When AMD announced Fidelity Super Resolution (FSR), it had a big advantage over competing Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology from Nvidia: open source code. While DLSS is still not open source, Nvidia has taken a big step against FSR by making the feature available to any developer.
Along with an overview of RTX features such as DLSS running on an ARM computer, Nvidia announced that it would make the DLSS SDK available for everyone to download. Previously, developers had to file an application with Nvidia to get their hands on proprietary scaling technology.
Developers can now download and use the SDK for free, which is almost certainly a response to AMD’s open approach with FSR. Although announced some time ago, FSR has just launched for developers via AMD’s GPUOpen platform, and Nvidia’s sudden change to make DLSS more accessible to developers is putting some heat back on AMD.
The move takes on one of FSR’s greatest characteristics. In our FidelityFX Super Resolution review, we found it to be a competent competitor but significantly inferior to DLSS. However, we concluded that FSR still stands out for its accessibility for developers, unlike DLSS. This has changed.
By opening the floodgates, Nvidia has made DLSS as easy to use for developers as FSR. That said, AMD’s functionality still has a head start in one area. Unlike DLSS, FSR works on multiple generations of AMD and Nvidia graphics cards. DLSS uses Tensor cores which are only available on Nvidia RTX graphics cards, limiting the number of users who can take advantage of the feature.
Additionally, DLSS is natively available in the Unity Game Engine and as a plugin for Unreal Engine 5, so it’s unclear whether open availability will result in more games supporting the feature.
In addition to releasing the SDK, Nvidia updated it with new features. The current version now includes Linux support, as well as a sharpness slider and an automatic exposure option for low contrast scenes. Both of these features are intended for developers to fine-tune DLSS in their games, not the gamer.
Fortunately, the DLSS vs. FSR battle is where gamers win. We have seen games like Necromunda: Hired Gun, Marvel’s Avengers, and Edge of eternity that support both technologies, allowing gamers to access critical scaling functionality regardless of which GPU they own. The race is only starting to heat up, which should mean we’ll see more games supported down the line. And it’s exciting no matter what brand you have in your system.