03/12/2022

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We Examined Intel’s XeSS in Shadow of the Tomb Raider XeSS on A number of GPUs

We Examined Intel’s XeSS in Shadow of the Tomb Raider XeSS on A number of GPUs

Shadow of the Tomb Raider simply obtained a brand new replace that includes assist for Intel’s new XeSS know-how, making it one of many first video games on the planet to publicly provide XeSS. If you happen to personal the sport, you possibly can attempt XeSS proper now for your self, and it really works on many GPUs, together with Nvidia’s and AMD’s greatest graphics playing cards. Or does it?

That is the place issues can get a bit complicated with XeSS. It was created by Intel for the Arc GPUs, kind of as a direct competitor to DLSS. Nevertheless, XeSS is meant to have a fallback mode the place it runs utilizing DP4a directions — 4 component 8-bit integer vector dot product directions. What the hell does that imply, and what graphics playing cards assist the characteristic? That is a bit tougher to say.

Formally, we all know all Nvidia GPUs because the Pascal structure (GTX 10-series) have supported DP4a. Intel says its Gen11 Graphics (Ice Lake) and later assist DP4a, and naturally Arc GPUs assist Xe Matrix Extensions (XMX) — the sooner various to DP4a. What about AMD? In principle, Vega 20, Navi 12 (?), and later GPUs have assist for it.

This is the place issues actually get odd, as a result of we did some fast benchmarking of Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1440p and the Highest preset (with out ray traced shadows, in order that we may run the identical check on all GPUs). Guess which GPUs allowed us to allow XeSS: All of them. However the outcomes of the benchmarks are telling, as XeSS did not profit fairly just a few of the GPUs and in some circumstances lowered efficiency.

What is going on on? It seems like DP4a (8-bit integers) is being emulated by way of 24-bit integers on architectures that do not natively assist it. Emulation typically reduces efficiency fairly a bit, and so it will make sense that playing cards just like the RX Vega 64 ran slower. The AMD Navi 10 (RX 5600 XT and RX 5700 XT) GPUs additionally misplaced efficiency with XeSS, and if the Navi 12 info is right, solely the Radeon Professional 5600M (utilized in some MacBooks and laptops) totally helps DP4a from the RDNA era.

What about newer playing cards? Outcomes have been higher, type of, with most RX 6000-series benefitting — not lots, however one thing is healthier than nothing. There have been additionally some oddities with sure playing cards, like all of the GPUs we examined that had 6GB VRAM. It could be that we have been hitting some type of reminiscence bottleneck, however this can be a comparatively previous sport and 6GB should have been enough.

Understand that XeSS is a brand-new AI upscaling algorithm that goals to compete with the likes of Nvidia DLSS 2 and AMD FSR 2. As that is the primary sport we have been capable of check with XeSS, there could also be some early bugs which might be nonetheless being labored out. As with DLSS and FSR, there are a number of upscaling modes: Extremely High quality, High quality, Balanced and Efficiency. Extremely High quality goals to offer a “Nvidia DLAA” like strategy, with a concentrate on picture high quality over body charge, whereas the final three modes prioritize body charge over picture high quality.

Anyway, let’s get to the benchmark outcomes. We examined native, XeSS High quality, and DLSS High quality (the place obtainable). We additionally examined just a few different choices on choose playing cards, however these outcomes aren’t proven within the charts. We did not check each doable GPU by any stretch, however we did embody at the least one card from fairly just a few completely different generations of {hardware}.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider AMD and Intel XeSS

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Nvidia XeSS and DLSS

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

For probably the most half, XeSS ran fairly easily in its present state with picture high quality total being on par with the DLSS 2 implementation within the sport. There have been only some space’s that we have seen the place picture high quality wasn’t one of the best, like pixilation associated to grated fences, and a little bit of pixilation in Lara’s hair every so often. We’ll dive deeper into XeSS’ picture high quality comparisons at a later date, when extra video games assist it.

The efficiency good thing about working XeSS different quite a bit. It is no shock that playing cards with out DP4a have been successfully ineffective. We examined a number of AMD playing cards that confirmed unfavourable efficiency deltas — Vega 64, 5600 XT, 5700 XT, and even RX 6500 XT. XeSS in efficiency mode on the 5700 XT principally matched native efficiency, whereas rendering 1/4 as many pixels earlier than upscaling.

Playing cards that confirmed improved efficiency with XeSS additionally confirmed some oddities. GPUs with lower than 8GB VRAM barely improved in any respect — and that applies to DLSS on the RTX 2060 as properly. All the things from the GTX 1060 6GB to the RTX 2060 6GB improved incrementally, by 4% to eight% at most. That does not make a lot sense, however maybe one thing in the best way Shadow of the Tomb Raider implements DLSS and XeSS is accountable. Intel’s personal Arc A380, one other 6GB card, did not profit a lot both at 1440p Highest settings, enhancing by simply 3%. So we examined it at 1080p Excessive simply to rule out reminiscence capability as a bottleneck. That confirmed a 7% enchancment, nonetheless barely value mentioning.

Low spec GPUs just like the 4GB GTX 1650 Tremendous appeared to profit largely as a result of at native 1440p it ran out of VRAM. Nevertheless, on the RX 6500 XT that additionally has 4GB VRAM, the alternative was true: it ran a lot higher at native. Bug, underpowered {hardware}, lack of VRAM? We’re not solely certain, and it is too early to offer any definitive statements.

However let’s discuss concerning the playing cards that did profit. Nvidia’s RTX 2070 8GB, RTX 3060 12GB, and RTX 3080 12GB confirmed efficiency will increase starting from 12% to 18% with XeSS in High quality mode, and Efficiency mode helped much more on the couple of playing cards we checked. Nonetheless, DLSS on those self same playing cards improved efficiency by 24% to twenty-eight% in High quality mode. AMD’s RX 6600 8GB and RX 6700 XT 12GB additionally confirmed enhancements of 6% and 9%, respectively, so RDNA 2 with 8GB or extra VRAM seems like you must see a internet acquire… simply not a giant enchancment. It is too dangerous Shadow of the Tomb Raider did not additionally enabled FSR2 assist with the XeSS replace, in order that we may see one other various to DLSS and XeSS.