Graphics card manufacturers strive every day to offer us the best of their technologies. We have cards with dedicated hardware to perform certain tasks that will give us the best of each one. Among these technologies is image scaling, which, according to the manufacturer, receives a different name. NVIDIA has its exclusive DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) and AMD has called it FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution), in this guide we are going to compare them to see the winner of DLSS vs FSR .
Although both are technologies for scaling images for extra performance when playing games, each works differently. Let’s see what techniques each of these use and why some are compatible with all cards and others only with their own brand.
NVIDIA DLSS was launched in February 2019 and in the first version it was only available for some specific games, as it required specific training of each game on servers to offer quality scaling. The results were not as expected and NVIDIA worked to launch a revision of DLSS, the 2.0 that would arrive in August of that same year. Finally, a second version of DLSS 2.0 was released in April 2020 that already makes use of specific hardware from NVIDIA cards to function.
Not all games are compatible with DLSS , developers have to implement this technology and you will have to enable it in the game menu . The list is continually growing, NVIDIA makes new games public taking advantage of the release of new drivers. Some of the games supported by DLSS are:
- Red Dead Redemption II
- Doom Eternal
- Battlefield 2042
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Death stranding
- Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Some games like Cyberpunk 2077 are capable of offering up to 333% performance with DLSS enabled and 4K resolutions, others like Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War reach 191% . In order not to have to change our hardware and at the cost of sacrificing some quality, it is an extra performance that manufacturers offer us at no additional cost .
AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution
AMD’s scaling technology is called FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) and is part of the FidelityFX effects package . It is a much more recent technology than NVIDIA DLSS and was born to deal with this NVIDIA proposal by seeing that it works well. AMD bet further and developed FidelityFX with open source , so anyone can access the resources and implement it in their developments.
Unlike NVIDIA DLSS, AMD FSR works on graphics cards from AMD and NVIDIA, even the newer Intel Arc . AMD’s image scaling system works differently from NVIDIA, although the purpose is the same. This is why you do not need dedicated hardware in order to use AMD FSR. AMD has also offered performance numbers using FSR in some supported games.
In Godfall with Epic settings and active ray tracing you can achieve up to 156 FPS with active FSR versus 64 without FSR with an RX 6900 XT and 4K resolution. In Terminator: Resistance and Epic settings we went from 93 FPS to more than 200 with a Radeon RX 6600 and 1440p resolution. But both NVIDIA and AMD have provided their own numbers, let’s see how both technologies work and what performance each offers in comparison.
Some FSR compatible games are:
- World War Z: Aftermath
- Resident Evil Village
- Back 4 Blood
- F1 2021
Along with some more and others that will be added in the future.
How does NVIDIA DLSS work?
NVIDIA DLSS technology scales images from a lower resolution for better performance, so the GPU has to work less . The scaling is done by Artificial Intelligence using the specific Tensor Cores that have the RTX graphics cards from the 2000 series . In this way the GPU processes smaller images with less effort and the Tensor Cores help to scale the image to the resolution of your screen with the best possible quality, sometimes with better quality than the original .
DLSS has 4 modes of operation that you can choose from the menu of compatible games when activated, NVIDIA wants to implement an ultra quality mode to complete the 4 available to its competition. You can choose between Ultra Performance, Performance, Balanced, and Quality . In performance we will obtain a better FPS rate reducing the quality of the scaling, balanced offers us a mixture between image quality and a better FPS rate to offer an optimized average between the two factors and Quality sacrifices the FPS rate to offer better image quality in scaling, sometimes even better than the original .
How does AMD FSR work?
AMD FSR scales images from a lower resolution to make the GPU work less, so far it is the same as DLSS. But the method to scale the images is different from that of NVIDIA, unlike these, it does not require specific hardware, achieving very good results. FSR uses the famous Lanczos algorithm , but replacing some expensive instructions with efficiently implemented ones that together with other AMD algorithms offer better results than the original dating from the 70s.
