With the launch of AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution today in the latest Radeon GPU driver, there are now several games that utilize AMD’s new upscaling technology to improve frame rates whilst retaining image quality. But how much does the performance improve? And how much does it actually affect image quality?

FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) is a highly anticipated upscaling technique from AMD, which aims to boost performance by around 2.4x on average whilst trying to retain as much of the image quality as possible. Here we’re going to be talking about the actual performance numbers per quality mode, as well as taking a look at how the image quality holds up.

First of all, as stated previously, AMD FSR works on a range of graphics hardware from AMD’s latest RX 6000 series down to the RX 400 series (more specifically, RX 480, RX 470, and RX 460) and Ryzen 2000 processors with integrated Radeon graphics. But it also works on several Nvidia GPUs as well including the recent RTX 30 series down to the GTX 10 series.

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FSR supported hardware:

AMD Nvidia
Radeon 6000 Series GeForce RTX 30 Series
Radeon 6000M Series GeForce RTX 20 Series
Radeon 5000 Series GeForce 16 Series
Radeon 5000M Series GeForce 10 Series
Radeon VII Graphics  
Radeon RX Vega Series  
Radeon 600 Series  
Radeon RX 500 Series  
Radeon RX 480/470/460 Graphics  
Ryzen Desktop Processors with AMD Radeon Graphics  
Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Graphics  

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FSR supported games:

FSR support (at launch) FSR support (coming soon)
22 Racing Series Asterigos
Kingshunt
  Myst (202X)
 
 
  Swordsman Remake
 

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Performance

Of course one of the main reasons for FSR is increasing performance, though image quality is a major factor the actual increase in FPS is the main selling point. Just like Nvidia’s DLSS, FSR offers 4 different quality modes (though instead of an Ultra Performance mode, AMD offers an Ultra Quality mode).

FSR Quality Preset Scale Factor (per dimension) Input Resolution Output Resolution
Ultra Quality 1.3x 1477 x 831 1920 x 1080
1970 x 1108 2560 x 1440
2646 x 1108 3440 x 1440
2954 x 1662 3840 x 2160
Quality 1.5x 1280 x 720 1920 x 1080
1706 x 960 2560 x 1440
2293 x 960 3440 x 1440
2560 x 1440 3840 x 2160
Balanced 1.7x 1129 x 635 1920 x 1080
1506 x 847 2560 x 1440
2024 x 847 3440 x 1440
2259 x 1270 3840 x 2160
Performance 2.0x 960 x 540 1920 x 1080
1280 x 720 2560 x 1440
1720 x 720 3440 x 1440
1920 x 1080 3840 x 2160

Each mode upscales from a certain input resolution, but then adds upscaling passes like Advanced Edge Reconstruction and sharpening in order to keep the image quality as close to native as possible.

The great thing about FSR though is that it provides a significant boost to performance even on Ultra Quality, so those just struggling to reach a certain frame rate at 4K can enable FSR Ultra Quality in order to achieve a sizable performance gain whilst not losing out on image quality too much.

For example in Godfall, using an RX 6800 XT graphics card at native 4K resolution delivers around 59fps, but turning on FSR on Ultra Quality achieves about 87fps, an increase of nearly 50% (roughly 47.5%). Using Performance mode (the lowest quality tier) frame rates can reach up to 145fps.

Godfall FSR benchmarks:

The Riftbreaker FSR benchmarks:

Terminator: Resistance FSR benchmarks:

Here’s some less extensive benchmarks, instead just comparing native resolution to FSR “Performance” mode, but across a larger range of AMD graphics cards:

Godfall FSR graphics card benchmarks:

The Riftbreaker FSR graphics card benchmarks:

Terminator: Resistance FSR graphics card benchmarks:

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Image quality

Unfortunately, AMD did not provide many pictures to accurately compare image quality for FSR, especially among the different quality modes. Instead, we have a decent comparison between native 4K and the FSR Ultra Quality mode.

The pictures provided were in full 4K resolution, and since we can’t upload the full images we instead cropped the pictures (essentially zooming in) in order to retain the resolution of the image without dropping quality.

[slide your cursor over the image to compare. Click to enlarge]

As you can see in the image above, FSR Ultra Quality doesn’t actually reduce image quality all that much. There’s definitely a difference, and in motion it’s probably more noticeable. However, for the performance gains this might be worth it especially if you’re just struggling to reach 60fps at 4K in some games.

Since most gamers who are playing at 4K resolution already will likely have a powerful enough GPU to do so, FSR Ultra Quality just provides some extra frames in order to have a smoother gaming experience without sacrificing image quality by much.

However, for those who are looking to game at 4K or even 1440p who usually wouldn’t be able to and will need to drop FSR down to lower quality modes, the comparisons aren’t available yet. But as more testing is done we should receive more images and so be able to compare the different quality modes.

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Conclusion

Is FSR a DLSS killer? Well, that’s a hard question to answer. Not only has Nvidia already had a 2 year headstart to improve their technology as much as possible, but both work in very different ways.

What we can say is that AMD’s open approach to FSR gives more tools to more gamers. DLSS is currently only available on certain GPUs, and so that benefit is locked behind an already hard to get market (thanks, global chip shortage). Whereas FSR now works on AMD’s latest GPUs as well as older cards and even Nvidia cards that don’t support DLSS.

So for those people with lower-tier graphics cards like the RX 400 series or GTX 10 series, FSR could provide a starting point for extending their lifespan a little bit longer (as more and more games now see a GTX 1060 or RX 580 as the minimum required GPU) during this graphics card shortage.

Whether it improves significantly over the years remains to be seen, but FSR definitely has a little bit of work to do in terms of image quality. In terms of performance gains though? FSR provides some serious improvements over DLSS. But again, both technologies work very differently and have their own pros and cons.

What do you think? How do you feel about the performance improvements? How do you feel about the FSR image quality? Is it worth it? Will you be using FSR in supported games? Or do you think FSR still has a ways to go before getting better? Let us know!

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