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Radeon Super Resolution Tested - this Is AMD's new Killer Feature








What is Radeon Super Resolution?

Radeon Super Resolution is the latest new feature to be added to the company's AMD Software Adrenalin Edition GPU drivers, offering PC gamers a high performance image upscaling solution that can be applied to almost any PC game.

Radeon Super Resolution is a post-process image upscaling solution that upscales images to higher resolutions after their are rendered. For example, if you have a 4K screen, Radeon users will be able to run their games at a lower resolution, like 1800p or 1440p, and use RSR to upscale their games to 4K.

AMD's Radeon Super Resolution (RSR) feature is a godsend for players of games that do not have AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) feature or support for any form of temporal upscaling. Radeon Super Resolution, RSR, effectively applies FSR to unsupported games, though it is worth remembering that FSR should deliver better results.

Across the next few pages of this review, we will be looking at the image quality impacts of RSR, and its performance impact.



Isn't Radeon Super Resolution just a different name for FidelityFX Super Resolution 1.0?

Yes and No. Yes, as both FSR and RSR are use the same upscaling algorithm, and no because RSR is a driver-level feature and FSR is a game-level feature.

With FidelityFX Super Resolution, game developers an integrate AMD's upscaling solution into an idea part of a game's rendering pipeline. This allows things like your game's user interface (UI) to be rendered at your screen's native resolution, and for the image to be upscaled before some post processing features.

Radeon Super Resolution (RSR) uses fully rendered frames and upscales them to a higher resolution. You tell your game to run at a resolution like 1080p. 1440p, or 1800p on a 4K screen, and RSR will upscale it to 4K. This will upscale all elements of a game, including its UI and post-processing details.

RSR gives an FSR-like experience to players of games that do not support the feature. As such, it works on virtually all games. That said, an in-game implementation of FSR should deliver better results.



Performance Gains

With RSR, AMD users can experience tremendous performance gains across thousands of PC games. In some cases, rendering a game at 1440p should not have huge visual downsides over a native 4K experience, but gamers should experience a huge framerate boost. 4K is an incredibly demanding resolution, and RSR makes gaming on high resolution screens a lot easier.



Is RSR AMD-Only?

Yes. RSR is a driver-level feature that AMD offers on their Radeon products through their new AMD Software Adrenalin drivers. The feature is currently available only on AMD's RX 5000 series and RX 6000 series products, and on their RDNA 2 based integrated graphics solutions.

AMD's Radeon Super Resolution feature is a feature within AMD's drivers, as such, this technology is exclusive to supported AMD products.

How to Enable RSR

Within AMD's AMD Software GPU drivers, Radeon RX 5000 series and RX 6000 series users can enable Radeon Super Resolution by using the checkbox shown below. This checkbox is within the Graphics section of AMD's new AMD Software drivers. This feature can also be enabled on a game-by-game basis if desired.



RSR 1440p-to-4K VS Native 4K

When comparing a 1440p to 4K upscale to native 4K using RSR in Total War Warhammer III, it was legitimately hard to tell the difference between both images. Yes, native 4K looks a little clearer in some spots and some more details in others, but when the game is in motion, the higher framerate that RSR delivers is more than worth the minor quality trade-off.

At 4K, Total War Warhammer III is an incredibly demanding game. Our RX 6800 can be pushed into the mid-20 FPS territory at 4K Ultra settings. To say the least, moving to RSR 1440p delivers us a major performance boost.



In our second example, our 1440p-to-4K RSR upscale delivers great results once again. That said, we do see some blur in our Legendary Lord's dragon banner, and minor blur in some other areas of the map. Even so, the visual quality difference is minor, and the performance gains are huge.



RSR 1080p-to-4K VS Native 4K

When upscaling 1080p to 4K, a clear difference in image quality is visible. At 1080p, some LOD values are decreased, giving us a lower quality image to upscale. This can be seen most clearly on Kislev's buildings. That said, a 1080p to 4K upscale still delivers decent results, which may be worth it if you need a large performance boost.



