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Tried Nvidia DLSS 3: Higher frame rates without a guilty conscience

RTX 4080

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In the course of the presentation of its current generation of graphics cards, Nvidia also presented DLSS 3 together with the GeForce RTX 40. But there is more to it than “just” the next upscaling version. For the first time, DLSS can also come up with a kind of interframe calculation (frame generation). I looked at that specifically for you in a few games.4306ec6b9d994a97b3eb2c746309ffd6

I used DLSS in conjunction with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 and the gaming PC described here – with one further adjustment. So I have now upgraded the RAM myself to 64 GB. We had already blogged about DLSS 2, which of course also experienced several version jumps in the past. For example, Olli enjoyed the technology in “Red Dead Redemption 2”.

Basically, I find DLSS 2 very impressive. Extrapolated results can be achieved in the “Quality” mode in particular, which in most cases cannot be distinguished from the native resolution when playing games. As a result, you can crank up your frame rates with very little compromise. So I’m the guy who generally prefers lower framerates in favor of higher graphics settings. So I’m the gamer who always plays in quality mode on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, for example, even if there’s no 60 fps there.

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DLSS 2 can help out there, but in titles like “Cyberpunk 2077” it reaches certain limits with “Psycho” ray tracing. This is where DLSS 3 is supposed to make its appearance. Because DLSS 3, which can be used exclusively in conjunction with the GeForce RTX 40, expands the range of functions to include automatic frame generation. To put it simply, this process is similar to the interframe calculation that you know from television sets, among other things.

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While I am a self-confessed opponent of this technology in films and series because it greatly distorts the artistic impression, I see potential in games. Because here low or inconsistent frame rates are usually not wanted by the developers, but are due to technical inadequacies. But Nvidia’s DLSS 3 also has a sticking point: Not only does your graphics card have to be equipped for it, the respective game also has to integrate the function. This is (still) the case for a manageable number of titles. For my test, I looked at DLSS 3 in the titles “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition”, “Microsoft Flight Simulator” and “Spider-Man: Miles Morales”.

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Incidentally, Nvidia also relies on AI support in the background for frame generation. However, the function is optional. So you can z. For example, in the games mentioned, continue to only use DLSS upscaling and switch off the interframe calculation. Activated, DLSS 3 slides between “real” images calculated by the GPU and artificially generated by an algorithm. In order to achieve the most believable result possible, the algorithm looks at previous images to basically anticipate what the next one will look like.

Even if I used the interframe calculation on TVs as a rough (!) comparison or for better understanding, DLSS 3 fortunately plays in a completely different league. For one thing, I couldn’t discover the typical artefacts that are otherwise often noticed with such technologies. On the other hand, the image impression remained natural. But it should play a significant role that you are used to games with high frame rates and were not conditioned to 24p, as it is with films and series.

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In "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt" the frame generation option can be found separately in the display settings.

In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the frame generation option can be found separately in the display settings.

Where DLSS 3 sometimes struggles is with text or HUD elements. Here the algorithm probably has difficulties to predict, e.g. B. an altitude indication in “Microsoft Flight Simulator” may change in the next image. However, such errors can only be noticed on closer inspection, as they occur for fractions of a second. It can also happen that flickering is briefly noticeable on sharp edges. However, this only occurs sporadically, but was occasionally noticed on roofs in “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition”, for example in Novigrad.

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Logically, the algorithm also reaches its limits if you change the view very quickly – for example from the game to a menu or from the cockpit to the outside perspective in the flight simulator. Here the view changes radically and the inter-image calculation can therefore hardly fall back on previous frames to calculate the next image. The result is a briefly visible Esports Extras match in some areas of the image before everything returns to normal. Seems a bit like an issue with an HDMI connection. Unfortunately, it was difficult for me to capture this on screenshots, because these disturbances are really only visible for an extremely short time. The colleagues from RockPaperShotgun succeeded in “Cyberpunk 2077”. Interestingly, I wasn’t even offered an option for DLSS 3 in that game.

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Cyberpunk 2077 DLSS frame gen

DLSS 3 briefly leads to image errors when changing the camera perspective quickly. Image: Rock Paper Shotgun

However, because these erroneous frames only linger on screen for such a short time, they look a lot less dramatic than they do in still images. You perceive it more as a short flickering and before you can examine an error more closely, everything looks normal again. However, these anomalies are more noticeable at lower frame rates because each frame lasts longer. So the more you push the settings and the weaker your graphics card with DLSS 3 is, the more you will notice the errors. So what I hardly notice with the GeForce RTX 4080 can perhaps be more annoying with the weaker mobile GPUs.

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Crystal clear impressive: With DLSS 3, if you combine upscaling to “Quality” with the AI ​​interframe calculation, you can create maximum settings in supported games and still clear 100 fps, if you like. It’s a dream if you only look at the visual aspects. But then there is an important difference to watching TV: When gaming, you also have a controller or mouse and keyboard at hand. And this is exactly where DLSS 3 does not intervene.

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What I mean? Well, it’s usually the case that higher frame rates in games also mean that your character seems to react faster to inputs. This changes the whole feeling and the immersion can be increased. Your entries will be implemented immediately. Well, with DLSS 3 you can only polish up the visual frame rate – nothing changes in the processing of your inputs. This isn’t that problematic in an RPG like Geralt’s Adventures, but it does feel odd in something like Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Because the feel of the game and the visual representation do not go together in the way you are used to. For me personally, the break in fast action games would probably be too big in many cases and I would limit myself to upscaling without frame generation.

DLSS 3 Spidey

Again, you have to say: If you only make slightly higher and stable fps from the unstable 60 fps through the frame generation, so to speak, as a tip of the scales, then you will hardly notice the difference. However, the upscaling should actually be sufficient for this anyway.

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My conclusion? DLSS 3 delivers near perfect upscaling and the big innovation, the framerate generation is also a bonus which I rate higher than I initially thought. But you should try it yourself to see what your “feeling” is about it. Because even if the visually perceptible frame rate can increase drastically, this does not apply to the input lag. In itself, Nvidia has already presented a solid here and I’m very excited to see how the technology will be further developed.

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