Technology

Intel XeSS vs DLSS vs FSR – How Does Intel’s Upscaling Compared?

In the race for smoother, higher-resolution gameplay, three major contenders have emerged—NVIDIA DLSS, AMD FSR, and the newcomer, Intel XeSS. Each uses different techniques to achieve the same goal – boosting frame rates while maintaining visual quality. Let’s break down their specs, features, and performance in real-world examples.

Intel’s XeSS (Xe Super Sampling) technology is a direct competitor to Nvidia’s DLSS and AMD’s FSR platforms. Unlike DLSS but in common with the FSR, Intel XeSS isn’t tied to any given GPU architecture. XeSS can run on many modern graphics cards, although Intel is also doing another more advanced version of XeSS that takes advantage of the Xe Matrix Extension (XMX) AI cores inside Intel’s Arc GPUs, just as DLSS is accelerated by the Tensor Cores in Nvidia GPUs.

All three of the major super sampling platforms have in common the basic idea of upscaling image data to higher resolutions. In theory, the result should be both more image detail and more performance. Also common to all three is a basis on temporal rather than spatial upscaling. In simple terms, that means the upscaling is based on the data from more than just a single reference image frame. Simple spatial upscaling is what a PC monitor can do with its own scaling hardware when running a lower non-native resolution, for instance 1080p on a 4K display. It works well enough, but the result is a soft, slightly blurry image. With temporal upscaling, it’s possible to use the data from multiple frames, not just the frame being rendered, to create a much sharper image that can rival native rendering for clarity and detail while also enabling higher frame rates.

XeSS analyses a wide range of image data including motion, color, lighting, and depth, and then feeds it all into an AI engine that performs the upscaling. The most advanced version of XeSS runs that AI model on the XMX cores in Intel Arc graphics cards, like the A770 and A750. But there’s also a version of XeSS that can run on any GPU that supports DP4a AI calculations. That includes all Nvidia GPUs from the GTX 10-series onwards and AMD graphics from the Radeon RX 6000-series.

#1 Feat Comparison

Feature DLSS XeSS FSR
Technology AI-powered deep learning AI-powered and hybrid approaches Spatial upscaling and edge reconstruction
Hardware Support RTX GPUs only (2000 series and later) Arc GPUs & many others (DX12, Vulkan) All modern GPUs (DX11, DX12, Vulkan)
Performance Boost Up to 4x Up to 2x Up to 2x
Image Quality Excellent, near-native Very good, some artifacts possible Good, occasional sharpening and blur
Frame Generation Yes (DLSS 3.0) No (planned for future) No
Game Support Over 200 games Over 50 games Over 250 games
AI-based upscaling Yes Yes No
Cross-platform support No Yes Yes
GPU architecture dependency Yes No No
Temporal upscaling Yes Yes Yes

#2 Intel XeSS vs DLSS vs FSR – Upscaling Showdown

In the race for smoother, higher-resolution gameplay, three major contenders have emerged: NVIDIA DLSS, AMD FSR, and the newcomer, Intel XeSS. Each uses different techniques to achieve the same goal – boosting frame rates while maintaining visual quality. Let’s break down their specs, features, and performance in real-world examples.

A) Specs and Features Comparison

I) Feature DLSS XeSS FSR

  • Technology AI-powered deep learning AI-powered and hybrid approaches Spatial upscaling and edge reconstruction
  • Hardware Support RTX GPUs only (2000 series and later) Arc GPUs & many others (DX12, Vulkan) All modern GPUs (DX11, DX12, Vulkan)

II) Performance Boost Up to 4x Up to 2x Up to 2x

  • Image Quality Excellent, near-native Very good, some artifacts possible Good, occasional sharpening and blur
  • Frame Generation Yes (DLSS 3.0) No (planned for future) No
  • Game Support Over 200 games Over 50 games Over 250 games

#3 Real-world Examples

I) Shadow of the Tomb Raider

  • DLSS: Delivers the sharpest visuals and highest frame rates, almost indistinguishable from native resolution
  • XeSS: Offers very good image quality, close to DLSS, but with slightly softer textures and occasional shimmering
  • FSR: Shows visible sharpening artifacts and minor aliasing, especially in foliage and distant details

II) Deathloop

  • DLSS: Produces the cleanest image with minimal ghosting or temporal artifacts
  • XeSS: Introduces some ghosting and shimmering around moving objects, particularly noticeable in dynamic lighting
  • FSR: Exhibits more blurring and aliasing compared to DLSS and XeSS, especially in motion

III) Cyberpunk 2077

  • DLSS: Handles complex lighting and neon signs exceptionally well, maintaining sharp edges and minimal noise
  • XeSS: Can struggle with fine details and distant textures, leading to slight blurriness in certain areas.
  • FSR: Shows the most visual downgrades, with noticeable aliasing, shimmering, and loss of detail in crowded environments

#4 Choosing the Right Upscaling Tech

  • For the best image quality and performance: DLSS takes the crown, but only if you have an RTX GPU
  • For wide GPU compatibility and good image quality: XeSS is a promising choice, especially on non-Intel hardware
  • For the broadest hardware support and decent visual improvement: FSR remains a viable option, particularly for older GPUs
    Remember, these are just general comparisons. Performance and image quality can vary depending on the specific game and settings. It’s always recommended to try each upscaling technology in your own games to see which one offers the best compromise for your needs.

