Intel XeSS Shines In First Independent Tests, Better Than Native & More Comparable To NVIDIA’s DLSS 2.3 Than AMD’s FSR 2.0

The first independent and thorough review of Intel's XeSS technology has been published by Digital Foundry and it's more comparable to NVIDIA's DLSS than AMD's FSR.

Intel XeSS Comparable To NVIDIA's DLSS 2.3 At Launch, Better Than Native Resolution

The first results of Intel's premiere technology for its Arc Alchemist GPUs are out and it looks like XeSS, as expected, shines against its rival. In a detailed review published by Digital Foundry, we get to see the tech in action in various modes but the overall conclusion is that XeSS in its first outing is comparable to NVIDIA's DLSS 2.3 technology rather than AMD's FSR 2.0.

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The performance and image quality evaluation was done by Digital's Foundry's, Alexander Battaglia who tested the technology through Shadow of The Tomb Raider. It's been 4 years since the game launched and has become one of the go-to benchmarks for evaluating upscaling technologies such as XeSS. It was one of the first games to feature DLSS and later got support for AMD"s FSR. So this is the third upscaling technology that will be added to the game.

Intel has already that XeSS will have various presets available at launch which offer different quality levels and vary the input resolution. The modes include:

  • XeSS "Ultra Quality" = Best Image Quality
  • XeSS "Quality" = Good Quality With Better Performance
  • XeSS "Balanced" = Decent Visuals and Performance Levels
  • XeSS "Performance" = Best Performance
Intel XeSS vs NVIDIA DLSS vs AMD FSR Image scaling modes (Image Credits: Digital Foundry)

During testing, the tech outlet saw that Intel's XeSS was on par with NVIDIA's DLSS and didn't have some of the major quality differences visualized by AMD's FSR in similar tests. There were cases of flickering which become more prominent at lower resolutions and using the more performance-tuned modes (performance/balanced). There were also some parts of the game that displayed a moire pattern on certain surfaces and textures but overall, the visual quality wasn't disrupted a lot, and given that the results were better than Native TAA rendering, I would say that's a win for Intel and it's XeSS technology.

A few performance breakdowns were showcased using Shadow of The Tomb Raider at 4K/1440P & 3DMark's Port Royal benchmark which can be seen below but we highly recommend checking out the video for a more detailed presentation. At 4K, XeSS can offer up to 177% faster performance in the "Performance" mode and up to 57% faster performance in the Ultra Quality mode versus the native resolution. The performance ratio increases in games that utilize more intensive effects such as Raytracing, etc. In Shadow of The Tomb Raider, XeSS can offer up to 88% faster performance vs Native using the "Performance" mode & 23% faster performance vs Native using the "Ultra Quality" mode.


The issues that were noticed by Digital Foundry might end up being fixed prior to the launch of the XeSS in these titles so the technology has the potential to become even better. This is already much better than the state in which NVIDIA DLSS 1.0 launched a few years back.

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Intel's XeSS technology will debut in over 20 AAA titles after the launch of the Arc A700 series GPUs with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II bringing XeSS support at launch.

Following is the full list of games that will either be patched or will have XeSS support added at launch or later on in the coming months:

Intel's high-end and mainstream Arc graphics cards are expected to make their debut later this month and will be bringing a range of technology support such as XeSS (XMX), Ray Tracing (RTU) and superior encoding/decoding capabilities such as AV1 support.

What are your thoughts of Intel's Arc graphics cards so far?
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