Intel Claims Massive Performance Boost With XeSS Upscaling Version 1.3

3 months ago
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Intel launched its Arc Alchemist GPUs in 2022, and since then, its engineers have been toiling away on the software side of things. We’ve had several announcements about big improvements to its drivers, and now the company has announced new advancements for its upscaling technology, called Xe Super Sampling (XeSS). The latest update changes the version number to 1.3, which reminds us just how new this technology is for Intel.

The announcement notes that XeSS 1.3 reduces ghosting, boosts performance, and offers better detail in games. What’s strange is Intel says none of the tests it has run to show off XeSS 1.3 use the new version of the upscaling technology, but rather the existing version, but modified to validate its improvements. The post says this modified version will “give us an idea” of how version 1.3 “may be able to improve performance,” which is really bizarre. Because of this situation, the company labels this a “preview.”

Regardless, Intel is promising decent gains in certain titles for XeSS 1.3. It tested seven popular games, with the frame rate boost averaging about 10% across the board at 1440p with ray tracing using an Arc A750 discrete GPU. In Diablo IV, the boost was 28%, which appears to be an outlier, but good news if you’re playing that game.

The tests were also run at 1080p on the integrated Arc GPU in the Intel Core Ultra 155H CPU, where the results showed an average frame rate boost of 8% overall. Intel notes that in a game like The Witcher 3, XeSS 1.3 can double the frame rate over native rendering, from 25 to 52fps.

Intel says it was able to unlock more performance by updating the AI models it uses for upscaling with additional training. These updated models can improve image quality by reducing ghosting, improving anti-aliasing, and removing flickering and shimmering in some games.

In addition to these changes under the hood, Intel has added new presets (above) that gamers can select to simplify applying them to the 100+ games that support XeSS. It sounds a bit confusing, though, as instead of just offering Balanced, Performance, Quality, and so forth, Intel now has seven different settings, such as Ultra Quality and Ultra Quality Plus. Still, it’s nice to have options for gamers to choose from.

Intel says the XeSS SDK is available now on Github for developers, so it’s unclear when it will arrive in games for people to see its benefits.…Read more by Josh Norem

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