FSR 2.0: AMD’s magic formula for doubling the performance of your games. And it’s happening now

AMD releases FSR 2.0, a new technology that doubles in-game performance without noticeable visual loss. More successful than the first version of FSR, this technology could very well be a game-changer, especially on consoles. Here is our impression.

Nearly a year ago, AMD began rolling out the FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) to a handful of games, a sort of manufacturer’s response to Nvidia’s DLSS. Although the technologies are very different, the goal remains the same: to offer a significant performance gain in games, while showing the lowest possible visual loss.

Nvidia’s DLSS is now proven, especially in its 2.0 version: the loss of rendering is almost non-existent and the FPS is rising on compatible games. FSR 1.0 lags behind: Effective in terms of frame rate boost, AMD’s technology suffers from visual comparison, especially in Full HD (1920×1080 pixels) definitions, where an ugly “staircase” effect appears systematically.

FSR 2.0: AMD's magic formula for doubling the performance of your games.  And it's happening now

However, FSR has great advantages: It is an open technology that is not dependent on deep learning and therefore compatible with a very wide range of graphics cards, whether it is from AMD or Nvidia. Easy to implement for developers, FSR has since been available on many games, often simultaneously with DLSS. Recent titles like Dying Light 2, Deathloop, Back 4 Blood, Call of Duty Vanguard / Warzone or even Cyberpunk 2077 actually offer both options … But with a clear advantage for DLSS every time, provided of course you have a GeForce RTX 2000 or 3000 graphics cards (GPUs with dedicated computer devices only).

AMD is aware of this delay in rendering and is launching FSR in version 2.0. The first game that takes full advantage of this is Deathloop. Arkane Studios FPS already offered FSR 1.0 in addition to DLSS, and this 2.0 version is supposed to close the gap with competitors.

We said it in the preamble: FSR1.0 works very differently than Nvidia’s DLSS and does not use deep-learning at all. The upscaling process (or “scaling”) consists of lowering the rendering resolution to reduce the GPU calculations as much as possible. Then the AMD algorithm takes over to increase the image quality until the target resolution is reached. FSR will here analyze the contours of the image and then reconstruct them in high resolution. The same process is applied to all pixels, with an improvement in the level of detail of the FSR algorithm. FSR will therefore mainly act on the contours of the image, by trying to improve their sharpness, while damaging all pixels as little as possible.

FSR 2.0: AMD's magic formula for doubling the performance of your games.  And it's happening now

FSR 2.0 is more complex and therefore requires more resources from the graphics card. Antialiasing (which avoids the “stair” effect) is handled directly by the technology, and the final image is calculated on 3 layers (colors, depth frame and vector mapping of pixel shifts). In return, we find the same settings depending on what we want to focus on (performance, visual quality or a balance between the two).

FSR 2.0: AMD's magic formula for doubling the performance of your games.  And it's happening now

On paper, therefore, FSR 2.0 should remedy the main error in FSR 1.0, however, affecting the required computing power. This is also reflected in the minimum graphics card requirement: While FSR 1.0 works from a Radeon RX 480 or a GeForce GTX 1060, FSR 2.0 requires at least a Radeon RX 590 or a GeForce GTX 16XX (1650, 1660 …) to work properly in 1080p.

You must have at least an RX 580 or a GTX 16 for FSR 2.0

FSR 2.0: AMD's magic formula for doubling the performance of your games.  And it's happening now

Also the implementation in the game by the developers of FSR 2.0 is more complex, but the required working time is very variable: from 4 days for games that already have FSR 1.0 or DLSS to 4 weeks for those without any upscale technology.

FSR 2.0: A Blessing for the Xbox Series?

AMD has also clarified that FSR 2.0 is not reserved for PCs and that the technology will be used more on the Xbox Series X / S. Deathloop should soon benefit from it, as on PC, but also Forspoken at the launch. FSR 2.0 can be a real boon for Microsoft’s console, which offers the ability to play easier in 4K at 60 FPS. On the Sony side, while the CPU / GPU architecture is the same as on the Xbox Series, we do not currently know what is planned. Then again, using FSR 2.0 on PS5 can be a serious boost for most games.

On Deathloop, FSR 2.0 changes the game

For our part, we had prior access to a PC version of Deathloop with FSR 2.0. Arkane’s title is thus currently the only one offering both DLSS, FSR 1.0 and FSR 2.0.

Let’s be clear: when it comes to visual rendering, it’s day and night. FSR 2.0 solves the main problem in FSR 1.0, namely object contours either blurred or jagged and a markedly degraded rendering in 1440p and especially in 1080p. The difference is especially noticeable – in the screenshots below – in the texture of the fireplace of the fireplace and the contours of the TV. Here it is difficult to see the difference between DLSS, especially in motion.

Click here for a full screen comparison

FSR 1.0 (1080p, balanced)

FSR 2.0: AMD's magic formula for doubling the performance of your games.  And it's happening now

FSR 2.0 (1080p, balanced)

FSR 2.0: AMD's magic formula for doubling the performance of your games.  And it's happening now

In Ultra HD, the difference between FSR 1.0 and FSR 2.0 is less obvious, but still clearly visible, especially on our reference recording. In the game’s start zone, less illuminated, the difference is less noticeable in the game, but a zoom in the image removes the slightest doubt: FSR 2.0 offers a very impressive qualitative leap.

FSR 1.0 (Balanced, Ultra HD)

FSR 2.0: AMD's magic formula for doubling the performance of your games.  And it's happening now

FSR 2.0 (Balanced, Ultra HD)

FSR 2.0: AMD's magic formula for doubling the performance of your games.  And it's happening now

Click here for a full screen comparison

And in terms of performance? As expected, FSR 2.0 is more greedy and the FPS gain is lower, but still remains largely noticeable compared to the original definition. On our test PC equipped with a GeForce RTX 2070, an Intel Core i9-9980HK processor and 16 GB of RAM, Deathloop thus runs at an average of 43 FPS in 1440p, without activating any technology for upscaling. With FSR 1.0 or DLSS, both set to “balanced”, we jump to more than 90 FPS. With FSR 2.0, Deathloop will drop to an average of 84 FPS. It’s more than 10 FPS less than with FSR 1.0, but the performance increase over the “native” 1440p is still very impressive. If you have a GeForce RTX graphics card, however, you will leave DLSS enabled, as the latter always offers the best “performance / visual quality” ratio.

FSR 2.0: AMD's magic formula for doubling the performance of your games.  And it's happening now

Which games does FSR 2.0 support?

In any case, this development of the Fidelity FX Super Resolution is very encouraging: the technology improves, refines and finally manages to catch up. It remains to be seen whether the developers will follow suit. Currently, the implementation of FSR 2.0 is more complex than for FSR 1.0, and few games are announced with this compatibility. Here is the list:

  • Asterigos
  • Delysium
  • death loop
  • EVE Online
  • Farming Simulator 22
  • Forsagt
  • Grounded
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • NiShuiHan
  • Perfect World Remake
  • Swordsman Remake
  • Unknown 9: Awakening

However, we remember that at the launch of FSR 1.0 there were only 7 compatible games and 8 announced. Today, the list has grown significantly, and it may be the same for FSR 2.0, especially if the technology is democratized on the Xbox Series and let’s dream a little on the PS5.


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