Temporal Super Resolution, what is it and how does it compete with NVIDIA DLSS?

Unreal Engine 5 is now available in early access mode, which means game developers can now start testing the new engine and with it their next-generation games for PC and consoles; In this regard, we are seeing more and more realistic graphics (even photorealistic in some cases) and that obviously need special techniques to be able to run at a rate of images per second that allows us to have a good gaming experience, and that is where technologies such as TSR.

What is Temporal Super Resolution and how does it work?

Along with other new technologies built into Unreal Engine 5, Epic also announced that it has developed a new scaling technique called Temporal Super Resolution for applications based on Unreal Engine 5. This technology has a single purpose, which is none other than to increase performance by Increase the scale of lower resolution images while preserving as much detail as possible. Does this purpose sound familiar to you? It is indeed like NVIDIA DLSS or AMD FidelityFX, but let’s save that for later.

While Epic has not mentioned collaborating with any company for this, AMD has done so in an official blog post that provides an overview of the changes coming with this new engine. They make it quite clear that Temporal Super Resolution has nothing to do with FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution) that AMD is developing as a competitor to NVIDIA DLSS, and in fact it is most likely that AMD will announce this technology very soon.

Unfortunately, Epic doesn’t go into detail on how TSR works but it seems to be quite similar to AMD Radeon Boost, which dynamically changes the resolution of rendered images as a function of movement, and is precisely for this reason that it is called “Temporal”. The company behind the engine claims that an enhanced 1080p image at 4K resolution can be displayed at 43 FPS; the same scene but rendered at native 4K resolution would have 18.6 FPS, so we are definitely talking about a huge performance improvement.

UE5 Chaos Physics

In any case, if it is as expected, what Temporal Super Resolution would do is to dynamically detect images or portions of it that are repeated in two consecutive frames, so that those frames or portions would be rendered at a lower resolution to save resources when system, no more, no less.

Unreal Engine 5 works with all Shader Model 5 graphics processing units, including AMD, Intel and NVIDIA graphics cards and even next generation consoles as they have AMD RDNA 2 GPUs. It’s worth noting, however, that NVIDIA also announced that DLSS is available with this Unreal Engine 5 Early Access for easier integration, so developers will probably have a choice.

The improvements that this technology promises

We have already mentioned before the performance jump that, according to Epic, has been calculated, which is an outrage because it implies (according to the figures that have given) a performance improvement of 231%, literally more than double. However, let’s see what both Epic and AMD have to say about it, starting with the latter:

“TSR is a new lower resolution single frame scaling technique to maximize performance and visual fidelity. AMD has worked closely with Epic to optimize Temporal Super Resolution features on Radeon-powered systems. TSR, a standard feature of Unreal Engine 5, is enabled for all GPUs and provides next-generation scaling not only on PC, but also on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S. “

Basically what AMD tells us is that this technology improves performance, confirms optimization for its graphics cards, and also confirms compatibility with both PC and next-generation consoles. For its part, this is what Epic has commented on the matter:

“The geometry of the Nanite micro-polygon and the fidelity demands of the next generation of games have increased the amount of detail displayed on screen like never before; To meet these demands we have written a super temporal resolution algorithm from cedar to replace TemporalAA that we used in Unreal Engine 4 for high-end platforms. “

Unreal Engine 5

Temporal Super Resolution has the following properties (as published by Epic):

  • Output that is close to the quality of native 4K renderings but with input resolutions as low as 1080p, allowing for higher frame rates and better rendering fidelity.
  • Less ghosting against high frequency backgrounds.
  • Flicker reduction in highly complex geometry.
  • Runs on any Shader Model 5 compatible hardware: D3D11, D3D12, Vulkan, PS5, XSX. Soon there will be more.
  • Shaders specifically optimized for the PS5 and XSX GPU architecture.

How is it different from NVIDIA’s DLSS technology?

Essentially, it is not yet known; NVIDIA DLSS uses a technology based on DNN (Deep Neural Network, deep neural network) that uses Artificial Intelligence to improve the image (its sharpness, specifically) and improve performance by rendering images at a lower resolution than what is sample and then scale them.

Basically, Temporal Super Resolution is something very similar according to Epic explained, but it remains to be seen how it will be carried out in the last instance since they have not spoken for the moment about Artificial Intelligence or anything like that, a fact that differentiates it from NVIDIA DLSS already that this technology takes advantage of the specific hardware of the GPUs of those in green, something that AMD GPUs or new generation consoles do not have.

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