AMD FSR in DOTA 2 Tested & Benchmarked

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FidelityFX Super Resolution, or FSR, is a new upscaling technique by AMD. It renders the game at a lower resolution then recreates the source image in your in-game resolution. This should result in a higher framerate while preserving image quality with minimal degradation.

This is similar to Nvidia’s DLSS technology but with a different approach. The main difference is that Nvidia DLSS uses Tensor Cores to do the upscaling and enhancements, which makes DLSS unavailable to GeForce non-RTX and AMD graphics cards. AMD FSR is part of AMD GPUOpen, which means developers can add FSR to their games and it will run on both AMD and GeForce cards, and even on Intel HD graphics. You can learn more on AMD FSR here.

 

FSR in DOTA 2

There aren’t many games that support FSR, but because it is open-source, we expect rapid adaptation by developers to the new feature. One of the early adopters is Valve in DOTA 2, and that’s what we are going to check in this article. DOTA 2 is relatively light on resources and you can even run it on integrated graphics. It also looks good for its system requirements. Adding FSR to the game gives the gamers a quick option to increase fps while maintaining the image quality as much as possible.

To enable FSR, Anti-aliasing should be turned on first. Then lower the Game Screen Render Quality through the slider, and then finally you can now enable FidelityFX Super Resolution. Setting the Game Screen Render Quality to 100% will automatically disable FSR. The quality you set on-screen render will be the size FSR will work on and then upscale it to your screen resolution. In our test, our screen resolution is 2560x1440 and we set screen render to 100%, 99%, 75%, and 50%. We put the resolutions in a table so that we can easily calculate the rendered resolution.

Screen ResolutionGame Screen Render QualityRendered Resolution
2560x1440100%2560x1440
99%2534x 1426
75%1920x1080
50%1280x720
1920x1080100%1920x1080
99%1901x1069
75%1440x810
50%960x540

At 2560x1440, setting the screen render quality to 75% effectively renders the game at 1920x1080. The performance should be similar when you set your screen resolution to 1920x1080 at 100% screen render quality. However, the image quality might be a little blurry if you have a native 2560x1440 monitor. That’s where FSR comes in – FSR scales the image back to your screen resolution with preserved quality.

 

For our testing, we run a part of the replay for 60 seconds three times to get the average and 1% low fps.

 

Image Quality and Benchmarks

FSR at 99%

 

At 99% with FSR enabled, the game looked a little sharper compared to 100% and 99% disabled. This is when you look closely at the static image. But in a real game or match, there are a lot of movements and your attention is on the game itself so you wouldn’t notice the difference at all.

Zooming in, the difference is more apparent – sharper and more detailed with FSR, especially when compared to 99% with disabled FSR. But you won’t play this game zoomed in, so again the improvement is negligible.

 

FSR at 75%

 

At 75%, the difference in sharpness started to get noticeable and the game looks very similar to 100% and a little better than 99% with disabled FSR. The difference is much visible when zoomed in.

 

FSR at 50%

 

At 50%, the game gets a huge visual improvement with FSR turned on. Everything is sharper and more detailed, it even looked similar to 75% with FSR disabled.

 

 

Enabling FSR causes a minimal fps hit of 3 fps at 50% and 5fps at 75%. The biggest penalty is at 99% with 9 fps. But the FSR performance should be compared to the higher level of screen render quality (%) with FSR disabled. This means that 50% with FSR enabled should be compared to 75% with FSR disabled. With similar image quality, FSR at 50% gained only 2fps over 75% with FSR disabled on average and only 1 fps on 1% low fps, which are both negligible performance increases.

At 75%, this is where we get the real benefits of FSR. Compared to 99% and 100% with FSR disabled, FSR at 75% we gained over 15fps – jumping from 72 and 71 fps to 88fps on average and 14 fps on 1% low.

Enabling FSR at 99% only diminishes the performance by 8fps without noticeable improvement in image quality.

 

Summary

FSR is a great feature to improve frames per second without losing much visual quality or noticeable image degradation. The best performance to image quality result is at 75%, looking very much the same compared to 100% rendered resolution while giving a substantial increase in fps.

The improvements may vary to system build and in-game settings. Since FSR is not exclusive to AMD graphics cards, it is a win for gamers who were stuck with their old graphics cards and can’t upgrade because Nvidia and AMD cards are still expensive. AMD claims that FSR is highly optimized and easy to integrate, we are hopeful that developers would adapt quickly and integrate this feature to their upcoming games and as an update for current games.

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