FSR works with older cards compared to NVIDIA, AMD Radeon RX 400 series and above are supported. It also works with NVIDIA GTX graphics starting from the 1000 series, although this technology is optimized for Radeon RX 5000 and 6000 series cards . Like the DLSS you will have to enable it in the game options, it has 4 modes that you can exchange according to your needs or preferences.
AMD FSR can be used in Performance, Balanced, Quality, and Ultra Quality modes . In premium performance mode, have more FPS compared to a better quality in the final result of the images. In balanced it will average between performance and quality to offer the best result without neglecting a high FPS rate. If we opt for quality , it will take precedence over having a better FPS rate. With ultra quality it will offer us the best possible quality in image scaling no matter what FPS rate we obtain, in some cases the result may be better than the original image .
But let’s see how different games that include these two technologies behave in different settings.
Test rig for AMD FSR vs NVIDIA DLSS
To carry out these tests we are going to use a computer with an NVIDIA graphics card and several games that have the DLSS and FSR option. The team is:
- Intel Core i5 8600K CPU
- 32 GB of RAM DDR4 3000 CL15
- Crucial NVMe P1 SSD Drive
- ASUS ROG STRIX RTX 2060 OC graphics card
- 34 ”Ultra Wide Monitor 3440x1440p
That we will use with 4 games available with both technologies , the games are:
- Marvel Avenger’s
- Edge of Eternity
We will use different settings to check the results offered by NVIDIA DLSS and AMD FSR in these games and compare the final result in detail. We will analyze the best images and which one offers the best FPS rate.
This is a remastered game of a 1993 classic where you will have to solve puzzles, despite having NVIDIA DLSS and AMD FSR options, the game has graphics that are poor in details (typical of the time) and we will hardly notice any difference in terms of gameplay when activating one or the other option.
Myst Ultra Quality No DLSS or FSR
Let’s see scenes with different NVIDIA DLSS and AMD FSR settings and which option is the best. For these tests, the graphics settings in Ultra have been used .
If we compare the game mode without any active option against the highest quality of NVIDIA DLSS (quality) and AMD FSR (ultra quality), the AMD algorithm is the one that offers the best image quality , surpassing in this case even the original . Regarding the FPS rate, both with NVIDIA DLSS in quality mode and AMD FSR in ultra quality mode offer the same rate , just over 95 FPS more than enough for this game.
If we want to opt for a higher FPS rate, the option with DLSS and ultra performance offers us a quality superior to FSR in performance with a higher FPS rate in the case of NVIDIA.
However, when we zoom in on some area of the image , more details are appreciated than what NVIDIA DLSS and AMD FSR are capable of. NVIDIA DLSS does its job of scaling well and even delivers details in the tiniest lines of graphics . We can look at the following image as AMD FSR achieves greater clarity in textures, on the contrary NVIDIA DLSS softens them more. But if you look at the spotlight above the door, with NVIDIA DLSS you can see the outer grille and AMD FSR is not able to show these little lines .
These images compare the maximum quality level of NVIDIA DLSS with that of AMD FSR which correspond to DLSS Quality and FSR Ultra Quality .
We also leave you an image with the highest performance mode of both, DLSS Ultra Performance and FSR Performance . In this scene, for example, AMD FSR has not been able to display the keyboard numbers .
In the following graph we show you the FPS with each mode of NVIDIA DLSS and AMD FSR.
DLSS and FSR performance on Myst
So that you can see the different modes of each one, we leave you images with each configuration in high quality.
Myst DLSS Quality
Myst DLSS BalancedMyst DLSS PerformanceMyst DLSS Ultra PerformanceMyst FSR Ultra QualityMyst FSR QualityMyst FSR BalancedMyst FSR Performance
Edge of Eternity
In this game we will have to take turns fighting against enemies. Being a new game, it has a graphics quality according to the times. On this occasion, high-quality graphics have been used to obtain an average of 70 FPS without any of the active technologies. With this game if we can see more notably the changes between the different configurations chosen for NVIDIA DLSS and AMD FSR compared to not having any active.
