Last week, NVIDIA unveiled the DLSS-3its latest technology for upscaling and improving performance exclusive to GeForce RTX 40 graphics cards. The big difference between DLSS 3 and previous versions of this technology is adding AI-generated image generation – in other words, DLSS 3 doesn’t just reduce the workload of rendering high resolution images, it creates new images to increase the performance of a game.
DLSS 3 on video to better understand performance
Early NVIDIA DLSS 3 promo videos have turned heads, but Digital Foundry tech leads have had the opportunity to test this technology in Marvel’s Spider-Man, Cyberpunk 2077, and Portal RTX and the results are impressive. You can watch the entire preview below, provided you have half an hour to spare:
To start, Digital Foundry shows the configuration screen available in Spider-Man if you have a new DLSS 3 capable GPU. Basically, you have the same upscaling quality options as with a DLSS 2 GPU, but you can now enable image generation, which is a simple on or off choice.
It’s worth noting that if you enable image generation, NVIDIA’s Reflex latency reduction technology is enabled by default. We’ll see why this matters in a minute.
When it comes to DLSS 3 performance, Digital Foundry is not not yet allowed to share real fps databut they were able to compare Spider-Man, Cyberpunk, and Portal running natively on an RTX 4090 without any scaling to all three of these games running on the same card with DLSS 3 enabled and the results were impressive.
- Spider-Man showed an approximately 2x increase in performance,
- Cyberpunk 2077 offered a 3x boost,
- Portal RTX offered 5 times the native performance.
DF thinks these results are CPU-bound, which means you might get better results with a game like Portal than with an open-world title like Spider-Man. As for the actual quality of the image generation, without being 100% perfect, it is clearly superior to that of existing technologies such as Adobe After Effects.
And the latency in all this?
But what about latency? Adding extra frames to a game will naturally increase latency, right? Well, NVIDIA SLR largely takes care of the latency. For instance :
- in Portal RTX, DLSS 3 latency is only marginally higher (56ms) than DLSS 2 (53ms), and much better than native latency (95ms).
- Things are a bit further off on Cyberpunk, with 54ms latency for DLSS 3 versus 31ms for DLSS 2, but still below the native latency of 62ms.
So, yes, DLSS 3 isn’t as responsive as DLSS 2, but it’s still better than native latency and shouldn’t be a big issue overall.
DLSS 3 will launch alongside the GeForce RTX 4090 October 12. You can view the current list of games that pledge to support DLSS 3 right here.