NVIDIA DLSS 3 Previews Show Up to 5x Performance Boosts, Latency No Big Issue with Reflex

Nathan Birch
Spider-Man Remastered PC NVIDIA DLSS 3

Last week NVIDIA unveiled DLSS 3, their latest upscaling and performance-boosting tech exclusive to GeForce RTX 40-series graphics cards. The big difference between DLSS 3 and previous versions of the tech is the addition of AI-generated frame generation – in other words, DLSS 3 doesn’t just reduce the workload of rendering frames at high resolution, it creates new frames to boost a game’s performance.

Early DLSS 3 hype videos from NVIDIA have been head-turning, but now the tech heads at Digital Foundry have got the chance to go hands-on with the tech in Marvel’s Spider-Man, Cyberpunk 2077, and Portal RTX and the results are impressive. You can check out the full preview for yourself below, provided you have around half-an-hour to spare.

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To start, Digital Foundry shows off the settings screen available in Spider-Man if you have a new DLSS-3-capable GPU. Essentially, you get the same upscaling quality options you’d get with a DLSS 2 GPU, but now you can activate frame generation, which is a simple on-off choice. Interestingly, if you turn on frame generation, NVIDIA’s Reflex latency reduction tech is turned on by default. We’ll get to why that’s important in a minute.

As for DLSS 3 performance, Digital Foundry isn’t allowed to share actual frames-per-second data yet, but they were able to compare Spider-Man, Cyberpunk, and Portal running natively on an RTX 4090 without any upscaling to those three games running on the same card with DLSS 3 on and the results were impressive. Spider-Man showed around a 2x boost in performance, Cyberpunk 2077 offered a 3x boost, and Portal RTX offered 5x the native performance. DF speculates the results may be somewhat CPU-bound, meaning you might get better results out of game like Portal than an open-world title like Spider-Man. As for the actual quality of the frame generation, with not 100 percent perfect, it’s significantly better than existing tech like Adobe After Effects.

But what about latency? Adding extra frames to a game is going to naturally increase latency, right? Well, NVIDIA Reflex largely deals with latency. For instance, in Portal RTX, DLSS 3 latency is only slightly higher at 56ms than DLSS 2 at 53ms, and much better than native latency at 95ms. Things are a bit further apart on Cyberpunk, with DLSS 3 delivering 54ms of latency to DLSS 2’s 31ms, but it’s still below native latency at 62ms. So, yes, DLSS 3 isn’t quite as responsive as DLSS 2, but it’s still better than native and shouldn’t be a big issue overall.

DLSS 3 will launch alongside the GeForce RTX 4090 on October 12. You can check out the current list of games committed to support DLSS 3, right here.

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