AMD’s FidelityFX super resolution becomes a control feature: Radeon super resolution

In addition to delivering hardware updates for both their desktop and mobile devices this morning, as part of AMD’s CES 2022 introductory presentation, the company also offered a quick update to its plans for Radeon drivers for the first quarter of this year. The main conclusion is that AMD will expand the availability of its FidelityFX Super Resolution image enhancement technology by integrating it into its drivers as a forced bypass option. Expected to appear in a future version of AMD’s driver stack this quarter, the driver-based feature will be promoted as the Radeon Super Resolution.

As a quick refresh, AMD first released its spatial image enhancement technology, FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), back in June. As part of the company’s FidelityFX open source library package, game developers were free to integrate an image augmentation algorithm into their games by including AMD’s shader program as a step in their image rendering pipeline. The net results of the SFO are mixed in terms of image quality, but the shader-based approach is very inexpensive to run and can be used on a wide range of GPUs (including NVIDIA and Intel parts).

AMD quickly reached a number of developers who incorporated FSR into their games, but even then, PC gamers were interested in applying it to additional games. In recent months, this has led to the introduction of utilities like Magpie and Lossless Scaling, which can force various image magnification techniques on games, including AMD’s FSR. And while forcing the SFO in this way is not ideal in terms of quality or compatibility (which led to AMD originally conveying the idea), AMD has come up with the idea ever since. To that end, AMD will implement a form of SFO in its drivers as a replacement option, which it will call Radeon Super Resolution (RSR).

As with Magpie and similar utilities, this will be a forced augmentation option implemented at the end of the rendering pipeline, not a more ideal environment. The consequences are that RSR will increase not only the image from the game, but also the user interface; so it will introduce some of the same UI distortions as running a game at sub-native resolution to begin with.

It is ideal to run FSR before post-processing and user interface effects, but it is not necessary …

All of this is appropriate, as this is essentially what you need to do to make RSR work. Since this is a driver-imposed feature, games should be set to sub-native rendering resolution to provide something to upgrade – as well as to provide lower-resolution rendering performance benefits. So, using RSR will not be a situation of setting and forgetting as games with appropriate FSR support offer today, but adjusting the game’s rendering resolution is roughly all the real work required of a user.

At the moment, AMD expects to work with most games. But like all driver replacement features like this, it may not work (or at least won’t work well) with all games. In particular, it will require the game to support and operate in exclusive full screen modes. So while AMD fully supports RSR, there is certainly an element of your mileage that can vary in terms of compatibility.

In the meantime, it should be noted that the SFO alone will not go anywhere. As RSR itself is essentially a backup implementation of SFO to force at the driver level, proper integration of SFO into the rendering pipeline is still the best and most ideal way to use it. Thus, RSR does not replace SFO; rather, it gives Radeon owners another way to access some of the SFO functionality.

To continue, AMD also has a few more features scheduled for their upcoming driver update that should be mentioned. First and foremost, AMD Link 5.0 is on the way. AMD’s remote game streaming feature was recently updated with AMD Link 4 back in the spring, and now AMD is preparing the next iteration.

Finally, AMD will also integrate a new feature called AMD Privacy View, which in turn will be based on licensed Eyeware software. The basis behind Privacy View is that by using eye and head tracking, AMD drivers will be able to determine what the user is watching – and in the process distract surfers on their shoulders to easily see the user’s screen. According to AMD, both this and AMD Link 5.0 are expected to hit AMD drivers in the first quarter of this year.

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Naveen Kumar

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