Edge of Eternity High Quality without DLSS or FSR
Again, the option of AMD FSR in ultra quality mode surprises by creating images that are sharper and with better definition than the original. In addition, it manages to increase up to 13 FPS compared to not having any active scaling technology. The DLSS quality option offers graphics very similar to the original resolution , but with the advantage of obtaining 20 FPS more . With AMD FSR in ultra quality mode, objects appear more defined and areas with less light present more detail .
If we want to obtain the best possible FPS rate , the ultra-performance DLSS mode offers us more than double the FPS compared to not having it active. For this we sacrifice image quality where we see some blurred textures with little detail . If we opt for AMD FSR in performance mode, the FPS rate drops to 130, but in return we will retain much more detail than with DLSS in ultra performance mode.
In terms of details in the image, NVIDIA DLSS again gets higher marks. With AMD FSR we will have greater sharpness compared to the small smoothing that DLSS applies. In this zoom we can see how AMD abuses sharpness while we have a less saturated image with DLSS .
Here you can appreciate with quality the differences between DLSS in Quality mode and FSR in Ultra Quality mode .
We also leave you an image to compare the DLSS Ultra Performance and FSR Performance modes.
In the following graph you can see the FPS rate that this game reaches with each DLSS and FSR mode.
DLSS and FSR performance in Edge of Eternity
We leave you the images of the different configurations.
Edge of Eternity DLSS Quality
Edge of Eternity DLSS BalancedEdge of Eternity DLSS PerformanceEdge of Eternity DLSS Ultra PerformanceEdge of Eternity FSR Ultra QualityEdge of Eternity FSR QualityEdge of Eternity FSR BalancedEdge of Eternity FSR Performance
With Marvel’s Avengers we will incarnate ourselves as Marvel characters to help citizens save the city. This recently launched game has a higher graphic requirement so if we have a modest team it can be very useful to have these technologies to scratch some FPS . If, on the other hand, you have a powerful team they will also be useful to get an extra FPS boost without losing detail in the images.
Marvel´s Avengers High Quality without DLSS or FSR
We’ve set the game’s graphics options to High to get an approximate rate of 45 FPS . By enabling the NVIDIA DLSS option in quality mode we have not seen an improvement in the graphics, offering very clear and sharp images like the originals, but we have managed to increase the FPS up to 78 , a total of 34 FPS more without losing quality .
In the case of FSR in ultra quality, the FPS have been located at approximately 76 , the quality of the images is similar to the original . But if we look at small details, such as the badge that the protagonist wears on a backpack handle, with FSR we can notice a bit more sharpness in these objects, even more than in the original images.
If, on the other hand, we want to obtain a higher FPS rate by sacrificing image quality, with AMD FSR in performance it has been possible to increase up to 115 FPS , but details such as letters and other textures lose sharpness in excess . However, if we activate NVIDIA DLSS in ultra performance the images have much more detail than with FSR and also the FPS go up even more to 121 .
In this game we can see more clearly the good work of image scaling done by NVIDIA DLSS . In the ship that is flying we can see with NVIDIA DLSS the lines of the surface together with the circle of the Avengers logo . However AMD FSR cannot place these lines correctly .
As in the previous ones, we leave you with the comparison between NVIDIA DLSS in Quality and AMD FSR in Ultra Quality .
We also leave you the direct comparison with the best performance, DLSS Ultra Performance and FSR Performance .
You can check what FPS rate Marvel’s Avengers reaches with each NVIDIA DLSS and AMD FSR mode.
DLSS and FSR performance in Marvel’s Avengers
Here you have some images with each mode of AMD FSR and NVIDIA DLSS.