Ultimately, the upscaling showdown continues, with each technology evolving rapidly. As developers optimize their games for these technologies and hardware advances, we can expect even more impressive results in the future.

#5 Upscaling Your Games – A Practical Guide for DLSS, XeSS, and FSR

So you’re ready to crank up the resolution and smooth out your gameplay without breaking a sweat? Let’s dive into practical guides for enabling upscaling with the three main contenders: DLSS, XeSS, and FSR. Remember, the specific steps may vary slightly depending on your game and graphics card, but these guides should get you started.

I) NVIDIA DLSS

Requirements: RTX 2000 series or later GPU, game with DLSS support
Steps:

  • Launch the game and head to the graphics settings
  • Look for a section called “DLSS” or “Supersampling”
  • Enable DLSS and choose your desired performance or quality level. (Performance = higher frame rates, Quality = sharper visuals)
  • Enjoy your boosted performance and silky-smooth gameplay!

II) Intel XeSS

Basic Requirements: Arc GPU or any GPU with DX12 or Vulkan support, game with XeSS support.
Steps:

  • Launch the game and head to the graphics settings
  • Look for a section called “XeSS” or “Super Sampling”
  • Enable XeSS and choose your desired quality level. (Higher quality levels offer sharper visuals but may impact performance slightly)
  • Witness the magic of XeSS as your frame rates soar!

III) AMD FSR

Requirements: Any modern GPU with DX11, DX12, or Vulkan support, game with FSR support.
Steps:

  • Launch the game and head to the graphics settings
  • Look for a section called “FidelityFX Super Resolution” or “FSR”
  • Enable FSR and choose your desired quality or performance preset. (Quality = sharper visuals, Performance = higher frame rates)
  • Experience the smoothness of FSR on almost any graphics card!

IV) Bonus Tips

  • Try different quality and performance levels within each technology to find the sweet spot between visual fidelity and frame rate
  • Some games offer additional XeSS or FSR options like sharpening or anti-aliasing adjustments. Experiment to find your perfect balance
  • If you encounter any issues, check the game’s official forums or the upscaling technology’s website for troubleshooting tips
  • With these guides and a little tinkering, you’ll be upscaling your games like a pro in no time! Remember, the best upscaling technology depends on your specific hardware, game, and preferences. So experiment, have fun, and enjoy the performance boost!

#V) here are some deeper insights to consider when choosing between Intel XeSS, DLSS, and FSR

I) Technology and Image Quality

  • DLSS: Utilizes deep learning and AI, often resulting in the sharpest visuals and best preservation of fine details. However, it’s limited to RTX GPUs and can sometimes introduce artifacts or ghosting in certain scenes.
  • XeSS: Employs a hybrid approach with AI and spatial upscaling, offering very good image quality close to DLSS. However, some textures might appear slightly softer, and shimmering could occur in dynamic scenes.
  • FSR: Relies on spatial upscaling and edge reconstruction, leading to decent visuals but with limitations. Expect potential sharpening artifacts, blurriness, and loss of detail in complex environments.

II) Performance and Hardware Compatibility

  • DLSS: Offers the highest performance boost (up to 4x), but it’s exclusive to RTX GPUs and relies on specific tensor cores
  • XeSS: Provides moderate performance gains (up to 2x) and works on many GPUs, including non-Intel, making it more broadly accessible
  • FSR: Delivers decent performance improvements (up to 2x) and boasts the widest hardware compatibility, working on almost any modern GPU

III) Frame Generation and Future Potential

  • DLSS: Introduces DLSS 3.0 with frame generation, essentially doubling frame rates through AI-generated frames. However, this feature is still in its early stages and can sometimes create inconsistent visuals
  • XeSS: Currently doesn’t have frame generation, but Intel plans to implement it in the future
  • FSR: Lacks frame generation and might be slower to adopt similar advanced features due to its non-AI approach

IV) Game Support and Development

  • DLSS: Boasts the largest library of supported games, exceeding 200 titles and growing rapidly
  • XeSS: Is relatively new with over 50 supported games, but adoption is accelerating, especially among developers using the Vulkan API
  • FSR: Leads the pack with over 250 supported games due to its open-source nature and easier integration for developers

So by now we all know that DLSS could offer the pinnacle of image quality and performance, but limited to RTX GPUs and prone to occasional artifacts. While XeSS has been  promising newcomer with good visuals and broad compatibility, but performance gains might be smaller and frame generation is not yet available. On the other hand, we have also noticed that FSR is the most accessible option with decent performance on any GPU, but visual quality falls behind the other two. Well technically, if you see, the best choice depends on our priorities. If you prioritize absolute image quality and performance regardless of hardware, DLSS reigns supreme. If broader compatibility and good visuals are key, XeSS is a solid option. For maximum accessibility and decent performance on any GPU, FSR remains a viable choice. Consider your existing hardware, preferred games, and desired visual fidelity to make the best decision for your up.

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daniel

Daniel Trugough is a visionary writer, exploring the fascinating world of modern PC builds and emerging technologies through his insightful and thought-provoking works.

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