Intel briefly demoes XeSS supersampling tech in Hitman 3, The Riftbreaker

nanoguy

Posts: 1,046   +15
Staff member
In brief: Intel’s Arc Alchemist GPUs aren’t here yet, but that didn’t stop the company from dropping some teasers around that as well as its XeSS supersampling technology during the Innovation 2021 event. XeSS looks like a promising alternative to AMD's FSR and Nvidia's DLSS, and developers can already start adding support for it into their games.

There are still a lot of unknowns about Team Blue’s gaming-oriented Xe-HPG architecture, but the company pretty much confirms some of the rumors we’ve heard over the past several months. Alchemist GPUs will come in several tiers covering different price points, but there will also be a full-fat variant that will pack no less than 32 Xe cores. Each Xe core consists of 16 Vector Engines and 16 Matrix Engines, for a total of 512 Execution Units.

This suggests the upcoming flagship Alchemist GPU has a good chance of offering similar performance to an Nvidia RTX 3070 or an AMD RX 6700 XT, and there are hints that pricing will also be quite competitive. However, the software also has to be on point, and Intel has chosen to develop its XeSS supersampling technique as an open technology just like AMD’s FSR. This should, at least in theory, give it a higher chance of quick adoption by game developers.

During the Innovation 2021 event, Intel announced it has partnered with game studios IO Interactive and Exor Studios to bring XeSS support to Hitman 3 and The Riftbreaker. The announcement was accompanied by brief video demos, but unfortunately they’re only available in 1080p. The company says it will update the YouTube upload to 4K quality so we can get a better idea of the quality provided by XeSS upscaling, but the big promise here is that you’ll be able to get close to 4K native image quality with the performance cost of 1080p native rendering.

It’s worth noting The Riftbreaker also supports AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) technology. This suggests Intel is more keen on comparing XeSS to FSR rather than pitting it against Nvidia’s potentially superior DLSS tech, which is only available on RTX graphics cards. By contrast, both XeSS and FSR will work on all graphics solutions — including integrated graphics.

Intel also touched on support for features like ray tracing and Xe Ground-Truth Ambient Occlusion (XeGTAO). The company has already shared the SDK for these technologies as well as XeSS with select developers as part of the early-access DevMesh program. This means that both large studios as well as indie game developers can already start integrating XeSS support into their titles, which is a great way for Intel to spur adoption ahead of the official launch of Arc Alchemist GPUs.

Overall, it looks like Intel is trying to earn back the trust of the software industry with a developer-centric strategy. This became obvious last month when it transpired that Intel had started hiring former EA and AMD managers. The company knows it has a window of opportunity with Xe-HPG, but for it to succeed, the hardware and software pieces of the puzzles have to fall into place. Alchemist GPUs are expected to land in the first half of next year, so it won’t be long before we learn more about their capabilities.

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Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,202   +1,060
Any word on if it’s any good? Currently FSR is so poor its unusable. At least that’s my experience, it seems to make the games jittery, it’s hard to explain. I’m playing FC6 at 50-60fps with it off because it’s a significantly better experience than 60-70 with it on “quality” mode. I don’t have an RTX card so I can’t really judge properly but from what I’ve seen DLSS is miles better.
 

envirovore

Posts: 343   +668
TechSpot Elite
With this being cross card compatible, and as it takes advantage of hardware accelerated features on the Intel cards, here's hoping it does the same on the RTX lines.

DLSS is pretty damn great in games that support it though.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,185   +4,054
TechSpot Elite
Any word on if it’s any good? Currently FSR is so poor its unusable. At least that’s my experience, it seems to make the games jittery, it’s hard to explain. I’m playing FC6 at 50-60fps with it off because it’s a significantly better experience than 60-70 with it on “quality” mode. I don’t have an RTX card so I can’t really judge properly but from what I’ve seen DLSS is miles better.
Looking at these articles FSR doesn't seem bad at all (it actually looks great):
https://hothardware.com/reviews/far-cry-6-performance-review
https://coreteks.tech/articles/index.php/2021/10/07/far-cry-6-tech-analysis-amds-fsr-evolved/

It may be that you are using it at 1080p which does indeed need more work.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,202   +1,060
Looking at these articles FSR doesn't seem bad at all (it actually looks great):
https://hothardware.com/reviews/far-cry-6-performance-review
https://coreteks.tech/articles/index.php/2021/10/07/far-cry-6-tech-analysis-amds-fsr-evolved/

It may be that you are using it at 1080p which does indeed need more work.
Yeah there seems to be a disparity between my experience, what I read on forums, Reddit etc and what articles say. Articles claim that it’s just as good as DLSS and indistinguishable from native etc. However forum users pretty much all claim otherwise and that falls in line with what I’m seeing, FSR isn’t going that well from what I can gather. I think mostly that’s because most people using it have older hardware and running at low resolutions.

