this technology works with any graphics card based on the Maxwell architecture ( GTX 745 or higher).
I cannot go too deeply into the results that this technology offers, since I only have the capture that you will find just above these lines, and it is difficult to appreciate the differences not only because the lighting affects each of them in different ways, but also because the arrangement of images goes from higher to lower qualitywhich means that when we get to the image with fewer pixels, the view has gotten used to it and We are less impacted by change.
On the other hand, static images do not allow to see typical faults that we do find when moving games that use rescaling techniques at the driver level, such as the flickering of graphic elements at medium distances, the disappearance of objects at long distances, «ghosting» and «shimmering». However, I have been able to see important differences that confirm that there is a notable reduction in graphic quality, something that, however, is totally normalsince as I said it is a simple rescaling at the driver level.
The quality improvement that it promises is, as we can see, very marked, something that is also totally normal, since we are reducing the number of pixels and the graphic load by resizing the image.
Let’s go now with the FSR 2.0, an important generational leap
I’m honest, all the enthusiasm that I have lacked with RSR technology has been taken away by FSR 2.0. With this technology, AMD seems to have made a significant advance over the first generation FSRand the most important thing is that it has achieved it without having to resort to specialized hardware, and without having to limit support to its Radeon graphics cards, which means that it will remain totally open.
According to AMD, FSR 2.0 offers “an image quality similar to or better than the native resolution using anti-aliasing and temporal elements.” AMD has given two keys whose importance I already told you about before when I assessed the shortcomings of the first generation FSR. FSR 2.0 is no longer a simple spatial rescaling, it takes time elements (previous frames) into account to generate the new rescaled frame, and not only applies an enhancement layer to reduce loss of sharpness, but also applies edge smoothing to reduce pixelation. Well played by AMD.
On the other hand, the quality improvement that FSR 2.0 achieves according to AMD is so great that it surpasses, in all its quality modes, the first generation FSR, and is capable of doubling the performance, at least in Deathloop. This is all very well, but is it really as good as it is made out to be? From what AMD has shown, yes, there is a very clear image quality gaineven in performance mode. My first impressions of FSR 2.0 are quite positive, but the video demo that AMD has shown is too simple. However, I attach it to the end of the article so that you have a more complete vision.
AMD has confirmed that it will give more details about FSR 2.0 on March 23, so we will be attentive to tell you more details. I also hope to be able to test this technology when it is released and starts to trickle down to different titles. Although AMD has not yet given details about the hardware requirements of FSR 2.0, but has made it clear that will deliver an image quality higher than RSRwhich will improve performance by up to 250% (more than double) in 4K resolutions and will be compatible with graphics cards Radeon, Intel and GeForce. You can enlarge all the images by clicking on them.
Will FSR 2.0 keep up with NVIDIA’s DLSS 2.3 and Intel’s XeSS? Frankly I don’t think so. The use of artificial intelligence and dedicated hardware will always make a substantial difference, although it is undeniable that AMD seems to have made a significant leap forward with FSR 2.0, and this is to be commended. Many gamers who do not have a GeForce RTX 20 or RTX 30 will be able to extend the life of their graphics card thanks to FSR 2.0, as long as AMD does not limit the support of this technology too much.