Intel’s XeSS does well against NVIDIA’s DLSS!
Screened by Digital Foundry, Intel’s young super-sampling technology called XeSS is showing promising results.
After AMD’s FSR 2.0, it’s Intel’s turn to play in the field of NVIDIA’s DLSS with its famous graphics cards, expected “very soon”, Intel Arc.
Intel XeSS = SuXeSS?
In direct competition with NVIDIA’s DLSS, Intel XeSS offers to run a game in a lower resolution but upscale it using machine learning for a cleaner result, while maximizing performance.
To put this technology to the test, Digital Foundry’s tests were carried out only on the most powerful of the upcoming Intel graphics cards, the A770 model, and on a game appreciated by benchmarkers: Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
The Digital Foundry experts have notably indicated that they can run the game using Intel XeSS in “FPS Mode”, i.e. 960 x 540 for optimal performance, or in “Quality Mode” at 720p. Intel technology then takes care of raising all this to 1080p and beyond with results that are particularly convincing overall.
Their testing led to the conclusion that XeSS does this job with panache, delivering valuable frame-per-second gains with fairly decent image quality. Results apparently relatively close to what DLSS already provides on NVIDIA’s RTXs. A feat that is therefore not trivial, given the difference in maturity between the two technologies.
A long way to go
Inevitably, the youth of XeSS is lacking on other points. Digital Foundry reported a lag of two to four milliseconds compared to the game running at its native resolution. The action thus loses slightly in responsiveness, even if this is compensated by the consequent gain in frames per second.
Another point on which XeSS can still be improved: some small details and textures have an annoying tendency to flicker. A problem that seems to grow when the technology is asked to upscale lower resolutions to 1080p, or even 4K. Intel XeSS also still has difficulty doing justice to certain elements, such as Lara Croft’s iconic hair, in comparison with the renderings offered by the DLSS.
However, Intel’s technology has a definite advantage over NVIDIA: its greater compatibility. Like AMD, XeSS will not be limited to its Arc graphics cards, but can be used on competing products, even those found in laptops.
For now, however, Intel XeSS is only supported by about twenty games. A very meager catalog compared to some 200 games taking advantage of NVIDIA’s DLSS. But like AMD’s FSR, this list will gradually grow. It now remains to be seen what the Intel Arc graphics cards, expected “very soon”, will do against the upcoming behemoths of the RTX 40XX and AMD’s RDNA 3 series.