FSR Results in Terms of Adoption and Reception Speak for Themselves, Says AMD Engineer

Alessio Palumbo
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Despite only launching less than four months ago, AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) spatial upscaling technology is already supported in over 20 games to date, in addition to unofficial implementations that can potentially add it to most titles.

Speaking to Eurogamer's Digital Foundry in an interview published on Saturday, AMD's Director of Engineering Nick Thibieroz stated that the results for FSR adoption and reception amongst developers speak for themselves.

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FSR 1.0 is the result of extensive research at AMD, with multiple groups exploring different solutions using a variety of underlying upscaling technologies. Given the goals we had set out, we chose to release FSR 1.0 as we know it would appeal to a large number of developers and gamers who want to be able to enjoy high-quality gaming at faster frame rates on multiple platforms, without being limited by proprietary hardware.

So, while I appreciate that the choice of a spatial upscaler surprised many, I think the results speak for themselves in terms of developer reception and adoption. In fact, it's been impressive to see the various ways FSR has been leveraged by professionals and enthusiasts alike so far!

Indeed, we've often covered developer statements showering praise on the technology. EXOR Studios recently told us that they couldn't have managed 60 frames per second on the console versions of The Riftbreaker without FSR, for example.

That said, the quality often suffers quite a bit when using FidelityFX Super Resolution. Thibieroz admitted that FSR isn't the best upscaling technique when it comes to raw quality, but he said it's the overall package that counts the most.

If you solely focus on just one facet of upscaling - let's talk image quality - then sure, I think it's fair to say some upscaling techniques out there may provide better results (although in some cases "pixel peeping" on still images may be needed to make this claim). I think if you narrow the evaluation of upscalers to just a single criterion then your conclusion will be incomplete. FSR was designed to tick many boxes, as we've discussed, and it's the combination of great features that make up the full package. Think of it like buying a new car: I don't think anyone would solely base their purchase on how good the car looks. A smart buyer is going to consider how fast it goes, what options it provides, how smooth the driving experience is, and whether they can afford it in the first place.

Digital Foundry then asked why AMD didn't leverage machine learning as NVIDIA did with DLSS, and Thibieroz replied that ML-based techniques aren't necessarily the best solution for everything.

Of course, if it's done right, ML can be a very powerful tool, but it's not the only way to solve problems. [..] There are also trade-offs that you're going to need to make to leverage ML, which mean it might not tick some of the other - really important - boxes for a solution. Using ML in a real-time context might mean that we lose portability, performance, and - if not done right - even some quality.

If we're being objective about ML and upscaling algorithms, I think the first iteration of NVIDIA DLSS is a good illustration of what I'm talking about here. The mere presence of ML in a solution does not imply you are going to get great results. ML clearly shows promise, and AMD is heavily investing in ML R&D on a number of fronts, but just because an algorithm uses ML does not mean it's the overall best solution given a set of goals.

Would you like AMD to attempt a machine learning implementation in future FSR releases, though? Let us know below.

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