Im not using it currently, I actually prefer resolution scaling, its a lot better. Hopefully they can come out with an FSR 2.0 or something that helps all users and not just people using 4K.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,018   +2,025
AMD can build a good CPU and GPU, but I continue to have little faith when it comes to post launch support like added features and software.

If XeSS supports all GPUs, Intel has far more resources and manpower available to maintain and support them than AMD ever could.

Mantle became Vulkan how many years ago? I know of 3 Vulkan games. No threat to DXR. FSR is open source already, with no signs of DLSS slowing down. It's ramping up even. Chivalry II just got it.

I see FSR best suited on consoles to help with 4K titles or on PC as an inferior alternative. Beyond that I find it hard to see FSR being relevant 6 months from now on PC. AMD just isn't the one. They are a component company.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,185   +4,054
TechSpot Elite
Yeah there seems to be a disparity between my experience, what I read on forums, Reddit etc and what articles say. Articles claim that it’s just as good as DLSS and indistinguishable from native etc. However forum users pretty much all claim otherwise and that falls in line with what I’m seeing, FSR isn’t going that well from what I can gather. I think mostly that’s because most people using it have older hardware and running at low resolutions.

Im not using it currently, I actually prefer resolution scaling, its a lot better. Hopefully they can come out with an FSR 2.0 or something that helps all users and not just people using 4K.
People who claim it is as good as native are crazy, but it doesn't need to be. Even DLSS isn't native as much as some might try to believe. It needs to be good enough, the smoother framerates will help me enjoy the game more, especially if it goes below 60fps.

I'm thinking on using it with some VR games, there are now ways to force it in some of them. The open source community has been very active with this technology.
 

Nintenboy01

Posts: 146   +113
AMD can build a good CPU and GPU, but I continue to have little faith when it comes to post launch support like added features and software.

If XeSS supports all GPUs, Intel has far more resources and manpower available to maintain and support them than AMD ever could.

Mantle became Vulkan how many years ago? I know of 3 Vulkan games. No threat to DXR. FSR is open source already, with no signs of DLSS slowing down. It's ramping up even. Chivalry II just got it.

I see FSR best suited on consoles to help with 4K titles or on PC as an inferior alternative. Beyond that I find it hard to see FSR being relevant 6 months from now on PC. AMD just isn't the one. They are a component company.
Some high profile games use Vulkan though - Doom Eternal, Red Dead Redemption. And many smaller ones as well as console emulators like CEMU and Dolphin
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,202   +1,060
AMD can build a good CPU and GPU, but I continue to have little faith when it comes to post launch support like added features and software.

If XeSS supports all GPUs, Intel has far more resources and manpower available to maintain and support them than AMD ever could.

Mantle became Vulkan how many years ago? I know of 3 Vulkan games. No threat to DXR. FSR is open source already, with no signs of DLSS slowing down. It's ramping up even. Chivalry II just got it.

I see FSR best suited on consoles to help with 4K titles or on PC as an inferior alternative. Beyond that I find it hard to see FSR being relevant 6 months from now on PC. AMD just isn't the one. They are a component company.
I don’t excuse AMD as easily as you. They absolutely have the money and resources to provide the after sales support that they consistently fail at doing. How many billions of dollars do AMD need to make before people realise that they shouldn’t be getting away with how they treat consumers?

All that being said, have you seen Intels driver support for its iGPU’s? It’s appalling. Even worse than AMDs driver support for APUs (I have a 3500u laptop and it gets about two graphics driver updates a year). So whilst Intel do have more resources I am not holding my breath with them.

Also the reason that DLSS is growing is because Nvidia market your game for free if you add it. They will place it in advertising for DLSS. It’s actually a very smart way to get devs to opt for it. AMD could easily do the same, they have the money, the platform etc. they just don’t.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,202   +1,060
People who claim it is as good as native are crazy, but it doesn't need to be. Even DLSS isn't native as much as some might try to believe. It needs to be good enough, the smoother framerates will help me enjoy the game more, especially if it goes below 60fps.

I'm thinking on using it with some VR games, there are now ways to force it in some of them. The open source community has been very active with this technology.
For me the glistening and jitteriness (best words I’ve seen to describe it on Reddit lol) is not worth the extra 10-20 fps for it. I’m not terribly surprised, AMD software is always lacklustre and this stuff is early days.

