A surprising twist.
Why it matters: Nvidia announced that DLSS 3 will be equipped with the ability to generate whole frames when it announced the RTX 4000 series and its new software stack. What has not been said is that frame generation can be separated from DLSS and even work with competitors’ upscalers.
According to their message, the Igor’s Lab team was messing with Spider-Man Remastered when they noticed that there were several strange options in the game settings: enable frame generation without enabling DLSS and pair frame generation with AMD FSR and Intel HeSS.
Igor’s lab turned directly to Nvidia to ask if these options should be there. Nvidia confirmed this and explained that frame generation works separately from upscaling, but added that DLSS 3 is optimized to work with it. Igor’s lab found RTX 4090 and started testing what frame generation without DLSS 3 is capable of.
Combined with the Intel i9-12900K and the launch of Spider-Man Remastered with maximum image quality pre-set to 4K, the RTX 4090 achieved a reasonable 125 frames per second. With DLSS, FSR, or XeSS enabled with their performance settings, the game was limited by the processor to about 135 frames per second.
And then, with frame generation enabled, but without upscaling, the frame rate jumped to 168 frames per second. And it jumped again to about 220 frames per second with DLSS and FSR enabled (again, performance settings). XeSS lagged a bit, producing only 204 frames per second when working in tandem with frame generation.
Igor’s lab also tested the effect of frame generation with other DLSS, FSR and XeSS quality settings, and the result remained the same. Frame generation helped all three achieve much higher frame rates, but DLSS and FSR significantly outperformed XeSS, as is usually the case on non-Intel hardware.
DLSS 3 when configuring performance with frame generation. Through Igor’s laboratory
XeSS also struggled to match the visual quality of DLSS and FSR. In my opinion, the difference between DLSS and FSR was more a matter of taste. I preferred a slightly sharper kind of FSR, but DLSS seemed to have fewer artifacts. XeSS was more blurry and had some anti-aliasing issues.
Igor’s Lab has some great tools that will help you check the difference between the frames generated using each of the three upscalers. But, again, the story here is pretty familiar: all three tools work the same way as usual and process fake frames as created by the engine, so what you are already a fan of will probably be your favorite here too. .
It is remarkable that Nvidia does not tie frame generation to DLSS 3 and provides consumers with some form of choice, even if this feature is limited to the RTX 4000 series. There are suspicions that FSR 3 will have frame generation that works similarly to Nvidia’s implementation and will have much wider compatibility. It will be interesting to see if this also works with DLSS and XeSS, and which tool will give the best results when FSR 3 comes out next year.