Marvel´s Avengers DLSS Quality
Marvel´s Avengers DLSS BalancedMarvel´s Avengers DLSS PerformanceMarvel´s Avengers DLSS Ultra PerformanceMarvel´s Avengers FSR Ultra QualityMarvel´s Avengers FSR QualityMarvel´s Avengers FSR BalancedMarvel´s Avengers FSR Performance
This is a survival horror game that mixes dimensional portals with the Chernobyl catastrophe. Igor is a scientist who wants to investigate the disappearance of his wife 30 years ago. This game, also recently released, mixes dark and gloomy landscapes where the detail in the shadow areas is important. We have set the game to High graphics to hit approximately 60 FPS .
Chernobylite High Quality without DLSS or FSR
Once again, when activating the AMD FSR ultra quality option we noticed little difference from the original. When this FSR mode is activated, images are sharp and clear, with detail in shadows and moving objects such as grass. But if we look at some textures such as the brick wall, we see that it improves with respect to the original graphics, providing more clarity in these details. All this managing to raise the FPS up to 88 .
If we enable DLSS in quality mode, there are not many graphic improvements compared to the original images, the details are well defined and the shadows are correct. We do not have this touch of extra quality as in AMD FSR, but we do not lose quality compared to the original . However, we have managed to raise the FPS to 85 .
If we look for the highest FPS rate with AMD FSR in performance mode we go up to 142 FPS . In this mode we sacrifice the quality of objects such as grass turning into a virtually shapeless blur of green. An option for those more discreet teams that want to raise the FPS rate.
When using NVIDIA DLSS in ultra performance mode, we also lose quality in the textures, but in this case the grass is more defined and we did not find an excess decrease in quality in other types of textures. The FPS have doubled to 121 , a more than enough rate for this game in which fast scenes are not predominant either.
In the details, when we zoom in on a piece of the image, we see how AMD FSR offers this extra sharpness that we have noticed. The shadow is more defined and the textures are lighter. With NVIDIA DLSS we see an anti-aliasing that makes the image look slightly blurry at this magnification.
In this image you can compare the highest quality of both technologies. NVIDIA DLSS Quality and AMD FSR Ultra Quality .
We also show you the best performance of both, DLSS Ultra Performance and FSR Performance .
In the graph we show you the FPS that the game obtains with each mode of NVIDIA DLSS and AMD FSR.
Which technology is better between NVIDIA DLSS and AMD FSR?
In this war there is no clear winner, on the contrary, the beneficiaries are the users of this type of technology. In the games we have tested, we see how AMD FSR has better image quality when we activate the ultra quality mode , in most cases with better quality than in the original images. This benefit is even more noticeable when we use higher resolutions and have good hardware that can move the game. By activating AMD FSR we obtain a higher FPS rate without sacrificing the quality offered by the game, but obtaining faster scenes.
If we are going to play with high resolutions , which implies having a good graphics card, AMD FSR will offer us higher quality and FPS rate to move our games, this is your choice.
On the contrary, we have seen how NVIDIA DLSS moves images with less quality more quickly , in most cases. By using NVIDIA DLSS technology in ultra performance mode, we get good quality images while significantly increasing the FPS rate in the game. An ideal configuration if our card is an entry-level card and we want to maintain a stable FPS rate at a medium resolution as used in the tests.
Activate NVIDA DLSS if your hardware is more modest and you want to gain extra FPS while the quality does not drop considerably so as to lose details in the images.
You should keep in mind that DLSS technology only works on NVIDIA 20 and 30 series graphics . If you have a graphics prior to these or an AMD Radeon , you only have to use the technology available in this case AMD FSR .
Also, not all games have AMD FSR or NVIDIA DLSS available , in the case of having a graphics compatible with NVIDIA DLSS of the 20 or 30 series, you can make use of both technologies if the game has it, as well as if you have of an AMD graphics. But if your graphics is not NVIDIA RTX, you can only opt for AMD FSR technology , look for games that include it to improve your gaming experience.