If you’ve been thinking of buying a new graphics card recently, you’ve likely come across ‘DLSS’. This is one of the most important features to come to Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards in recent years, but what is DLSS and why should you care?
We’ve assembled this DLSS guide, so you know all of the important facts for Nvidia’s graphics card technology. Keep on reading for everything you need to know about DLSS.
What is DLSS?
DLSS (an acronym for Deep Learning Super Sampling) is an Nvidia RTX feature that uses artificial intelligence to boost a game’s framerate performance higher when your GPU is struggling with intensive gaming workloads.
When using DLSS, your GPU is effectively generating an image at a lower resolution to lessen the strain on your hardware. Then it adds additional pixels to upscale the picture to your desired high-resolution picture quality, using AI smarts in order to determine what the final image should look like.
As any seasoned PC gamer knows, tasking a GPU with a lower resolution results in a significant frame rate boost, so you’re getting the best of both worlds – high frame rates and high resolution – with DLSS.
Does DLSS reduce visual quality?
When DLSS initially launched, many gamers spotted that the upscaled picture often looked blurry, and wasn’t as detailed as the native picture. However, Nvidia has since launched DLSS 2.0, which has seemingly fixed this issue. Nvidia now claims “DLSS 2.0 offers image quality comparable to native resolution.”
How important is DLSS?
DLSS is only really useful for AAA games that are either incredibly demanding on your GPU or support the likes of ray tracing. Ray tracing is a big buzzword right now, as it improves video game visuals with more realistic lighting and shadow effects. However, ray tracing is so taxing on the GPU that it can cause a significant frame rate drop when activated.
For example, in our benchmark tests the Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics card was only capable of hitting an average of 32fps in 4K when playing Control with ray tracing activated. But when activating DLSS, the frame rate performance jumped up to a substantially smoother 63fps performance.
This is the case for many other AAA games too, making DLSS almost essential if you want to game at a high resolution with ray tracing activated.
Which games support DLSS?
The DLSS technology only works with supported games, which includes Control, Cyberpunk 2077, Death Stranding and Fortnite. There are many notable omissions right now, but DLSS support is continuously expanding with The Medium recently being added to the list.
A full list of DLSS-supported games can be seen below:
- Amid Evil
- Atomic Heart
- Battlefield V
- Bright Memory
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
- Crysis Remastered
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Death Stranding
- Deliver Us the Moon
- F1 2020
- Final Fantasy XV
- Islands of Nyne
- Justice Online
- Marvel’s Avengers
- MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries
- Metro Exodus
- Minecraft: Bedrock Edition
- Monster Hunter: World
- Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
- Nioh 2
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- The Medium
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
- Watch Dogs: Legion
- Wolfenstein: Youngblood
Is DLSS available on AMD graphics cards?
Unfortunately for AMD fans, DLSS is currently exclusive to Nvidia RTX graphics cards. AMD has confirmed that its own technology, called FidelityFX Super Resolution, will be able to offer a similar experience to DLSS for Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards in the future, but the technology is yet to officially launch with AMD yet to even provide a firm release date.
As it stands, AMD’s RX 6000 graphics cards are often restricted to low frame rates when ray tracing activated, making Nvidia’s 30-Series GPUs a more tempting option if ray tracing is a priority.
We’ve got our fingers crossed that AMD will launch its DLSS rival soon, as it’s no doubt that Nvidia’s AI technology is incredibly impressive and useful for stable gaming performances.