I live with someone who has an RTX2080 super running a 1440p panel and I’ve seen DLSS a lot. In shadow of the tomb raider it’s horrendous but in death stranding and control it genuinely looks sharper than native. FSR has an awful long way to go to catch it.
 

Nintenboy01

Posts: 146   +113
For me the glistening and jitteriness (best words I’ve seen to describe it on Reddit lol) is not worth the extra 10-20 fps for it. I’m not terribly surprised, AMD software is always lacklustre and this stuff is early days.

I live with someone who has an RTX2080 super running a 1440p panel and I’ve seen DLSS a lot. In shadow of the tomb raider it’s horrendous but in death stranding and control it genuinely looks sharper than native. FSR has an awful long way to go to catch it.
they updated Shadow with DLSS 2.3.2 but pulled it because of that Epic Online snafu. But if you allow beta updates you can get it back. I also like how it looks in RDR2 and Control
 

Irata

Posts: 1,878   +3,187
Looking at these articles FSR doesn't seem bad at all (it actually looks great):
https://hothardware.com/reviews/far-cry-6-performance-review
https://coreteks.tech/articles/index.php/2021/10/07/far-cry-6-tech-analysis-amds-fsr-evolved/

It may be that you are using it at 1080p which does indeed need more work.

There‘s still consistent gaslighting going on wrt FSR. Sadly, that‘s part of the fud campaign, regardless of what reviews said.

Either way, if XeSS delivers, the ideal solution seems like adding it to games for newer cards plus FSR - which is very easy to implement - for all others.

This way, everyone can profit which is a win for consumers.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,980   +1,568
There‘s still consistent gaslighting going on wrt FSR. Sadly, that‘s part of the fud campaign, regardless of what reviews said.

Either way, if XeSS delivers, the ideal solution seems like adding it to games for newer cards plus FSR - which is very easy to implement - for all others.

This way, everyone can profit which is a win for consumers.
Fo rme, FSR is unusable in its current form, in every game ive used it in it ruins the image quality far more than DLSS ever did. Maybe in some games at the highest quality settings at 4K its ok. But I dont use it. I think the reviews got it wrong personally, they claimed it matched DLSS and it most certainly does not!
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 977   +884
FSR is woeful at 1080p as demonstrated earlier this week against DLSS 2.x. It was weaker at 1440p and 4K as well. XeSS looks a lot better. Maybe HW accelerated FSR coming in RDNA3 will improve things as they refine FSR.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,980   +1,568
Yeah there seems to be a disparity between my experience, what I read on forums, Reddit etc and what articles say. Articles claim that it’s just as good as DLSS and indistinguishable from native etc. However forum users pretty much all claim otherwise and that falls in line with what I’m seeing, FSR isn’t going that well from what I can gather. I think mostly that’s because most people using it have older hardware and running at low resolutions.

Im not using it currently, I actually prefer resolution scaling, its a lot better. Hopefully they can come out with an FSR 2.0 or something that helps all users and not just people using 4K.

I usually turn DLSS on these days but the 2 games that I have tried that have FSR - FC6 and The Riftbreaker, its staying off as it completely ruins the image quality, at least for me at 1440p. But its early days yet, early DLSS was bad so maybe FSR will improve. Although I think adoption for it will suffer for being 3 years behind.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,185   +4,054
TechSpot Elite
I usually turn DLSS on these days but the 2 games that I have tried that have FSR - FC6 and The Riftbreaker, its staying off as it completely ruins the image quality, at least for me at 1440p. But its early days yet, early DLSS was bad so maybe FSR will improve. Although I think adoption for it will suffer for being 3 years behind.
Adoption is actually an interesting topic. You can right now force it to run on Unity games (great for VR too since it's the most used engine) and the open source community is working on other engines too (although this approach doesn't render the UI at the native resolution like when devs add proper ingame support). The Steam Deck will also be able to use it because of Linux support (Proton’s FSHack allows almost any Vulkan game to run FSR).
 

Yenega

Posts: 302   +206
I feel that we don't need a 3rd upscaler, and 4th actually, since XeSS is a 2-part tech (one that works on "all" GPU's and one that only work on Intel GPUs).

In my experience, DLSS 2.x is superior to all the others - with good implementation it's pretty much flawless and improves on visuals in most cases, too. DLSS 1.x was crap tho.

FSR is hit or miss (injection is mostly bad - wonky results).
Still needs game per game optimization to work the best.
And I can't really see how AMD should improve FSR without rethinking the approach and rebuilt it ground up. FSR has not amazed me yet, too blurry IMO.

This shows it pretty well; https://www.techpowerup.com/review/deathloop-dlaa-vs-dlss-vs-fsr-comparison/

I am not - and never will be - a fan of blurry image quality. Some AA methods do this too.