AMD FSR has the ability to breathe new life into older graphics cards, and make the balance between game performance and visual quality easier to achieve. But what exactly is FSR, and how does it work?
What is FSR?
FSR, which stands for FidelityFX Super Resolution, is one of the newest additions to AMD’s suite of FidelityFX photo tools. It is an upgrade technology designed to improve gaming performance without losing image quality and graphic details.
Playing a game in high definition like 4K often results in a noticeable drop in frame rate, even if you’re using a decent graphics card. This is especially true if the game uses demanding effects like Ray Tracing. FSR can lower the input resolution down to 1080p and then raise the output to look close to 4K. You get lower resolution performance but with much higher resolution visual details.
It works by lowering the game display quality and then analyzing the image, detecting edges, and reconstructing it with a higher target resolution using the spatial upscaling algorithm. Sharpening is also done to facilitate detailing further. This is all done in one pass during the rendering process, with GUI elements and text added to the frame afterwards.
FSR is similar to NVIDIA’s DLSS or Deep Learning Super-Sampling. Although they are not strictly comparable, the same end result is achieved: a higher resolution image at a lower performance cost. One important difference is that FSR is open source, and is likely to be available on any graphics card. While DLSS is based on the use of the NVIDIA GPU.
What FSR measurement mode should I use?
FSR has four different quality modes to choose from. Performance mode applies the largest at 2x the input resolution, and the Ultra Quality mode at least 1.3x the input. The four modes and their scaling levels are:
- Performance mode = 2x scaling
- Balanced mode = 1.7x scaling
- Quality mode = 1.5x scaling
- Ultra Quality Mode = 1.3x scaling
For example, to achieve nearly 4K using Quality mode, the graphics card only needs to display 2650 x 1440 pixels instead of 3840 x 2160. Then FSR scales the image by 1.5x.
Leveling, even the intelligent spatial upscaling that FSR uses, is not ideal. The more scaling applied to a frame, the higher the potential for graphic errors to occur on the screen. AMD itself States “Performance mode clearly affects image quality and should only be chosen in situations where the need for final performance is critical.”
This is an issue that AMD addressed at least in part with the release of FSR 2.0.
What is FSR 2.0 and how is it different?
The first version of FidelityFX Super Resolution was released in mid-2021, with support from several high-profile games, including Cyberpunk 2077 movie And the Goodvale. FSR 2.0 was released in May 2022, not as a replacement for 1.0, but in addition to it. This means that game developers can offer users a choice between the two, which could make FSR available to a wider range of devices.
The main difference between version 1.0 and 2.0 is the switch from spatial increment to temporal increment. Spatial upgrade uses data from the current frame to upgrade the frame itself. A temporary upgrade can use data from both the current frame and previous frames, improving image quality and reducing the number of unexpected visuals.
FSR 2.0 also allows game developers to modify various scaling modes. This means that games using version 2.0 may have only three modes available, or include Ultra-Performance mode instead of Ultra-Quality mode.
One downside to this improved upgrade quality is that FSR 2.0 is more demanding on the graphics card. Because of this, the number of graphics cards that AMD recommends to use to achieve some resolution, especially 4K, has shrunk.
How do I use FSR?
If the game and your graphics card FSR . supportThere is usually little you need to do other than choosing between the four FSR modes. If your card and game support multiple scaling techniques, you may have to specify an FSR before adjusting the mode.
FSR modes can be found in the graphics settings of each game you support, usually in the Resolution section but sometimes in a separate Upgrade section. Exactly how well the different modes work depends on several factors, including the graphics card you’re using and the game being played.
You may need to update your graphics drivers to the latest version before you can apply FSR to your game. If the setting is still not available after the update, it means that your card is not able to use it.
Related: How to update graphics drivers for maximum gaming performance
Games that support AMD FSR
There are over 110 games supporting FSR at the time of writing, with more being added all the time. Support for FSR 2.0 is still somewhat restricted, but the list is sure to expand quickly, either with patches for existing games or as new games are released.
FidelityFX Super Resolution was made available to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S game developers in mid-2021. Few games currently support it, ARCADEMYDON Being one, but you can expect more to come.
Here are some of the games that support one or more versions of FSR:
- Anno 1800
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- black desert
- Call of Duty: Vanguard
- Cyberpunk 2077 movie
- Century: Age of Ash
- Director cut stalled death
- Dota 2
- Dying Light 2 Stay Human
- Far Cry 6
- God of War
- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
- Horizon Zero Dawn
- No Man’s Sky
- Resident Evil 7
- Resident Evil Village
- Elite Sniper 5
- Terminator: Resistance
- World War Z: Beyond
- Resident Evil 2
- Resident Evil 3
- Little Wonderland Tina
- V . height
- Mongolian war
- World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
Related: AMD FreeSync, FreeSync Premium, and FreeSync Premium Pro: What’s the difference?