Intel XeSS is an exciting development in the world of upscaling PC games. We first heard about the feature more than half a year ago, and Intel has maintained a choked drip-feed of details since then. We know much more about Intel XeSS now, but some critical details remain a mystery.

Contenu

  • What is Intel XeSS?
  • How Intel XeSS works
  • Intel XeSS release date
  • Intel XeSS games
  • Intel XeSS compatibility
  • Intel XeSS versus Nvidia DLSS
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We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about Intel XeSS, how it works, what games it supports, and when it’s coming.

What is Intel XeSS?

Intel XeSS, or Xe Super Sampling, is an upcoming upscaling feature of Intel Arc Alchemist graphics cards. It works by rendering your game at a lower resolution and then upscaling it using machine learning to improve performance while maintaining as much image quality as possible.

XeSS works a lot like Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). The key difference is that Intel XeSS supports graphics cards from multiple vendors, while DLSS is limited to Nvidia graphics cards.

In supported games, players will be able to select between five quality modes. Higher-quality modes offer better image quality at the cost of performance, while low-quality modes boost performance more but may not look as great:

Mode Resolution scaling factor
Ultra performance 2.3x
Performance 2x
Balanced 1.7x
Qualité 1.5x
Ultra quality 1.3x

In addition to more options, it looks like XeSS will be able to scale the input resolution even further than AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR). Five quality modes should give players more options, as DLSS and FSR only offer three quality modes, with some titles supporting an optional fourth.

How Intel XeSS works

XeSS isn’t too complicated to understand. Instead of running a game at native resolution (let’s say 4K), it takes a variety of inputs from the game at a lower resolution (like 1080p). Those inputs feed into the XeSS upscaling engine, which includes an A.I. model to enhance the upscaling. The final result, theoretically, should be an image that looks like native resolution but with much higher performance.

For specifics, XeSS takes depth, motion, color, and lighting inputs from the game. After performing the upscaling, the final results from these inputs are stored in an internal history. That history feeds data to the next incoming frame and the cycle continues. While that’s happening, XeSS takes the frame you see and performs temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) to clean up jagged edges. XeSS replaces traditional anti-aliasing, as it can upscale and perform anti-aliasing in the same step.

The secret sauce is machine learning. Intel Arc Alchemist graphics cards include Xe Matrix Extension (XMX) cores, which run the A.I. model to perform the upscaling. They’re similar to Nvidia’s Tensor cores on RTX 30-series graphics cards, and Intel says they provide the best quality with XeSS.

However, XeSS can also work without the XMX cores. Graphics cards that support DP4a instructions — useful for A.I. calculations — also work. We have a full list of supported GPUs below, but the latest RX 6000 graphics cards from AMD support these instructions, as do the last several generations from Nvidia.

Intel XeSS release date

Intel hasn’t announced a release date for XeSS yet. The feature will arrive alongside Intel Arc Alchemist graphics cards, which are slated to launch in the first half of 2022. These cards were supposed to arrive in the first few months of 2022, but rumors suggest Intel pushed them back after suffering internal delays.

Intel XeSS games

Intel has only announced a few key titles that will support XeSS when it launches, though the company says it has several additional partnerships in the works. Here are the announced games that will support Intel XeSS when it releases:

  • Hitman 3
  • The Riftbreaker
  • Death Stranding: Director’s Cut
  • Grid Legends
  • Super People
  • Grit
  • Dolmen

Although Intel has only revealed a few titles that will support XeSS, we should see broader support in the future. Intel says it’s working with studios like Techland ( Dying Light 2 ), 505 Games ( Control, Ghostrunner ), and Ubisoft to bring XeSS to more titles.

Support will be a key factor for the upscaling tech’s success. Between Nvidia DLSS and AMD FSR, a lot of games already have an upscaling feature, so XeSS is entering a crowded market.

Intel XeSS compatibility

Intel Arc Gaming GPU Architecture, XeSS vs. DLSS & FSR, & Ray Tracing
Intel XeSS has competition from Nvidia DLSS and AMD FSR, but it looks to combine the best of both pieces of tech under a single roof. That’s because XeSS supports both Intel and third-party graphics cards, including some that are a few generations old.

Seules les cartes graphiques alchimistes d’Arc d’Intel auront les noyaux XMX dédiés et Intel dit qu’ils fournissent la meilleure qualité et la meilleure performance. Cependant, les GPU prenant en charge les instructions DP4A peuvent également exécuter XESS, juste avec une légère compromis entre la qualité de l’image et / ou la performance. Voici les GPU qui supportent DP4A pour Intel Xess:

  • Alchimiste Intel Arc (XE-HPG)
  • Graphiques intégrés Intel Xe-LP (mobile de la 11e génération)
  • AMD RX 6000 (ADRN 2)
  • NVIDIA RTX 30-SERIES (AMPERE)
  • NVIDIA RTX 20-Série (Turing)
  • NVIDIA GTX 10-SERIES (Pascal)

Bien que XESS n’a pas la compatibilité aussi large que la FSR, il couvre beaucoup plus de terrain que NVIDIA DLSS – et il semble fonctionner de la même manière.

Intel offre XESS en tant que package open-source pour les développeurs, gratuitement. De plus, XESS sera proposé via un plugin dans un moteur irréel, ce qui facilite la mise en œuvre des développeurs dans leurs jeux. Nous ne savons pas si XESS fera son chemin vers des consoles comme AMD FSR.

Intel XESS VERSUS NVIDIA DLSS

Intel XESS ressemble beaucoup à la NVIDIA DLSS, et les deux fonctionnalités d’amortissement devraient offrir des performances similaires basées sur ce que nous savons maintenant. Intel n’a pas montré que de brèves aperçus de Xess en action, cependant, il est donc important d’attendre que la fonctionnalité soit ici avant de tirer des conclusions fermes.

DLSS et Xess utilisent A.I. Pour améliorer la hausse, et ils offrent une TAA pour lisser l’image après avoir été aménagée. La principale différence est que XESS peut exécuter sur des noyaux XMX dédiés ou sur du matériel général prenant en charge l’instruction DP4A. DLSS ne peut fonctionner que sur des noyaux de tenseurs dédiés sur les cartes graphiques de NVIDIA 20-Series et de 30 séries.

Intel a confirmé que Xess n’exige pas une formation par titre. C’était un obstacle majeur pour les DLSS lorsqu’il a été publié pour la première fois, mais Nvidia a depuis construit la fonctionnalité à courir sur un général A.I. modèle au lieu d’un titre par titre.

Nous ne saurons pas comment ces deux fonctionnalités s’attaquent jusqu’à ce que XESS soit ici. Pour l’instant, Intel affirme que XESS peut échouer plus haut que les DLSS. Nous n’avons rien entendu parler des gains de performance encore, nous aurons donc besoin d’attendre ces personnes avant de dire que l’un est meilleur que l’autre.