Again we can see a 1080p to 4K upscale with RSR delivering decent results, but nothing that is close to a native 4K. That said, upscaling is primarily about performance, and in this regard, RSR delivers. When compared to screen-based upscaling or Total War Warhammer III's built-in upscaler, RSR offers better results.






RSR 1440p VS 66% Resolution Scale

To say the least, Total War Warhammer III's built in upscaling solution is terrible. Creative Assembly should consider using an upscaling solution like FSR 1.0 (or 2.0), DLSS, or XeSS in the future. With RSR, we can achieve higher levels of image quality and higher levels of performance than when using Total War Warhammer III's built in upscaling solution. AMD's Radeon Software Super Resolution technology deliver much clearer results.



RSR 1080p VS 50% Resolution Scale

Again, we can see below that RSR deliver much better results than Total War Warhammer III's built in upscaling solution. Total War Warhammer III highlights the real benefits of RSR, and why it is a great feature for Radeon users.



RSR Performance Impact


When testing Radeon Super Resolution, we decided to look at a game that does not feature a great image upscaling solution out of the gate. Today, we are looking at Total War Warhammer III. In these tests, we used AMD's RX 6800 graphics card.

Total War Warhammer III is an incredibly demanding game, giving us an average framerate of 31.4 FPS at 4K Ultra settings within the game's battle benchmark. Using RSR to upscale 1440p to 4K, framerates jumped to an average of 61.5 FPS. That's a near 2x jump in performance, and the image quality loss was minimal.

When compared to Total War Warhammer III's built-in upscaling solution, RSR delivers higher levels of image quality and higher performance levels. It's just better. Look at our image comparisons on page 3 to see for yourself. RSR is a godsend for players of Total War Warhammer III.

Looking at native 1440p performance, we can see that RSR has a minor performance impact. AMD's upscaling solution has a performance cost, but it is not large enough to be worth thinking about too much. Using RSR using a game resolution of 1440p on a 4K screen can deliver great results. We are very happy with how RSR performs here.



Conclusion

AMD's new Radeon Super Resolution screen is a clever use of the company's FidelityFX Super Resolution technology. With FSR 1.0 being a spatial upscaler, there was no reason why AMD could not use it as a driver-level upscaling solution. Through RSR, AMD has delivered a form of FidelityFX Super Resolution support to almost all PC games. That's awesome.

RSR can be enabled with a couple of clicks within AMD's GPU drivers. After that, all you will need to do is select a resolution that is below your monitor's native resolution. For 4K screen users, resolutions like 1800p, 1440p, or 1080p are suitable choices.

While RSR is based on the same technology as FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) 1.0, FSR should offer gamers better results in supported games. Simply put, FSR can be applied at an optimal place within a game's rendering pipeline to deliver higher quality results. With RSR, AMD is applying their FSR algorithm to completed frames, resulting in somewhat sub-optimal results. That said, for games that lack strong upscaling support, RSR is a godsend.

For games like Total War Warhammer III, RSR can deliver similar to native 4K results and large performance gains for Radeon users. When compared to Total War Warhammer III's integrated resolution scaling solution, RSR delivers higher quality results and more performance. That's a win-win for Radeon users. Playing Total War Warhammer III using RSR to scale 1440p to 4K is now my preferred way to play the game. Total War Warhammer III would benefits greatly from a high quality image upscaling solution, and with RSR, AMD has delivered.

While RSR is a great solution, it is not a magic bullet that will fix all of your problems. 1080p to 4K upscaling with RSR will not deliver image quality levels that are close to native. That said, it delivers better results than allowing your screen to upscale 1080p to 4K, and can deliver much better results than the resolution scaling solutions used by some games.

Hopefully, AMD will open up RSR to users of older Radeon graphics cards in the near future. Currently, RSR can only be used with AMD's RX 5000 series and RX 6000 series graphics cards.

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